Namaskar to all of you…! Thank you..! Happy Shivaratri to all of you...! In India, today is the auspicious day of Shivaratri as well as final day of Mahakumbha. Sometimes we feel it is amazing the way Mahakumbha is organized in India, had it been organized in any other country, people would discuss about its different aspects, its faith, its organization and millions of people gather at one place in such a huge number… Means it appeared as if everyday a small European country gathers on the banks of the Ganges. This is not any ordinary phenomena; we can’t consider it as a normal event. Western countries have the skill to do branding and marketing of everything, but in spite of this event being so magnanimous, we can’t make the world aware of its strength. Today is Shivaratri, whole India worships lord Shiva.
In our country we believe in so many Gods & Goddesses and we try to learn something in life through that belief. Now the whole world is worried about global warming. They are worried about the coming days…! Everyone has this point at the back of his mind. But sometimes a special aspect about the perception of God that was done by our forefathers, and their feelings for God, comes to our mind. All the deities that are perceived in India have been associated with nature. There is not a single God’s belief that has not been associated with any tree; every God has been associated with one tree. Not only this, every God, every form of the almighty has been associated with an animal or a bird. And through all these things there has been an effort to give a message that the form of almighty that you worship loves nature too much. How connected they were with nature...! And if you too want to worship only God leaving behind the nature it is not absolute. This is a total package deal. If you worship lord Shiva, Bilva tree as well as its leaves are worshiped. And just see Shiva family’s magic…! Their specialty…! Ganeshji, Kartikeya, Shivaji, Parvatiji….We believe that snake eats mouse. Mouse is snake’s food. But in Shivaji’s family snake and mouse live together. Ganeshaji’s vehicle is mouse and Shivaji’s has snake around his neck…! You can visualize can there be any message about co-existence bigger than this…! Love for nature and its significance…! The people of old generation among the people sitting here, who know Ayurveda, would know that Bilva tree has a fruit. We worship lord Shiva with ‘Bilva patra’. But today also it is said that Shivaji had drunk poison and after that he had come out of it after passing through a very critical phase. But today our Ayurveda says that the juice of ‘Bilvi fruit’ is used as the best medicine for treatment of gastrological ailments. This means how we educate people while worshiping and meditating form of God simply, how for generations there has been tradition of educating people...! And in every corner of India and abroad wherever there are Indians, they worship lord Shiva today. I offer my best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Shivratri...!
Brothers & Sisters, this is 21st century, the century of science and knowledge and you may be feeling why a politician, a Chief Minister of a State, started telling the story of Shivji early in the morning..! It is very natural for you to have this question. But Brothers & Sisters, we do get an inspiration from Shivaji in public life and that inspiration is to drink and digest poison..! May God give us the strength that we too can digest the poison in form of all types of bitterness, evils, deformities and generate feeling of showering elixir from within, our body, soul and mind may be filled with nectar, so that our every word, our language, our behavior and attitude can make the whole universe experience nectarean feeling. And our attachment with our traditions is such that if we think and decide to do anything we Indians still have the capability to do that. Our ancestors had the mantra of ‘Vayam Amritasya Putraha’…! Means, we are form of nectar, Amritam…we have such thinking and so Brothers & Sisters, those who have this ability, can do so much.
Brothers & Sisters, today once again I am fortunate to meet you on the auspicious festival of Shivaratri. I got chance to be among you many times. I have been to many programs of Bharatiya Samaj and Gujarati Samaj. This time friends ‘overseas friends of BJP’ in form of ‘umbrella organization’ took the initiative. Here I am not taking all the names because it looks bad if any name is left out. But everyone jointly has tried to remain connected with India and its activities continually. This is a very lucky sign. Friends, we may live in any country, do any work but it has its own importance that we have contact with our land, our culture, our traditions and language. Even today if you go to Mauritius or West-indies, those who had gone there as laborers 125-150 years ago, a couplet of the Ramayana has kept them connected with India. I am sure that all my brothers & sisters who are all living over the world and have great love for India become upset and get worried if they get any bad news from India. This love and adoration for India that you have may remain forever and increase continually, and your feeling of generosity may be useful for development and progress of India, and welfare of the poorest people of India, whenever the chance comes...!
