16th December, 2011
I feel honored to have your presence. Friends, I respect you people from my heart, I admire you all and I have a revered feeling for you all in my mind and heart. And it is not just because as a Chief Minister, I have to say so, it’s not like that. There is a logic and fact behind it. When we look towards the cultural journey of entire human race and go to its roots, we stop after reaching at a particular spot, from where the development journey of human culture began. That is the place from where your ancestors made great deeds. You are the part of that great legacy. Your ancestors have made those great deeds and therefore I have a revered feeling towards that heritage and you being its representative, naturally it is expressed towards you.
Friends, I have a mood to talk to you as a Friend rather than as a Chief Minister. Many times I feel that… Since here in Ahmedabad, I must have taken meals in more than half of Sindhi family’s house. As for 35 years, I lead a life like that only, I used to visit many families and eat at their houses, this was my routine… And therefore I have observed all this things very closely. But now if I visit any Sindhi family, the children are seen around Pasta and Pizza, so I feel that who will now serve me Mitha Lolla, Tikha Lolla, Pakwan? You just think, all this is going away now. All this things are now vanishing from my Sindhi Families. Isn’t this our responsibility to save our culture? Many times I tell my friends to arrange Sindhi Food Festival in Ahmedabad at least sometimes. This Narendra serves the whole world but is never able to serve any Sindhi Dish. I have told you that I am talking with you not as a Chief Minister but as a close pal. Because I have grown and bought up among you and so I know. You may go and ask young generation, what was the traditional Sindhi attire? What we used to wear? The world has changed, a lot of westernization is imbibed within you, excuse me for that. The Families speaking Sindhi language are getting reduced. Even Mother and the son have also started speaking in English. Friends, one who is able to sustain his mother tongue, lifestyle, traditional costumes in the world, has the power to put a life in it once again. And as a community, if you have lost the path, then I have a request that once take a resolution to speak in Sindhi at home. Whether we are in America, staying in Hong Kong, if we have been to China, anywhere we might go… why should not we speak Sindhi? And Sindhi language, a language itself has her own strength. Once Advaniji was narrating me, Benazir Bhutto had come here and they had a formal meeting, all the protocols were there, but the moment she saw Advaniji, Benazir started speaking in Sindhi and there was so much warmth between them in whole atmosphere, they were talking so freely… Now see, a language has so much of power and if we lose it… If a profession needs English then use it definitely, learn ten more languages, who is taking objection? On the contrary, it should be learnt. If you sit with our Sureshji, when he speaks Gujarati, no one is able to recognize that he knows Sindhi language also, he speaks Gujarati so fluently. He speaks Gujarati so well that not a single word is misspoken. I am really happy with this. But I feel that… Just see, here is a Sindhi Gathering, no one has worn Sindhi dress. Don’t take it as a criticism, Friends. This is your legacy, your strength, why are you losing it? It hurts me. And that’s why I am telling that sometimes at least you all may wear Sindhi costumes. See, our people went to Mauritius 150-200 years ago. They went there as labourers, rather as slaves. They were hand cuffed and taken in the ships. But they took with them Ramayana, ‘Tulsikrit Ramayana’, as they did not have anything else to carry. They went to Mauritius, and to many other such countries, but they had only this support. Today even after 200 years, many things are changed, but since they had Ramayana with them, they have been able to maintain the same relation with this soil. They have not changed their names, they have continued singing hymns of Ramayana and because of that their relationship… Otherwise how many generations are changed in 200 years. Those people are present here who have seen the Sindhi Culture and also gone through those dreadful days and later tried their luck in India, the entire generation is present. But who will be there after 50 years? Who will tell about the great deeds of your ancestors, who will narrate? And therefore Ladies & Gentlemen, according to me, the society, the community, the country which forgets its history, can never make a history. Only those can form a history, who knows to live it. Those who bury the history, can do nothing in their life but to drape over a sheet. And so, being descendants of such a great legacy, you should preserve it, love it. And if we don’t love our heritage, how can we expect our neighbours to adore it? And this passion is not against anybody. To be proud of our virtues doesn’t mean to hurt or abuse anybody. We should be proud to have a glorious history..!
