Bows to Sardar Patel who showed indomitable will power for the revival of India’s ancient glory
Remembered Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar who renovated several temples from Vishwanath to Somnath
It has been demand of every time period that we look for new possibilities in religious tourism and strengthen the links between pilgrimage and local economy: PM
The destructive powers, the thinking that tries to establish an empire on the basis of terror, may dominate temporarily, but, its existence is never permanent, it cannot suppress humanity for a long time. This was true when some attackers were demolishing Somnath, it is equally true even today, when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies: PM
The Country is moving towards amicable solutions of difficult problems. A bright pillar of the glory of modern India is coming up in the form of Ram Mandir: PM
For us essence of history and faith is Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas: PM
Arrangement of our four dhams, the concept of our Shaktipeeths, the establishment of different pilgrimages in different corners of our country, this outline of our faith is actually an expression of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat': PM
Country is reviving the ancient glory by building modern infrastructure: PM

Jai Somnath! Joining us in the program are our respected Lal Krishna Advani ji, Home Minister Shri Amit Shah ji, Shripad Naik ji, Ajay Bhatt ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay ji, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Bhai, Tourism Minister in Gujarat government Jawahar ji , Vasan Bhai, my colleague in Lok Sabha Rajesh Bhai, Trustee of Somnath Temple Trust Shri Praveen Lahiri ji, all devotees, ladies and gentlemen!

Though I am joining this holy occasion through video conference, but in my heart I feel myself at the feet of Lord Shree Somnath. Being the President of the Somnath Temple Trust, it is my privilege that I continue to serve this holy place. Today once again, we are witnessing the transformation of this holy shrine. Today I have the privilege of inaugurating Samudra Darshan Path, Somnath Exhibition Gallery and Juna Somnath Temple in a new form after its renovation. Along with this, the foundation stone of Parvati Mata Temple has also been laid today.

I believe it is the blessings of Lord Somnath ji that there is such a sanctified coincidence and that too in the holy month of Sawan. On this occasion, I congratulate all of you, all the members of the trust and crores of devotees of Lord Somnath ji in the country and abroad. In particular, I also bow at the feet of Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ji who had the will to revive the ancient glory of India. Sardar Saheb considered the Somnath temple to be associated with the independent spirit of independent India. It is our good fortune that today we are taking forward the efforts of Sardar Saheb by giving new grandeur to the Somnath temple in the 75th year of independence. Today, I also bow to Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar, who renovated many temples from Vishwanath to Somnath. The confluence of antiquity and modernity which was in her life, the country is moving ahead today considering it as its ideal.


Gujarat has seen the results of linking modernity with tourism from close quarters whether it is the Statue of Unity or the rejuvenation of Kutch. It has been the demand of every period that we explore new possibilities in religious tourism and strengthen the links between pilgrimage and local economy. For example, devotees from all over the country and the world used to visit the Somnath temple till now. But now Samudra Darshan Path, exhibition, pilgrim plaza and shopping complex will also attract tourists here. Now the devotees will also see the captivating form of Juna Somnath temple and will visit the new Parvati temple. It will create not only new opportunities in employment, but the divinity of the place will also grow. Moreover, the Somnath Promenade will provide security to our temple standing by the sea. Today the Somnath exhibition gallery has also been inaugurated. This will also give an opportunity to our youth and the future generation to connect with the history and understand our faith in its ancient form.


Somnath has been the land of Shiva for centuries. It is said in our scriptures:

"शं करोति सः शंकरः"।

That is, the one who bestows welfare and accomplishment is Shiva. It is Shiva who germinates the seed of development even in destruction and gives birth to creativity even in annihilation. That is why Shiva is enduring, quiescent and eternal. Therefore, our faith in Shiva makes us aware of our existence beyond the limits of time and gives us the strength to face the challenges of time. And, this Somnath temple is an inspiration of our self-confidence.