Friends, these days I have been observing that every year I meet 12-15 such delegations who come from abroad with some or other project. Instead of going for some tour in vacation, they come to India and do some health camp, diagnosis camp or educational activity at different places. It is a very good beginning. Not only this, I have been observing these days that our America born children of Indian origin, who were born somewhere in foreign country and had never seen India, they come to India by the time they are 18-20 year old and spend their time in serving poor and villagers of India, every youth stays for nearly one year...! I respect this desire for doing something for our country. I heartily congratulate all such youths who come to do something in any part of India, and try to do something for humanity.
Brothers & Sisters, a discussion has been constantly going on in the whole world for last 2-3 decades. And that is, who will lead the world in 21st century…? Brothers & Sisters, 19th century belonged to Europe. We were slaves when there was industrial revolution in the world in spite of having all aptitudes….Our Dhaka Muslin was famous worldwide, we had already made a place in industrial sector, since we were a slave country, British used to rule us and we did not get benefit of that industrial revolution. I am sure that had we been independent at that time we would have definitely been fortunate enough to lead the world in that industrial revolution. Today what we see through the pages of history, clearly indicate that we had capability, we had achieved those things, we could do those things but owing to the country being dependent we lost that opportunity. Brothers & Sisters, in 20th century America maintained its supremacy in the whole world by its various systems. China also tried to raise its head. But in 20th century we were on the peak of freedom fight, whole country was busy with freedom fight under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, and due to that even 20th century was not in our destiny. But we emerged as independent India in the second half of 20th century. It was natural that a country of 100 crore people would attract the whole world. The world was looking towards us and by the last quarter of 20th century all the scholars of the world had agreed that 21st century is of Asia. There used to be debate whether India would lead or China…! Brothers & Sisters, those were the last days of 20th century when NDA Government lead by Atal Bihari Vajpayee was ruling, and there were speculations that India would do something...! And specifically when Vajpayeeji did nuclear test within few months of forming Government, a new confidence was developed in India lovers worldwide. After this event, the Indians spread across the world that were compelled to live with shame or were not able to live proudly, got a new vitality due to this courageous work of Vajpeyeeji. And since then journey that had begun, it appeared as if India would lead 21st century, a confidence had developed that we would go quite ahead. But it has been our bad luck that the period of first decade that is last 6-7 years of 21st century has been enduring those incidents which have let us down in the whole world. Just now H. R. Shah was talking about ‘Triple-C’, I was listening to that.
Brothers & Sisters, there are lots of things due to which an atmosphere of worry is created. On one side there is such condition, an atmosphere when there is darkness all round, and if a lamp is lit even in a remote area, it is very natural to get attracted by that. In such an atmosphere, Gujarat has done the job of lighting that lamp, and spreading a ray of hope. India had risen quite rapidly, and it is quite normal for anybody to worry when just in the beginning of 21st century its condition becomes such. During this talk of Gujarat’s journey of development started reaching across the country and the world. People of the world began looking towards Gujarat. In the first decade of 21st century, twice there was a great danger on whole economy. The country like America was also shaken up by recession. Economic danger was taking the whole world in its clutches. Even amid that atmosphere of despair Gujarat continued its efforts for economic growth. Even during that difficult phase we tried to adapt to those circumstances so that we would not stop. Friends, when recession came globally it came to my mind that the businessmen and entrepreneurs do not want to shut down their factories even during recession time. He wants to survive in the competitive world by making his product at economical prices. And so, if we make manufacturing process efficient and create platform to produce thing at less price, people will come to us in spite of global recession. We adapted this strategy and the result was because of good governance, efficiency, peaceful and cheap labor, manufacturing sector felt that if they want to sustain globally and produce goods at cheaper rates, then there is an opportunity in India and Gujarat is inviting. And we got its benefit.
