I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings on Vishwakarma Jayanti. We salute the zeal and determination of our sisters and brothers who are carpenters, masons, plumbers, craftspersons, technicians, turners, and many more such people without whose hardwork and skills we could not have reached where we are today.
You will vividly recall your very first job interview but while you revel in the success of that interview do you recall the washer man and the person who ironed your spotless white shirt and trousers, which may have played a role in impressing your interviewers? Similarly, when we eat a tasty dish we make it a point to appreciate the cook but we should remember that it was made only because of the hardwork and sweat of a farmer working in India’s villages. That is why today, we express our gratitude to them for their immense contribution in our lives.
We believe in the Mantra ‘श्रमेव जयते’ (let the work triumph). For us, every work is worship. It is all about enjoying the work you do and doing it to the best of your abilities. And, if there is anybody that has imbibed this Mantra to the fullest, it is our industrious Vishwakarmas.
From the pages of history till the present, the large Vishwakarma worshippers have been an important foundation on which our society has developed. In the past, it was due to their efforts that the villages became self-sufficient. Today, our economy is strengthened by small and medium scale enterprises and the lakhs of skilled manpower that work there. The success of these small and medium scale enterprises would not be possible without the efforts of the countless workers, electricians, technicians, drivers, plumbers etc who toil day and night to ensure things work properly.
If we want to move ahead as a nation, we must understand the relevance of skills and must take strong steps towards encouraging our citizens towards picking up of new skills. The best place to begin this is by focusing on skill development. From upgrading infrastructure in ITIs and engineering colleges to modernizing the course material to even giving due weightage to ITI diplomas there is a lot we can do to change the lives of our youngsters. At the same time, we must ensure that adequate dignity is accorded to our skilled-based jobs, dignity that must be no less than that of a white-collar job.
In the last few years we have devoted a lot of energy and resources towards this in Gujarat and I am glad to share that our skill development initiatives have received various awards including an award from the Prime Minister.
We keep hearing that 65% of our population is under the age of 35. It is upto us to either keep seeing it as a mere statistic or as an opportunity to strengthen the hands of our youth with skills that will help them stand on their feet. That is why on the 25th of September we are organizing a National Conference on Skill Development that will cover all of the aspects related to skill development. The conference will be held on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who inspired us with the ideal, “हर हाथ में काम, हर खेत में पानी!” Till we have not created meaningful opportunities for our citizens we cannot rest.
Lord Vishwakarma is the deity of design, craftsmen and architecture. In him, we not only worship creation but also worship aesthetics and mechanics. Apart from Swarga (heaven), many ancient cities including Dwarka and Hastinapur are Lord Vishwakarma’s architectural wonders. Thus, on a day like this we should think about the importance of innovation and design. Cannot we make ‘Made in India’ a global phenomenon? If we infuse innovation and design into our education and industries, I am sure it is possible.
I assure the Vishwakarma family that we will undertake very possible effort to guarantee the overall welfare of themselves and their families including safer working conditions and a bright future.
Since the last two days, many of you have been writing in with your kind wishes for my birthday. I thank everyone for their wishes and for keeping me in their prayers. I also extend my best wishes to the well wishers who use this day for noble acts of community service.