Whosoever looks at this grand structure does not merely see it as a temple, but he sees an existence that has been inspiring for hundreds of thousands of years, proclaiming the values ​​of humanity. It is a place that our sages had described as ‘Prabhas Kshetra’ (abode of enlightenment) thousands of years ago and which is invoking the entire world today that truth cannot be defeated by falsehood. Faith cannot be crushed by terror. So many times this temple was destroyed in the history of hundreds of years, idols were vandalized and every effort was made to erase its existence. But every time it was demolished, it was resurrected. Therefore, Lord Somnath temple today is a belief and solace not only for India but for the entire world. The evil forces which conjure of establishing an empire on the basis of terror may dominate for some time during a particular period, but their existence is never permanent, they cannot suppress humanity for a long time. It remained true even when some despots were demolishing Somnath temple and also holds true today when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies.


As we all know, this journey from reconstruction of Somnath temple to its grand development is not just a result of few years or few decades. It is the result of centuries of strong will and ideological perpetuity. Great men like Rajendra Prasad ji, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and K.M. Munshi encountered difficulties in this campaign even after independence. But finally in 1950, the Somnath temple was established as the divine pillar of modern India. Today the country is moving ahead with a commitment to find amicable solution to all its problems. Today an illuminated pillar of pride of New India is also being erected in the form of Ram Temple.


Our thinking should be to improve the present by learning from history and create a new future. Therefore, when I talk of 'Bharat Jodo Andolan', it is not limited to geographical or ideological affiliations only. It is also a resolve to connect us with our past to build India of the future. With this belief we have built modern glory on the ruins of the past while cherishing the inspirations of the past. We have to always remember what Rajendra Prasad ji said when he came to Somnath. He said: "Centuries ago, India used to be a treasure house of gold and silver. A large part of the world's gold used to be in the temples of India. In my view, the reconstruction of Somnath will be completed on the day when along with the huge temple on its foundation, the grand building of a prosperous India will also be ready, the building of a prosperous India, whose symbol will be the Somnath temple." This dream of our first President, Dr. Rajendra ji, is a great inspiration for all of us.


For us, the essence of history and faith is-

'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas.

The 12 Jyotirlingas that have been established in our country begin with 'Saurashtre Somanatham' from the Somnath temple itself. From Somnath and Nageshwar in the west to Baidyanath in the east, from Baba Kedarnath in the north to Shri Rameshwar, at the extreme end of India in the south, these 12 Jyotirlingas serve to connect the whole of India. Similarly, our Char Dhams (four abodes), the concept of our 56 Shakti Peethas (holy places of cosmic power), the establishment of different pilgrimage centres across the country is actually an expression of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' (One India, Supreme India). The world has been wondering for centuries that how India with so many diversities is united as one. But you realize the power of India when you see the devotees walking thousands of km from the east to west to visit Somnath or thousands of devotees from south India applying the soil of Kashi on their foreheads. We may not understand each other's language, our clothes are different, our food habits are different, but we feel that we are one. Our spirituality has played an important role in binding India in the thread of unity and establishing mutual dialogue for centuries. And we all have the responsibility to keep strengthening it.


Today the entire world is getting attracted towards India's yoga, philosophy, spirituality and culture. There has also been a new awareness in our new generation to connect with our roots. Therefore, there is national and international potential in the field of tourism and spiritual tourism. In order to realize this potential, the country is building modern infrastructure and reviving the ancient glory. The example of Ramayana Circuit is in front of us. Today Ram devotees from the country and abroad are getting to know about new places related to the life of Lord Rama through the Ramayana Circuit. Today we are getting to experience how Lord Rama is the Ram of the entire India by visiting these places. Similarly, the Buddha Circuit is facilitating the visit of Buddhist followers from all over the world to India. Today, the work is progressing rapidly in this direction. Similarly, the Ministry of Tourism is developing tourist circuits on 15 different themes under the 'Swadesh Darshan Scheme'. These circuits will also create opportunities for tourism and development in many neglected areas of the country.


Such was the vision of our ancestors that they worked to connect the far-flung areas with our faith, made us aware of their belongingness. But unfortunately, when we became competent, when we got modern technology and resources, we discarded these areas considering them inaccessible. Our mountainous regions are a great example of this. But today the country is also bridging the distance of these holy pilgrimages. Be it development around Vaishno Devi temple or hi-tech infrastructure in the Northeast, today the distance is shrinking in the country. Similarly, in 2014, the country had also announced the 'Prasad Scheme' for the development of pilgrimage places. Under this scheme, about 40 major pilgrimage centers are being developed in the country, out of which 15 projects have also been completed. In Gujarat also, work is progressing on three projects worth more than 100 crores rupees under the Prasad Scheme. Special attention is being paid to connect Somnath and other tourist spots and cities in Gujarat. The idea is that when tourists come to visit one place, they should also go to other tourist places. Similarly, 19 iconic tourist destinations have been identified across the country and being developed. All these projects will give a new boost to our tourist industry in the future.