Brothers & Sisters, today the entire world has to face this competition. India is such a country that has maximum number of youths. My Brothers & Sisters sitting in America, you will be pleased to know that today India is the youngest country in the world. Our 65% population is of less than 35 years of age. You can imagine a country full of youth, whose youths have young dreams, courage and capability...! We can change so many conditions if we concentrate on that strength. Brothers & Sisters, Gujarat has tried in the direction of focusing on youths. This year is the occasion to celebrate Swami Vivekanandaji’s 150th birth anniversary. I was fortunate to come to America and attend the centenary celebration program of Swami Vivekanandaji’s address in the ‘World Religion Conference’ in Chicago. I was fortunate that I could pay homage to Swamiji in that conference hall of Chicago. Brothers & Sisters, Swamiji had taken leave of this world at the young age of 37. But all over the world wherever Indian Diaspora lives, young generation takes inspiration from Swami Vivekanandaji. He associated spirituality with devotion for India. He had shown the path to reach the highest point of spirituality through devotion for India. And Brothers & Sisters, being a Gujarati I feel proud about one more thing. This information may be new for many people living in America. One youth of our Gujarat had also come to the same religious conference that Swami Vivekanandaji had attended. He was Virchand Gandhi, a resident of Bhavanagar district. He was a great scholar. And he had also given a speech in world religious conference. He was 27 years of age. And he stayed in America for many years and talked about Indian culture in every big city of America. He was quite close to Vivekanandaji. His education was done with Gandhiji. Still today there is a statue of Virchanda Gandhi in Chicago; Very few people may know this. And see the tragedy that Vivekananda as well as Virchanda Gandhi left us at the age of 37. And one book has also been published in our Gujarat, ‘Gandhi before Gandhi’. The way Virchanda Gandhi accompanied Vivekananda to America and hoisted the flag of Indian culture before Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi…! Brothers & Sisters, these are the pages from history and I do not know why they are kept in dark. We get an honour, an inspiration, pleasure, a new energy by exposing these things.
Brothers & Sisters, Swami Vivekananda always used to say that the youth of the country would change its future. Now the time has come. If India is the youngest country of the world, the time has come to unite our strength and capability with the help of youth power and move ahead for the welfare of the world. And friends, India’s ascendance is for well being of the world. Today is shivaratri and other meaning of Shiva is well being. We say ‘Tanme Manah Shiv Sankalpamastu’. There is a time for good resolutions. Resolution meant for welfare has a meaning. Determine for the welfare of mankind and along with our young generation, how can we take the country ahead with a new energy while celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanandaji. In Gujarat we have decided to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary as youth year. And not just for name sake or in general term. We have kept a special focus, and that is skill development. In Gujarat we have given lot of stress on skill development. If we instill skill and expertise in the arms of our youths through skill development and do value addition to do something, our youth can emerge as a very big strength and become legacy of India’s potency.
I do not want to use this stage to criticize any Government. But do want to put truth before you. These days Indian as well as Gujarat Government’s budget was declared. I believe that its comparative study with unbiased mind will give us proper direction. Brothers & Sisters, you will be surprised to know that such great India where 65% youths are of less than 35 years of age and whole world is talking about skill development. Before few days when the President Obama took charge of his new office and gave his first speech about his vision, I had read about and seen that on internet, in that he had stressed upon one point very seriously and that was the importance of skill development in America. We have been running skill development program for the last 2 years. I wanted to talk about Indian and Gujarat Government’s budget….Friends, while as the youngest country of 21st century there should be priority to skill development, in the budget of our Indian Government that has been leading such a vast country, only one thousand crore rupees has been allotted for skill development. Gujarat is a small state in a corner; we are just 5% as compared to India. But Brothers & Sisters see our commitment…! The budget of Delhi’s Indian Government for skill development is Rs. 1000 crore, while the budget for the same of a small State like Gujarat is 800 crore rupees. From this you will get an idea about our commitment, how do we want to involve youths in the journey of India’s development and we have focused on that.
