India resilient despite bids to break it: Modi
Speaking at Malaseri village in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district, Modi underlined that Indian civilisation has endured for thousands of years, even as others perished
Several attempts were made to break India over the years, but these failed in the face of the inherent strength of Indian society, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday while addressing a gathering in Rajasthan
“Despite many efforts taking place to break India geographically, culturally, socially and ideologically, no power could finish India,” Modi said.
Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the 1,111th-birth anniversary of Devnarayan, a deity revered by the Gurjar community, at Malaseri village in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district, Modi underlined that Indian civilisation has endured for thousands of years, even as others perished.
“The India of today is laying the foundations for a grand future,” he said, adding that India is not just a land mass, but “an expression of our civilisation, culture, harmony and possibilities”.
Union minister of state for culture Arjun Ram Meghwal, head priest of Malaseri Dugri Hemraj Gurjar, and several MPs, MLAs and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders also attended the event.
Modi arrived in Malaseri on Saturday morning. He offered prayers at the Devnarayan temple and planted a neem sapling.
Lauding Devnarayan’s service to humanity, Modi said he always gave precedence to service and people’s welfare.
“The path shown by Bhagwan Devnarayan is of sabka vikas (everybody’s progress) through sabka saath (with everybody). We are walking on the path shown by Devnarayan and are trying to empower the marginalised sections. We are moving with the mantra of precedence to the deprived,” Modi said, as he exhorted the BJP-led central governments’ programmes to uplift backward groups.
“Today, every beneficiary is getting their ration, for free. We have also removed the worry of hospital treatments with the Ayushman Bharat scheme,” he said, also flagging his government’s work to reduce access to, and the cost of, power, water, houses, sanitation facilities and gas connections.
Though the BJP said Modi’s visit to Bhilwara was not a political one, the party will look to glean political mileage from his presence at the event.
Rajasthan is scheduled to go to the polls in late-2023 and Gurjars hold sway in 40 of the state’s 200 seats.
In the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP fielded nine Gurjar candidates, all of whom lost. In contrast, all eight Gurjar candidates fielded by the Congress won, as the party won 100 seats in the House. Eventually, the Congress formed the state government, in coalition with other outfits, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The state has, since then, been wrought by tussles between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, a Gurjar, a conflict that the BJP will look to benefit from.
Gurjars also have a significant population in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
The two leaders have been bitter rivals for years but things came to a head in 2020 when Pilot rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership. Then, earlier this year, lawmakers considered close to Gehlot defied the party leadership’s diktat to allow the high-command to nominate the next CM -- at the time, Gehlot was the frontrunner to become the next Congress chief -- because there was speculation that Pilot would become the next CM.
Gehlot lashed out at Pilot in an interview to news channel NDTV last November, calling him a traitor who cannot be made CM. The former deputy CM hit back, saying the remarks were unbecoming of a senior leader.
At the event on Saturday, Modi said ₹15,000 crore has been transferred into the bank accounts of small farmers in Rajasthan.
He also said that the G20 symbol, the planet Earth atop a lotus, had a coincidental relationship with Lord Devnarayan.
“It is a coincidence that the 1,111th birth anniversary of Devnarayan ji, who had appeared on a lotus when he was born, is in the same year in which India assumed the presidency of G20. The G20 logo also shows the lotus carrying the earth… And we are those who have been born with the lotus… we share a strong relationship,” he said.