Today the country is not only binding the common man, but is also progressing itself through tourism. As a result, our country, which was ranked 65th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index in 2013, is now positioned 34th as per the 2019 index. Many policy decisions have also been taken in these seven years to promote international tourism, which are benefiting the country today. The country has expedited steps like e-Visa regime, visa on arrival, and has also reduced visa fees. Similarly, the GST on hospitality in the tourism sector has also been reduced. This will greatly benefit the tourism sector and will also help in recovering from the effects of Covid. Many decisions have also been taken keeping in mind the interests of tourists. For example, some tourists are enthusiastic about adventure. Keeping this in mind, 120 mountain peaks have been thrown open for trekking. Guides are being trained to ensure that tourists do not get inconvenienced and get detailed information about the new places. This is also creating a large number of employment opportunities.


The traditions of our country inspire us to come out of the difficult times, leave behind our sufferings and move forward. We have also seen that tourism is a ray of hope for the people during Corona. Therefore, we have to continuously expand and promote the uniqueness and culture of our tourism and move forward. But at the same time, we also have to keep in mind necessary precautions. I am sure the country will continue to move forward with this spirit and our traditions and glory will continue to guide us in the making of modern India. May we continue to be showered with the blessings of Lord Somnath to do more for the welfare of the poorest of the poor with new energy so that we can serve the common man and bring a change in his life! With these best wishes, thank you all so much!! Jai Somnath!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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PM Modi's interview to News X
May 21, 2024

In an interview to News X, Prime Minister Modi addressed the issue of toxic language in elections, explained why the Opposition frequently discussed him, and shared his views on job creation. He criticized the Congress' tax plans and appeasement politics.

Rishabh Gulati: A very warm welcome to the viewers of NewsX and India News. I’m Rishabh Gulati and with me is Aishwarya Sharma of The Sunday Guardian and Rana Yashwant. In today’s special episode, we proudly welcome a renowned ‘rashtra sevak’, and the Prime Minister of India in this Amrit Kaal, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi. Mr Prime Minister, you took the time to speak to us, we are very grateful.

Prime Minister: Namaskar, my warm greetings to all your viewers.


Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, the first question that comes to mind is about the Opposition, and it seems that the biggest item on their poll agenda is Narendra Modi. Why, in your opinion, do they talk so much about Narendra Modi?

Prime Minister: To understand why they discuss Narendra Modi, we must first understand the Opposition. To understand them, one can examine the administration between 2004 and 2014.

The Opposition has not been able to play a strong role. Even as the Opposition, the way they are falling apart, they did not play a constructive role of any kind. Despite deep discussions, they haven’t been able to bring serious issues to the public attention. They thought that by their antics, taking up space in the media, they would be able to keep their boat afloat. Even in this election, I have seen that they make fresh attempts every day to acquire media space, be it by making videos, nonsensical statements, or behaving in a way that people don’t normally behave. So they do this to acquire space in the media. Now abusing Modi is one such antic, where, if nothing else, they are guaranteed publicity. Even a small-time politician, if he bad-mouths me, will get about an hour of media attention. Perhaps they see Modi as a ladder to climb up in their political career.


Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, the I.N.D.I. alliance is talking about wealth redistribution. Do you think this is possible, and will the voters of the country be influenced by such a scheme?

Prime Minister: You can’t examine this in isolation. You must look at their overall thought process. When their (Congress) manifesto was released, I had said the manifesto had the imprint of the Muslim League. There was a statement made by Dr Manmohan Singh… I had attended the meeting in which he said that ‘Muslims have the first right to India’s resources.’ Now when I raised this in public, their media ecosystem raised a storm saying that ‘Modi is lying,’. So two days later, I brought Manmohan Singh’s press conference forward and put it in front of them. Then they stopped talking. So this was one example. Now in their Manifesto, they have said that they will give reservation (to Muslims) even when allotting government contracts.