Brothers & Sisters, people talk big about secularism. Being an Indian my definition of secularism is very simple. I believe friends, as an Indian citizen and lover of India, you will agree with my definition. My definition of secularism is very simple, India first…! Whatever we think or whatever we do, India must have the top most priority, there should not be anything less than welfare of India. And if this is maintained, the the whole secularism will automatically start flowing through our veins. We will not let India be harmed. Neither India’s reputation and glory nor its dreams or future of India’s youths…! India first, with this attitude if 125 crore citizens follow this mantra, within no time we can create an impact in the world. And say this because I have had a special regard for Swami Vivekanandaji, and it has inspired me since childhood. And we have seen that what Vivekanandaji had said during his time came true. During his last days he had said that I ask my countrymen to forget all their deities...! Friends, it is not a small thing. A monk says that forger your deities…! And remember only mother India and install her as your Goddess and for 50 years worship only mother India forgetting all your religions and deities. And see, exactly after 50 years of that India became independent...! This great person had a vision. He had said one more thing. Vivekanandaji, at the time of going to America had said that I can see before my eyes that mother India would be seated at the place of Jagadguru (global teacher), she would be glorious and my country would work as global guru…! Brothers & Sisters, 125 years have passed after he said this. When we are celebrating his 150th birth anniversary today, can we make a resolution as an Indian, we all who follow mantra of welfare of humanity, can make this resolution that we will do our level best to fulfill the dream that Swami Vivekanandaji had seen 125 years ago…! Even though 125 years have passed, but can we move ahead making that resolution on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary..?
Brothers & Sisters, we can change the world. Self confidence is needed, and we Gujaratis depend on that only, ‘we can and we will’. We have to follow this mantra. What our country does not have…? We have all that what the world has. This is time when we have to just make things moving at the right time, at the right place and in the right direction, and within no time change is brought about. Brothers & Sisters, I say with my 12-13 years of Gujarat experience that development mantra can give solutions to all our problems. Previously it was believed that election cannot be won on the basis of development. Friends, the people of Gujarat have shown this visionary. The voters of Gujarat have shown how visionary society is. And the voters of Gujarat decided to vote for development. Friends, today you have invited me through video conferencing to honor me for Gujarat victory. Brothers & Sisters, this is not Narendra Modi’s victory. This continuous election victory, to become Chief Minister for the fourth time, three times hat trick… this is not Narendra Modi’s charisma in itself. Brothers & Sisters, this victory is the victory of the citizens and voters of my Gujarat, who had put faith in development, and realized its importance and who experienced during 10-12 years that there may be delay somewhere, there may be some shortcomings, difficulties but in spite of that it is only development which will solve our problems, make us get rid of our difficulties, and realize our dreams sooner or later. This the voters of Gujarat have accepted. And Gujarat voters have given a message to build the confidence in the whole country that leave everything and stick to one mantra, development…! Gujarat has to develop as well as become modern. Gujarat has to think about culture and traditions as well. And we want to establish a model which can march ahead while taking care of all these.
Brothers & Sisters, Gujarat has never said that we do not have any problems, or we do not have any shortcomings. But we have developed such confidence that we would try our level best to overcome those deficiencies. And Brothers & Sisters, I am pleased about a thing, what is talked about Gujarat or Narendra Modi these days..? What was talked about Gujarat in the past…? Friends, In India corruption or any good or bad deeds of other Governments are talked about, but about Gujarat what is discussed…? That is in Gujarat there is 24 hour electric supply, though it is bit costly, some say it is cheaper, others say it is better…! About water, some say that previously there was no availability at least now it is available, still something is left. Some talk about malnutrition…! I mean to say is whenever Gujarat is being talked about it is with reference to development and by that our weaknesses are exposed too and I welcome this. Because no one can claim that one person might have removed all the evils of past so many years within one decade. But people have faith that this is the only way by which darkness is going to be cleared. And Friends, I say, ‘Eshah Panthah’…! This is the only path and that is, development…!
Friends, sometimes politicians are afraid. It is popularly said in our country that, ‘good economics is a bad politics’, this is believed. Elections are not won by development, they are won by manipulations...! Brothers & Sisters, the aim should not be just winning or losing the election. Aim should be that if people have given you task for 5 years, give priority and complete their work during those 5 years. Election is just a by-product. If you carry out good work continually without selfishness, people pardon even your mistakes. Voter is more generous. It is not that our Government may not have committed any mistakes or in any area someone may not have complained about us. But we have generated such faith that in spite of shortcomings and mistakes nobody ever doubted out commitment of doing better. No one has ever found us being reckless about our efforts for betterment. Brothers & Sisters, it is human nature, once he stays at one place for few years he becomes accustomed to that, it becomes a routine. Friends, for me it has been 12 years, even after a series of victories I have been offering my service to you with the same energy, concentration and dedication what I had in 2001. Brothers & Sisters, I am not doing this to get some medal or an honor. I am doing this because I can’t see plight of my Gujarat’s poor. I become restless if there is no water in any village. I can’t stand if any daughter is struggling due to lack of education. I consider 6 crore Gujaratis my family. Their happiness and sorrow are my happiness and sorrow. And what can be a greater dream of life that this life is used for their welfare and this opportunity is used to bring change in their lives…! And once I do something good at my office, and after me someone else would do good deed in his office, and if we have fast pace, very soon we will become capable of fulfilling Swami Vivekanandaji’s dreams, and at least part of my Gujarat I will make…! I firmly believe that my Gujarat will stand up with this strength. Brothers & Sisters, we have to march ahead with a new resolution and a new confidence.