If you get an opportunity to visit Kutch, do go. You must have heard the story, 400 years back there was a man named Mekan Dada in Kutch. People used to go to worship Hinglaj Mata but due to the scarcity of water in the desert, sometimes they died in the desert itself. The devotees used to suffer a lot to cross the desert and go towards Sindh to have an auspicious presence of Hinglaj Mata. Mekan Dada used to keep a donkey and a dog with him which were trained to keep a watch if anybody in the desert is in trouble. The donkey and the dog used to deliver water in the desert and if required also carry the needy. And he was fortunate to have a well there on the outskirts of the desert which contained pure sweet water, it is available today also, if you ever visit. That place was destroyed during earthquake, but we have restored it, re-established it. 400 years back what Mekan Dada wrote, is still exists today. He wrote one thing that a day would come… A person who wrote this 400 years ago, was a watchman on the borders of Gujarat and Sindh, that Mekan Dada wrote that a day would come when Sindhu, Saraswati and Narmada all the three would confluence. Who had thought at that time that Sardar Sarovar Dam will be built on the river Narmada and from Sardar Sarovar, the water of Narmada will reach on the banks of Sindh, who would have thought? And you may be aware, now whenever there is flood in the river Sindhu, then on that side of Pakistan, a dam is built before the sea, so when the Sindhu river gets overflowed, the maximum water is flowed in our desert, in India towards Gujarat. And if you see this spot, it is miles broad bed where the water flows, but unfortunately it becomes salty, bitter just like sea water and it becomes of no use. But I went to see that spot in the desert where that water comes and then I wrote a letter to the Indian Government that can’t we have a talk with Pakistan? that this flood water which flows down in the sea, if we divert it towards this side through canal, then the Mekan Dada’s dream of combining Sindhu, Saraswati and Narmada can be fulfilled by us. Friends, this is the legacy we should be proud of and ought to be associated with.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I respect this community for one more reason also. You can imagine how could be those days of 1947, when the country was divided, everything was ruined, everything was destroyed and you came here with faith in God. Why did you come here, Friends? To get something, to achieve something? What was not with you? You came here because of your love for this soil, for this great heritage. You were not ready to give up this culture of your ancestors, therefore you have faced troubles. Is this spirit percolating in your children? If not, then it is not the dearth of our ancestors, it is the fault of our present generation and so it is necessary to think of it seriously. Friends, I used to observe a Sindhi gentleman in my village during my childhood. That time I was smaller in age then him, he was of somewhat 60-65 years old. His financial condition was very bad… I could still remember his whole face. A very weak-thin body, with worn-torn clothes and he was always seen on the bus stop selling Papad or chocolates and biscuits to the passengers in a tray. As long as I stayed in my village he was alive and I always saw him doing the same work. That one scene still touches my heart. How poor he was, leading a very miserable life, even his body was not supporting. Mine was a small village, who would consume biscuits or chocolates there? Who would spend? But even then he used to stand on the bus-stop with the professional spirit, trying to earn something by selling something but I never saw him begging. There are very few societies which have this strength. And this is in the genetic system of the Sindhi community, the strength of self-respect. They never beg..! You are the possessor of that inheritance. How to pass on this tradition on our children, how to make them ready?
Friends, Professional Skill..! Our Gopaldas Bhojwani is sitting here, when I was young, we used to go and sit on his shop sometimes. One thing came to our notice, I don’t know whether that tradition is present today or not. But from socio-economic point of view, I have kept my subject before many people, spoken at different places. Now whether that tradition still exists or not that I don’t know, but that time I saw it with my own eyes. Whenever any Sindhi youth or a person started his business then his friends, relatives, all would come on the inauguration and handed an envelope. Nothing would be written on that envelope, but it contained some money, some amount. Whoever came would give him. I asked with curiosity that what is this going on? Then I came to know that it is the tradition of their community, that whenever a person starts a new business then the community people come to meet and give him some money, which helps as a capital to carry his business. And afterwards, if there is any such opportunity, he himself also goes and gives it to somebody else. But the giver’s name is not written. Friends, the tradition that I have seen had excellent socio-economical concept to help our own relatives, the person of our own society to stabilize in business. This in itself may probably be the rarest in the world. Here, during the marriages it is given in this way to share the marriage expenditure with the family. But such a tradition in business came to my notice when I used to attend opening ceremonies of the shops of Sindhi families. And I feel that what an excellent socio-economic thinking is extended by our ancestors..! No one, just no one will be drown, everybody will give their helping hands and try to pull him up, such a great tradition.
