The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the Ganga Pushkaralu Utsav in Kashi, Uttar Pradesh via video message today.
The Prime Minister began his address by conveying his best wishes on the occasion of Ganga Pushkaralu Utsav and extended a warm welcome to everyone He said that all those present here are his personal guest, and guests share the same status as God in the Indian culture.“Even though I could not be present there to welcome you, my mind is with you all”, said the Prime Minister. He congratulated the Kashi-Telugu Committee and Member of Parliament, Shri GVL Narasimha Rao for organizing this event. Underlining that the Ganga - Pushkaralu Utsav at the ghats of Kashi is like the confluence of the Ganges and the Godavari, the Prime Minister said that it is a celebration of the confluence of ancient civilizations, cultures and traditions of India. He recalled the Kashi - Tamil Sangamam that took place here a few months ago and also mentioned participating in the Saurashtra - Tamil Sangamam a few days ago where he had analogized Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal as a confluence of diversities and cultures of India. “This confluence of diversities is giving rise to the Amrit of nationalism which will ensure full energy for India in the future”, the Prime Minister said.
Throwing light on the deep connections of Kashi and its residents with Telugus, the Prime Minister said that Kashi has been welcoming them for generations and the relationship is as ancient as the city itself. He remarked that the faith of people from Telugu background in Kashi is as sacred as Kashi. He noted that people from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana constitute a significant number of the number of pilgrims who visit Kashi. “Telugu states have given Kashi so many great saints, so many Acharyas and sages”, the Prime Minister said as he underlined that when the people of Kashi and the pilgrims go to visit Baba Vishwanath, they also visit Tailang Swami's ashram to seek his blessings. The Prime Minister mentioned Tailang Swami who was born in Vizianagaram but was called the living Shiva of Kashi by Swami Ramakrishna Paramhans. He also mentioned great souls like Jiddu Krishnamurti and others who are fondly remembered in Kashi even today.
The Prime Minister emphasized that Telugu people have kept Kashi attached to their souls exactly like Kashi adopted and understood them, and mentioned the holy shrine Vemulawada which is called Dakshina Kashi. He underlined that the black thread which is tied on the hands in the temples of Andhra and Telangana is called Kashi Daram. Highlighting that the glory of Kashi is deeply embedded in the Telugu language and literature, the Prime Minister mentioned the Kashi Khandamu Granth by Srinath Mahakavi, the Kashi Yatra character of Engul Viraswamayya and the popular Kashi Majili Kathalu. Emphasizing how an outsider might find it hard to believe how a city so far away can be so close to the heart, the Prime Minister said, “This is the heritage of India which has kept the belief of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ alive for centuries.”
“Kashi is the land of liberation and salvation”, the Prime Minister remarked. Recalling the times when Telugu people used to walk thousands of kilometers to reach Kashi, the Prime Minister said that circumstances are transforming rapidly in the modern days. He gave the examples of the divine splendor of Vishwanath Dham on one hand and the grandeur of the ghats of Ganga ghats on the other; streets of Kashi on one side and expanding network of new roads and highways on the other. He underlined that those from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who have come to Kashi earlier must be feeling the change taking place in the city and mentioned the reduction in time taken to reach Dashashwamedh Ghat from the airport owing to the construction of a new highway. Giving examples of development in the city, the Prime Minister mentioned the undergrounding of electric wires in most areas, the rejuvenation of kunds, temple pathways and cultural places in the city, and the plying of CNG boats on the Ganges. He also stated the upcoming ropeway that will benefit the citizens of Kashi. The Prime Minister credited the residents and the youth of the city for creating a mass movement when it came to cleanliness campaigns and the cleanliness of the ghats.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the people of Kashi will leave no stone unturned to serve and welcome the guests. “Baba's blessings, the darshan of Kaal Bhairav and Maa Annapurna is wonderful in itself. A dip in Ganga ji will make your soul happy”, the Prime Minister remarked as he also mentioned that delicacies like lassi, thandai, Chaat, Litti-Chokha, and Banarasi Paan will make the trip even more memorable. The Prime Minister also highlighted the wooden toys of Varanasi similar to the Etikoppaka Toys and Banarasi sarees that compatriots from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana can take with them.
“Our forefathers established the consciousness of India in different centers which together make for the complete form of Mother India”, the Prime Minister said. He highlighted Baba Vishwanath and Vishalakshi Shaktipeeth in Kashi, Mallikarjuna in Andhra, Bhagwan Raj-Rajeshwar in Telangana, Maa Bhramaramba in Andhra, and Raj Rajeshwari in Telangana and said that all such holy places are important centers of India and its cultural identity. Concluding the address, the Prime Minister underlined that India’s completeness and full potential can be realized only when we see the diversity of the country in its totality. “Only then we will be able to awaken our full potential”, Shri Modi said. He expressed confidence that festivals like Ganga-Pushkaralu will continue to take forward this resolution of national service.