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Dear Friends,

My warmest greetings to everyone as the auspicious Navratri begin.  For the next 9 days, people across India, especially Gujarat, shall immerse themselves in celebrations that mark one of our most important festivals and also the beginning the festive season.

Navratri is central to the cultural identity of Gujaratis. Garba and Raas form a centuries old tradition going back to the time of Lord Krishna -- it is the cultural heritage of every Gujarati. In the coming days if you go to any part of Gujarat you will see people, be it young or old, dancing to the tunes of wonderful Gujarati folk music as part of the Navratri celebrations.

During Navratri we bow our heads and seek the blessings of Jagat Janani Maa. While civilisations around the world have conceptualised the Almighty in the male form, ours is the only civilisation that celebrates and venerates Shakti in the female form -- be it Jagat Janani Maa Jagadamba, Maa Lakshmi, Maa Saraswati among the many other Goddesses.

After I assumed office 11 years ago, I have often wondered why this unique festival is restricted to Gujarat. Why not enable its vibrancy to go beyond Gujarat and draw the entire world to come to this State? With these thoughts in mind, we envisioned the annual Vibrant Gujarat Navratri Festival. It is heartening to see so many tourists, both from India and abroad, visiting Gujarat during these nine days. In fact, the popularity of our Garbas has transcended Gujarat’s shores -- there are at least 500 cities around the world where this festival is celebrated with great pomp and show!

Festivals like Navratri are now giving a strong impetus to tourism and particularly in giving the poorest of the poor additional sources of livelihood. With more tourists coming to Gujarat being drawn to our cultural heritage, our handicraft artisans are receiving a strong boost. Those who are involved with the hospitality sector, including transport operators, have begun earning a higher income and this has lit the lamp of prosperity in their homes.

Many of you will be fasting through these 9 days. I recall that during Teacher’s Day celebrations two years ago, a little girl had asked me about my fasting during Navratri. Yes, I have been fasting during Navratri for over 35 years now. This fast is never to seek anything but an act of self-purification. Fasts such as this have been a source of strength, power and inspiration for me over the last many years.

I am attaching a small Garba that I penned and a poem in which I offer my tribute to Maa Jagadamba. I hope you will enjoy them.

Once again, my greetings on Navratri.

 

Narendra Modi

 

 

( Send Navratri Greetings to your near and dear ones )

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Remembering Dr. Lohia
March 23, 2019
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Today is a day to honour revolutionaries.

We pay tributes to great sons of Mother India - Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru for their ultimate sacrifice.

We bow to a prolific thinker, exceptional intellectual, revolutionary and devout patriot, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia on his Jayanti.

Dr. Lohia combined a sharp mind and a penchant for mass politics.

When top leaders were arrested during the Quit India movement, a young Dr. Lohia remained unfazed, went underground and even started an underground radio station to further the movement.

In the history of Goa’s liberation, the name of Dr. Lohia is etched in golden letters.

Wherever the marginalised needed a voice, Dr. Lohia was there.

Dr. Lohia’s thoughts inspire us. He wrote about modernising agriculture and empowering farmers, which the NDA Government is effectively doing through efforts such as PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Krishi Sinchai Yojana, e-Nam, Soil Health Cards and more.

Nothing pained Dr. Lohia more than the caste hierarchy and inequality between women and men. Our Mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ as well as our track record in the last five years show that we have made a long-lasting contribution in fulfilling the vision of Dr. Lohia. He would surely have been very proud of the NDA Government’s work.

Whenever Dr. Lohia spoke, inside or outside Parliament, the Congress trembled with fear.

Dr. Lohia knew how disastrous Congress was. In 1962 he said, “During the Congress regime neither agriculture and industry nor the army has improved.”

These words can accurately describe even subsequent Congress regimes, where farmers were harassed, industry was discouraged (except if they belonged to friends and relatives of Congress leaders) and national security was ignored.

Anti-Congressism was Dr. Lohia’s heart and soul. His efforts ensured a shock to the then all-powerful Congress in 1967 elections. That time, Atal Ji remarked- “Due to Dr. Lohia’s efforts, one could travel on board the Howrah-Amritsar Mail without having to pass a single Congress state!”

Unfortunately, today Dr. Lohia would be horrified at the political developments taking place.

Those parties that claim inspiration from Dr. Lohia have completely abandoned his principles. They are leaving no opportunity to insult him.

The veteran socialist leader from Odisha, Shri Surendranath Dwivedy remarked, “He (Dr. Lohia) was imprisoned many times more during Congress regime than under the British rule.”

Yet, today those parties that falsely claim to be Dr. Lohia’s followers are desperate to form an opportunistic Maha Milawat or adulteration alliances with the same Congress. It is both ironical and reprehensible.

Dr. Lohia always believed that dynastic politics was inimical to democracy. He would have been flabbergasted to see his ‘followers’ think about their own families first instead of the nation.

Dr. Lohia stated that one who works with ‘Samta’, ‘Samanata’ and ‘Samatva Bhaav’ is a Yogi. Sadly, the parties that claim to be his followers forgot this principle. They believe in ‘Satta’, ‘Swarth’ and ‘Shoshan.’ These parties are experts at grabbing power, looting as much as possible and exploiting others. Poor people, Tribals, Dalits, OBCs and women are not safe in their rule because these parties give a free run to criminals and anti-social elements.

In his works, Dr. Lohia called for complete equality between men and women. But, neck deep in vote bank politics, it was parties that dishonestly claim to be Dr. Lohia’s followers that opposed the NDA Government’s move to abolish the inhuman practice of Triple Talaq.

Is the commitment to vote bank politics bigger than the commitment to Dr. Lohia’s thoughts?

Today, a moot question facing 130 crore Indians is:

How can those who betrayed Dr. Lohia be expected to serve the nation?

Today they are betraying the principles of Dr. Lohia, tomorrow they will also betray the people of India.