I was just now asking Shrichandji if there is any Sindhi TV Channel. I know that, but why I asked him that you should know, isn’t it? I know that… No, to have small-time programmes is a different thing, that is not a full-fledged channel, short programmes go on air. No, I had asked the question at the right place. Now he is asking for some land. He is a businessman, why are you devaluating us, Hindujaji? Whole Gujarat is yours, my Brother & Sisters, the whole Gujarat is yours. Whole Gujarat is at your hands, enjoy it..! But few gentlemen from Mumbai have come forward, possibly they have come here, to build a similar Sindhi Cultural Centre near Narayan Sarovar and we have given them a big land for that purpose. The work is in progress to build a very nice cultural centre at the Narayan Sarovar, which is the last end of today’s India and lies near the border of Pakistan. That will be very beneficial and a great work is going to happen. Yes, they are sitting here… That will be a very nice job, I am sure.
You all know very well that Gujarat has made great progress and development. You all would like to have food or should I narrate the story of Gujarat..? Voice is not coming. Yes, Sindhis eat food very late, I also when used to work for the whole day and if it gets late, then eat food at your house only, I used to go at any Sindhi house and there I would get something to eat. No, at today’s date, you certainly eat. Well, by and large this has been the image of Gujarat that we were a trader’s state and what we used to do as a trader’s state? We used to buy goods from one place, sell it at other and take out the cream in between. This was it, what would the businessmen do? From that it is transformed. Today Gujarat has become an industrial state. And in the first decade of this 21st Century, the heights that are crossed by Gujarat, if anyone takes Gujarat as a sample then he may become confident that if it is possible in Gujarat then it can be made possible in the whole India and our country can become great. Because we are the same kind of people in each and every corner of India. The same are the laws and the same system. Progress and Development are possible, this is the example placed by Gujarat.
There was a time, when the coastal area of 1600 km was considered as a burden. We felt that what will happen here? This water, this salty water, lack of drinking water… People of Kutch and Saurashtra went on departing their villages. The villages were getting vacant. We had considered it as burden. Friends, today we have converted that sea into an opportunity. Once which was considered as a burden has been converted into an opportunity and we have raised a complete network of more than 40 ports on 1600 KMs of coastal area. And 85% of the total private cargo of India is handled on the coasts of Gujarat.
Kutch. There was a terrible earthquake in 2001, it was felt as if Gujarat would be ruined. And it was a shattering earthquake, more than 13,000 people were killed, lakhs of houses were collapsed, the entire infrastructure came to an end. Schools, colleges nothing, even hospitals were not left. The God was so enraged that we could not even imagine. In other words, Gujarat was sleeping under a death sheet and the whole country believed that now Gujarat would not endure any more. Friends, the World Bank record shows that even a developed country needs 7 years to come out after disaster like earthquake, minimum 7 years. Friends, Gujarat could sprint within 3 years. There was a time when the growth of Kutch was negative, even population. People were migrating, population was getting reduced. Kutch which was once covered under a sheet of death, today it is the fastest growing district of India, fastest growing. In these 10 years, the work related to the production of 8000 MW of electricity has been started within the radius of 20 KMs around Mundra in Kutch. It means that the production of electricity has been started, within the radius of 20 KMs only. There might be many states in India who may not be having electricity equal to 8000 MW in total. And here, production of 8000 MW of electricity within the radius of 20 KMs..! The production of Steel Pipes within 15 KMs of radius near Anjar is the highest in the world.
Friends, Gujarat is such a state which lacks raw-material, we do not have mines and minerals, we do not have iron ores… but we produce the highest steel. We do not have diamond mines, but 9 out of 10 diamonds in the world are prepared by us. There would not be any actress in the world with diamond on her body which is not touched by my Gujarati. God has not bestowed us, we have not got that fortune, we do not have. We do not have the coal, we do not have water, in spite of that Gujarat is the only state in India that supplies electricity for 24 hours, it supplies electricity for 24x7 house to house, 24 hours electricity is available. Here, if ever the power supply is cut just for 5 minutes then it becomes a big news that it was dark for 5 minutes today in the State of Modi..! Other states of India are such that where if power comes then it becomes a news that there was power on Tuesday..! Friends, there is such a vast difference in the scale of development.
