Dear Friends,

Today we pay our tributes to two very distinguished sons of Bharat Mata. On this day, back in 1869 Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandar. With the sheer power of his thoughts and his ideals of Satya (truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence), Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi challenged the entire might of the British Empire and prevailed. It is a matter of great pride Gujarat is both a Janmabhoomi and Karmabhoomi for Mahatma Gandhi! And, it makes me even more proud that in the last decade, Gujarat has shown the world how it is possible to scale newer heights of progress in the 21st century following the path and ideals laid by Bapu.

We pay our deepest tributes to Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was born on this day. Shastri ji followed Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and became an inspiration of morals and values in public life. His clarion call of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ still reverberates in the hearts and minds of every proud Indian.

Friends, I have always believed that the best way to understand Gandhi is not by merely reading heaps of books on this Great Soul but to live him and follow his beliefs. That is why on this day I always motivate people to embrace Khadi as a part of their lives.

Khadi is not merely a piece of cloth but an entire stream of thought.  The Khadi along with the Charkha are the very symbols that unified the entire freedom struggle! It was this Khadi that gave a fitting answer to the foreign Sultanate that ruled the roost in our country before 1947, becoming the symbol of our fight against the might of foreign imperialism. It became a wonderful tool in the awakening Jan Shakti.

I am sure that Khadi fashion can be a great influence as well a rage around the world. ‘Khadi for Nation, Khadi for Fashion’ can be a great way forward. Further, the Gujarat Government has come up with its New Textile Policy that will bring in renewed joy and prosperity in the lives of our weavers. It is, thus an appropriate medium to bring an ocean of change in the life of the Daridra Narayan.

Friends, we attained Swaraj in 1947 but Gandhi ji’s dream of Surajya is yet to be achieved. It is onto us to fulfill these dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and strive towards attaining Surajya and a society that works in the service of the Daridra Narayan. This is what Gandhi ji taught us and this is how we can pay a perfect tribute to him.

I will conclude by sharing some powerful words spoken by noted scientist Albert Einstein on Mahatma Gandhi, "Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood!”

Once again my greetings on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti! On this day, let us affirm to make Khadi an integral part of our lives. We may not be able to fill our entire wardrobe with Khadi but do go and buy atleast something that is Khadi made. That way you are not only living the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi but also lighting the proverbial lamp of joy and prosperity in the lives of Daridra Nayaran, who always had a special place in Gandhi ji’s heart.



Narendra Modi


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A tribute to Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji
February 21, 2024

Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji attained Samadhi and left us all saddened. His life is a spiritually rich epoch graced with profound wisdom, boundless compassion and an unwavering commitment to uplift humanity. I have had the honour of receiving his blessings on numerous occasions. Thus, I feel a deep sense of loss, akin to losing a guiding light that has illuminated the path for countless souls, including myself. His warmth, affection and blessings were not just gestures of goodwill but profound transmissions of spiritual energy, empowering and inspiring all those fortunate enough to have come in contact with him.

Pujya Acharya Ji will always be remembered as a Triveni of wisdom, compassion and service. He was a true Tapasvi, whose life epitomised the ideals of Bhagwan Mahavir. His life exemplified the core principles of Jainism, embodying its ideals through his own actions and teachings. His care towards all living beings mirrored Jainism's profound respect for life. He lived a life of truthfulness, reflecting Jainism's emphasis on honesty in thought, word, and deed. He also led a very simple lifestyle. It is due to stalwarts like him that the world continues to be inspired by Jainism and the life of Bhagwan Mahavir. He stood tall among the Jain community but his impact and influence were not limited to only one community. People across faiths, regions and cultures came to him and he worked tirelessly towards spiritual awakening, particularly among the youth.

Education was an area very close to his heart. His journey from Vidhyadhar (his childhood name) to Vidhyasagar was one of deep commitment to acquiring and imparting knowledge. It was his firm belief that education is the cornerstone of a just and enlightened society. He championed the cause of knowledge as a means to empower individuals, enabling them to lead lives of purpose and contribution. His teachings emphasised the importance of self-study and self-awareness as the pathways to true wisdom, urging his followers to engage in lifelong learning and spiritual growth.

At the same time, Sant Shiromani Acharya Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji wanted our youngsters to get an education that is also rooted in our cultural ethos. He often said that it was because we drifted away from the learnings of the past that we were not able to find solutions to key challenges like water scarcity. He also believed that a holistic education is one that focusses on skilling and innovating. He took immense pride in India’s linguistic diversity and encouraged youngsters to learn Indian languages.

Pujya Acharya Ji himself wrote extensively in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Hindi. The heights he reached as a saint, and how grounded he was on the earth, is seen clearly in his iconic work Mookmati. Through his works, he gave a voice to the downtrodden.

In the domain of healthcare too, Pujya Acharya Ji’s contributions were transformative. He was associated with several efforts, especially in underserved areas. His approach to healthcare was holistic, integrating physical well-being with spiritual wellness, thereby addressing the needs of the person as a whole.

I would especially urge the coming generations to study extensively about Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji’s commitment to nation building. He would always urge people to rise above any partisan considerations and instead focus on national interest. He was one of the strongest votaries of voting because he saw it as an expression of participation in democratic processes. He advocated healthy as well as clean politics, even saying that policy making has to be about people’s welfare, not self interest (Lokneeti is about Loksangrah not Lobhsangrah).

He believed that a strong nation is built on the foundation of its citizens' commitment to their duties—towards themselves, their families, society, and the country. He encouraged individuals to cultivate virtues such as honesty, integrity and self-reliance, which he saw as essential for the creation of a just, compassionate, and thriving society. This emphasis on duties is of great importance as we work towards building a Viksit Bharat.

In an era where environmental degradation is rampant world over, Pujya Acharya Ji called for a way of life which would minimise the harm being inflicted on nature. Likewise, he saw a paramount role for agriculture in our economy, also stressing on making agriculture modern as well as sustainable. His work towards reforming jail inmates was also noteworthy.

The beauty of our land is that for thousands of years, our soil has produced greats who have shown light to others and made our society better. Pujya Acharya Ji stands as a towering figure in this illustrious lineage of saints and social reformers. Whatever he did, he did not just for the present but also the future. In November last year, I had the opportunity to visit the Chandragiri Jain Mandir in Dongargarh in Chhattisgarh. Little did I know that this visit would be my last meeting with Pujya Acharya Ji. Those moments were very special. He spoke to me for a long time, blessing me for my efforts in serving the nation. He expressed joy on the direction our nation is taking and the respect India is getting on the world stage. He was filled with enthusiasm while talking about the work he was doing. Then and always, his gentle gaze and serene smile were enough to instill a sense of peace and purpose. His blessings felt like a soothing balm on the soul, a reminder of the divine presence within and around us.

Sant Shiromani Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj Ji’s void is deeply felt by all who knew him and were touched by his teachings and his life. However, he lives on in the hearts and minds of those he inspired. In honouring his memory, we commit to embodying the values he espoused. In this way, we not only pay tribute to a great soul but also take forward his mission for our country and people.