My Brothers & Sisters spread across the world, now you may have attraction for Gujarat. Lots of people from out of Gujarat are also sitting there. You would have seen that Gujarat has made its place in one field. There was no sign of Gujarat in tourism map though we have ‘Dwadash Jyotirlinga, Dada Somnath, Dwarika-Shri Krishna’s city, Mahatma Gandhi’s Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, lions of Gir, white Run of Kutch, 1600 Km. long coast-line….what not…? It is present today and it was there in the past as well. But Brothers & Sisters, we never paid attention to that. Gujaratis are the best tourists but Gujarat was never a tourist destination…! And see, go to any corner of the world, you will definitely find Gujarati people...! Go to any pilgrim place or tourist place you will certainly find Gujarati there...! You can see a Gujarati eating ‘Thepla’ from his box in his five star hotel room.…! He brings ‘Sukhadi’ and ‘Thepla’ from home. Brothers & Sisters, we Gujarati are very good tourists but Gujarat was never a tourist destination. We have made efforts for last 3-4 years continually, and what is the result..? Today it is popularly said in every house, ‘Kuchh din to gujaro Gujarat me…!, ‘Kutch nahi dekha to kuchh nahi dekha..!, Everyone has started saying this. Friends, today due to growth of tourism in Gujarat there has been growth in hospitality industry. Gujarat’s own attraction is developing very fast. I invite you. And I always request our Indian Diaspora spread across the world that let us take a vow that we motivate at least 10-15 non-Indian families to visit India every year. Send them for India visit; explain to them and request them to visit India…! They may see Taj Mahal if they wish, or go anywhere they want… but send them. Friends, if only through our Indian friends across the world, one family sends ten families here our tourism can develop 100 times more than what it is now. Tell me, won’t it be a great service to the country, will it be..? It is not that only by investing dollars you can render your services for the country. And friends, once the tourist starts coming facilities will develop automatically. Because the business understands requirements of his customers and he develops his culture and facilities gradually. And within no time India can emerge as a supreme tourist destination for the world. It has capacity to provide livelihood to the poorest. I request you, if our people of Hotel & Motel Association wish, they can show panoramic video on India daily in their rooms to their each client...! People will come, tourism will rise and it is rising these days. A large number of people are coming to India from overseas as tourists, also to Gujarat. Friends, this field has potential to provide livelihood to the poorest, our effort is to encourage this. Gujarat’s tourism growth has become many times more than that of India’s average tourism growth, but we have to increase that further. I invite you to contribute to this.
Once again I congratulate Brothers & Sisters sitting in Chicago, New Jersey, people in different parts of America and Canada watching this live program on TV, and in India too when I am speaking before you, 20 leading Indian TV channels are telecasting this program live. Whole India is also watching this program and in this perspective, this effort of ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’ is praiseworthy. Let people of all the societies unite together; try to unite maximum people spread across the world rising above their circles. Let us create an atmosphere of ‘Indian unity’ and move ahead with the dream ‘United India, Superior India’…! Let all Indians spread across the world move forward with the mantra ‘United India, Superior India’, and pay real homage to Swami Vivekanandaji, I have this expectation. You honoured me, this is honour of the people of Gujarat, this victory is of the people of Gujarat, this victory is the result of efforts for development and development mantra, and because of you we will get more strength and motivation to do this work. Once again Friends, I am extremely grateful to you all, I am thankful to ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’, all the organizers and all the people of society who have contributed. I invite you here, Gujarat is yours, come whenever you feel like, try your luck and enjoy Gujarat. See its tourism, see our lions, and tell the world about lions of Gujarat… with this expectation, thank you much..!
Bharat Mata ki Jai..!