In the world of pharmaceuticals about 45% of medicines are produced in Gujarat. We export it in every country of the world. We were in the world of chemicals, if you get an opportunity to visit Dahej, the only liquid chemical port of India and where our new S.I.R. has been set up, in Dahej. It is equivalent to Shanghai, it is compared, we have chemical port like that of Sanghai in Dahej and now S.I.R is being set up there. So, Gujarat was mainly identified in the world of chemical production, now from there we have entered in the field of engineering. When ‘Nano’ arrived here, Gujarat came in the limelight on the map of the world for the first time, else nobody knew its existence. Friends, ‘Nano’ has just arrived and it would not be out of place to say the least that now all the well known car companies are coming to Gujarat. In the coming days, we will be manufacturing about 5 million cars in Gujarat, five million cars. You can imagine how the economy will be working here, with what pace we will be growing..! We have entered yet another sector in the industrial development.
The whole world is discussing about ‘Global Warming’ & ‘Climate Change’. There are only four Governments in the world that are having their own Climate Change Department and the Government is working accordingly. Only four in the world, and one of these four is the Government of Gujarat. We have a separate Climate Change Department and we emphasize more on Eco-friendly development, because we know the way Gujarat is developing, the human life should also be taken care of as well and there should be a proper balance between them. And in that, we have taken an initiative of Solar Energy. Friends, I can say with pride that Gujarat has become the ‘Solar Capital’ of the world, we are the World Capital of Solar Energy. In the coming days, in the field of Solar Energy, in the field of Solar Energy Equipments Manufacturing, we are going to dominate and in the future we are going to take it further. We are bringing a policy for Roof-top Solar Energy System targeting to have Solar System on the roof of every house that will be constructed. The Government will decide to purchase the power from them, as the way the prices of petroleum and coal are sky rocketing, a very big crisis of electricity may arise. And Friends, I can say with confidence, no matter how big the crisis may come, Gujarat will tide from that. And the development will come to a grinding halt without energy. Wherever will be this crisis, the development will be stopped. But we have very thoughtfully worked on it. These days we are working a lot on Bio-fuel. And Friends, the day will come when instead of depending on fossil fuel, we will make do with Bio-fuel. The Bio-fuel will be generated in the fields. We are largely working in that direction and committed with an ideology to use ‘Jhadi’ (Shrub) Oil, instead of ‘Khadi’ (Gulf) Oil. A situation will come for a major change due to this ideology.
Friends, there was a time when about 4000 villages were supplied water with tankers for almost 6 months after February. Till the time these tankers did not reach such villages, there was no potable water available. This was the situation of Gujarat till 2001-02. We planned to provide Narmada water through pipeline in villages and laid about 1400 km of pipeline within 700 days, 1400 KMs of pipeline in stupendous 700 days. It is a common practice in our country that it takes 2 years to lay 2 inch pipeline and the potholes remain as it is. Why? The reply is that water pipeline is being laid. We laid down 1400 KMs of pipeline in just 700 days and the size is such that you can easily go through in your Maruti car with your family, that big is the size. 1400 KMs of pipeline in just 700 days. Gujarat is the only state in the country having gas grid of 2200 KMs. Here most households are getting gas supply just by tapping from the pipeline, there is no need of cylinders. It has taken place in many cities and will move forward in many more towns. It means we have taken up a new form of infrastructure. In the past, the infrastructure was in form of construction of new roads, bus stop, gradually came the construction of railway station, then air port… Our thinking of infrastructure is keeping the needs of 21st century in mind, gas grid, water grid… It is in that direction. The other thing that we have taken up is the work of Optical Fiber Network. We are at No.1 position in the world, with regard to the length of Optical Fiber Network. And Friends, there has been a great change in the journey of development of human culture. There was a time, wherever there was river, there was habitation human civilization. Then there came a change, the human civilization developed near the highways. Now people build even temples near highways, so that ‘clients’ would not suffer. But Friends, the time is changing. Now the human civilization is going to be developed at the place near the passage of Optical Fiber. And Gujarat is the State having longest lengthwise Optical Fiber Network in the world. In the last Budget of 2011-2012, the Government of India had declared to initiate a pilot project of broadband connectivity in 3000 villages. It was Delhi’s Indian Government, please excuse me if there is anyone over here connected to any party, I am not criticizing any party. But the Indian Government had declared at the time of Budget to make pilot project of broadband connectivity in 3000 villages. Ladies & Gentlemen, you will be pleased to know that 18,000 villages in Gujarat already have broadband connectivity for last three years and because of that, today I can have video conference from Gandhinagar to any village, we are able to have long distance education in the remote schools and impart teaching, a qualified teacher is now able to teach children of the villages situated at a distance of 500 km from Gandhinagar itself, this is the network in Gujarat..!