So today, when a bridge is to be built somewhere, what is the criteria for awarding the contract? The company bidding is evaluated based on how resourceful they are, their experience, their capability, their ability to deliver on time, all these things. Now they say that they want to give reservations to the minorities, to the Muslims, in this process as well. It all adds up. Now when they say that they will impose inheritance tax, it means that taxes that go to the government, who will stand to benefit from it? It’s the same people that Manmohan Singh ji talked about. If you join the dots, this is the logic that comes from it. How will the country accept this? Secondly, has any developing country in the world indulged in such madness? Today, India needs to work hard to rise above its problems. We have made this attempt and pulled 25 crore people out of poverty. Where there used to be a few hundred start-ups, there are now over 1.25 lakh start-ups, and there are Unicorns. You must go among the people and work with energy, and that will bring the right result.


Rana Yashwant: Mr Prime Minister, the Ram Mandir has been built in Ayodhya, the consecration of Ram Lalla took place and there was joy among the people. In all this, there is Iqbal Ansari, who has fought the legal battle, and is an important person. He comes, holding a placard that says ‘Modi ka Parivaar’. Today, the minority community identifies with your policies and welfare schemes. Your opinion?

Prime Minister: Since you’ve brought up Ram Mandir and Iqbal Ansari, I will narrate an incident. Ram Mandir should have been built right after Independence. In all these years, it wasn’t built because they (Congress) felt it would affect their vote bank. Attempts were made in the Courts till the very end to stop it. It is a fact that Congress hindered the building of the Ram Mandir. Despite this, when the Supreme Court judgment came through, the Court constituted a trust, and the trust members, let go of all past differences and went to invite the Congress Party members to the consecration ceremony. They rejected the invitation. The same people went to invite Iqbal Ansari. The ironic thing is, that Iqbal Ansari, who fought the Babri Masjid case his entire life, respected the Supreme Court’s verdict and attended the ‘Shilanyas’ and the ‘Pran Prathistha’ ceremony as well. This is what I think, as far as Iqbal Ansari is concerned.

Now if you want to talk about secularism, it is my very serious allegation, that for over 75 years, through a very well-crafted conspiracy, a false narrative has been fed to the nation. It has been embedded in the nation from before our birth. Sardar Patel was targeted by this narrative, and maybe, today it may be my turn, tomorrow someone else… Why do they cry out ‘secularism’ over and over again? It’s because they want to divert the world’s attention from their communal activities.

They cry ‘thief’ over and over when they have defrauded the people, and they do this because they think crying ‘thief’ will divert the public’s attention. This is their ploy. I have called them out in front of everyone, that they are the ones who are communal. India’s constitution does not allow you to indulge in such sectarian acts, and I have brought out several such examples, like I mentioned earlier that they called the Muslims the rightful inheritors of India’s wealth. I am exposing them. They (Congress) hide behind their politics of appeasement and instead accuse me of being communal. I am talking about those communal parties that wear the ‘nikab’ of secularism and indulge in hardcore communalism. I find three things common among these people. They are hardcore sectarians, they are extremely casteist, and they are hardcore dynasts. They are so full of these three things that they can’t come out of it.


Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have spoken about lifting 25 crore people out of poverty. 80 crore poor people are receiving ration – it is necessary now and will be so in the future as well. What do you have to say about how crucial it will be in the future?

Prime Minister: When Manmohan Singh ji was the Prime Minister, news was rife with reports of food grains getting spoilt. So, the Supreme Court asked the government as to why the grains were not being distributed among the poor. Manmohan Singh ji, who was the Prime Minister then, stated on record that they could not distribute the grains and that it was impossible to do it. That is the consequence of his thinking. I faced the same issue, especially during COVID-19. My first goal was to ensure that a stove should be lit in every poor household. So, I started working on it. I have stated this for the next five years as well because in the lives of those who come out of poverty…

For example, one returns home from the hospital. The treatment has been done but precaution is necessary. A doctor advises you to take rest for a particular duration after returning home, tells you what to eat and what to refrain from consuming, and what to take care of. Why? The illness has already been addressed, but if anything is jeopardized then the condition of the person would return to what it was. That is why poor people who escape poverty need handholding. They should not return to that state in any condition. Once they escape poverty, they should be empowered to stand strong. In my understanding, in the next five years, those who have escaped poverty should be able to firmly stand on their feet. Any unfortunate incident in their family, should not push them to poverty again. And only then will the country eradicate poverty.


Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, our country is the youngest country. Under your tenure, 10 lakh government jobs have been filled. Now, the Opposition has vowed to fill 30 lakh government jobs. In your third term, how do you plan to boost employment opportunities for the youth?

Prime Minister: You must have read the SKOCH report that was released. I hope your TV channel studies the SKOCH report in detail and conducts a TV debate on this. They have analysed some 20 to 22 schemes of the government. They have published statistics about how many person-year-hours have been obtained. They have revealed how many hours it takes to build 4 crore houses and how many people it employs. They have published data for about 22 different parameters.

They have stated that 50 crore people have accrued benefits. Secondly, we brought the Mudra Yojana. We give bank loans without any guarantee. We have disbursed loans worth Rs 23 Lakh Crore. 80% of those who have received these loans are first-timers. Some have started their businesses and have employed a few people in this process. Start-ups used to be in the thousands and now they are in lakhs. People have been employed in this process, right? Consider that a 1000-kilometre road is being built and think about how many jobs are created. So, if a 2000-kilometre road is being built more people will be employed, right? Today, road and rail construction has doubled, electrification has doubled, and mobile towers are reaching every corner of India. All this is being created by people who have received jobs. That is why a lie is being peddled.

 What’s important is that we must move towards creating jobs for ourselves. The youth in this country are in the mood to do something and be productive and we must help them. We must encourage them. Our Mudra Yojana does exactly that. We also run the SVANidhi scheme. There are countless street hawkers, who are poor people. But today, they are taking money from the bank to run their businesses. Due to this, they can save money and expand their business. Earlier, a street hawker would sit on the footpath and now his goal is to buy a lorry. One who would owned a lorry earlier now wishes to provide home delivery services. Their aspirations are rising. This is why I believe that while people receive the benefits of government schemes, which will eventually result in development, we must also focus on several other areas.


Rana Yashwant: Prime Minister, your government works on the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Beneficiaries avail welfare schemes without any discrimination – caste, religion, or community. Yet, the Opposition maintains that Muslims do not accrue the same benefits from these welfare schemes.

Prime Minister: You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. The unique aspect of my government, in terms of delivering welfare schemes, has not raised any questions regarding discrimination.


Rana Yashwant: The Opposition has to say this.

Prime Minister: Even the Opposition does not say this. You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. I have never heard this from anybody because everyone knows… and Muslims themselves say that they receive all benefits.

The primary reason is that I have two principles. First, 100% saturation. For example, if poor people must be given houses, complete delivery must take place. If 100% delivery is the goal, then where does the scope of discrimination even arise? Whether it is providing gas connections, building toilets, ensuring tap water connections, I believe in 100% delivery. Yes, some people will receive the benefits in January, some in April and some in November, but the scheme will apply to all and 100%. I believe that true secularism is when 100% delivery is done. Social justice is when 100% is done. So, if my mission is 100% saturation… and nobody has made this charge yet. They don’t have the courage to say it. I have lived in Gujarat as well, and on this topic, nobody can prop up any charges against me.


Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have taken out time to sit with us and relay your ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Thank you so much. Best of luck for the polls ahead.

Prime Minister: I thank you all. I have been campaigning day and night…


Rana Yashwant: You are constantly on the move. We see you morning until night on the run…

Rishabh Gulati: Today, you had a big rally at 8 in the morning.

Prime Minister: I started my day at 6 am and went to Jagannath Puri temple to offer my prayers. Since then I have been traveling and have at last got time to meet you.


Rana Yashwant: Where ever you go, Jagannath or Kashi, there is a sea of people that comes to greet you. You have experienced it yourself.

Prime Minister: I realise that my responsibilities are now increasing. I also see that the public has taken ownership of elections. Political parties are not fighting the elections. The public has taken ownership of this election. And the results will be as desired by the public.

Thank you!