Usually, States keep asking for some or the other things from the Centre. It is always appeared in the newspaper that there is demand for construction of roads, this and that is demanded, demanded money for a hospital, more wheat is demanded, somewhere it is appeared that give us salt, such thing also comes… so this is what in our country. But what does Gujarat ask for? Gujarat has a different approach to ask. I had written a letter to the Prime Minister before one year. I told him that Sir, we are having so many satellites, give me some right to make a use of these satellites, this is the letter I had written. Because so much of technology is being used here and for that I need this network. And Friends, I am glad as three days back the Indian Government has authorized us to utilize one transponder, i.e. 36 MHz from the satellite. At present, I am able to run one channel for long distance, but now will be able to run 14 channels, fourteen. You can imagine at what heights and level I am taking the development to..! We are working on such a large canvas. I have given a small glimpse of few things.
Friends, we do such works that you will be astonished by listening it. In these 10 years, the growth rate of milk production is 60% in Gujarat, can you imagine? There is 60% growth. And it is the result of hard work made for that. We organize ‘Cattle Health Fairs’ here. And a cattle is not supposed to be taken for more than 3 KMs, because to take a sick cattle more than that it is a crime and a sin. We conduct about 3000-3500 Cattle Camps for their health check-ups. And we have been conducting this consecutively from last seven years. The vaccinations, medicines, their proper care… it resulted in for example as if it’s very cold, we catch cold, if it rains heavily we catch cold, in the same way it happens with cattle also. Few diseases are such that if there is a slight change in weather, it immediately affects cattle. But because of the regular care, 112 diseases were such which are totally eradicated from my state, they are wiped out and it has made a great effect on the cattle’s health. Not only this, how do we take care of the cattle..? We have cataract surgery and in some poor areas people conduct ‘Netra Yagna’ (eye camps) in the name of charity and implant free lens to the poor people. We all have heard about the cataract operation, intraocular lens… This is the first time that I am telling you that Gujarat is the only State in the whole world where the cataract operations for the cattle are conducted. Operations of the lens for the cattle are carried out in my State, Dental treatment of animals are carried in my State, because of such exquisite care, today we have reached here in milk production. And Friends, those who have come here from Singapore, I can tell with confidence that if they are drinking Indian style tea in Singapore, then write it down, the milk will be of my Gujarat. Friends, the work that we have done in agricultural sector… Today in any country of the world, if Lady’s Finger is cooked, you make write it down, it would be from my Bardoli. Friends, there was a time when ‘Kesar’ of Gir was famous. Today ‘Kesar’ of Kutch, which was once a desert… Mangoes are produced in Kutch and today ‘Kesar’ of my Kutch is exported in the entire world.
Friends, I have shown you just a small trailer of what can be done within 10 years, if you wish to see the whole movie, it may take a month. There has been development in all the sectors, and development is the only Mantra. Ladies & Gentlemen, development is the only solution to all the troubles, all the problems, with that only ideology we are moving ahead.
I am thankful for giving me an opportunity to meet you all. What I told you in the beginning that was because of the feeling of affection towards you, the feeling of respect that I have in my mind towards you, on that basis I again request you all, not to ruin this great heritage, do not let this culture be shattered. If you make some arrangement to imbibe this language, this culture, this cuisines within your children then I believe it would be a great service to the nation.