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Ahmedabad

Date : 25th December, 2011

Today is Atalji’s birthday. For last many consecutive years, we organize this ‘Kankaria Carnival’ from 25th December to 31st December. Through this one programme, we are able to express our love for this city and can see the changes that are taking place in the city life. Whenever there were discussions on the cities of our country, they spinning around Delhi, Kolkata, Madras, Bangalore, Mumbai… Ahmedabad was not in the list of first ten. Today Ahmedabad has secured number one position in the whole country. I congratulate the citizens of this city, I congratulate the officers of the Corporation for enhancing the glory, fame and prestige of the same day after day.

 This ‘Kankaria Carnival’… Poor children of this city, children living in slums, studying in Municipal Primary Schools… they have the same capability as we have. The God has given them the same strength as what we have. But, they never got a chance to show their talent. Whether it’s ‘Patangotsav’ or ‘Kankaria Carnival’, we have always given opportunities to these children of poor families. When they show their creativity, express their ability in front of the enlightened citizens of this city, the exposure that they get, the confidence level which is built up from it at that time, adds up in the strength of this city and for that endless efforts are made by this city.

 Today this city has received many new rewards, they have been initiated. Whether it’s about swimming pool for children or very old Balwantrai Hall or a Butterfly Park that kids would like very much… Today another new thing is added to Ahmedabad city. The murals on the rock depicting the map of this city, its social-cultural journey of progress, pages of its development, memories of the prominent people of this city… in the same way, Gujarat, its development journey, great people who contributed in the economical, social, educational, cultural and in all other fields, important incidences of the State… all of these are being sculptured on the inner side of the boundary wall of Kankaria lake. Friends, No one would have ever imagined that the wall of Kankaria lake could be used in such a wonderful way. Today only a small portion has been formed, but once the murals get completed around entire Kankaria, at that time its length would be about 30,000 feet. At present, the longest sand stone mural, which is considered to be the largest in the world, is of 9000 feet. This will be of 30,000 feet. This will be the biggest world record credited to Ahmedabad. Those who want to know the history, who want to understand the ups and downs of Gujarat, want to go through the memorable incidences of Gujarat, for them these sculpted open encyclopedia, will become a means of knowledge. It is my request to the citizens of this city, to those who are historians, connected with literature, associated with arts and culture, those who are analysts, critics… they spare some time in next two three months and view our novel idea from the analytical view point and point out flaws in the mural or suggest whether it needs anything to be added… and I request such experts to come and spare their valuable couple of hours for the future of this city, for the future of children. I am giving an open invitation to all. View it minutely, give us suggestions, so that we can include it in the remaining work in the area of 30,000 feet. To make it more presentable, I am interested in public participation. So as to descend your knowledge and experience on the rocks, this city, this state is asking for your help. We are doing one of the best kinds of work. In future, a boat ride along with audio commentary would provide a crash course on heritage of the city and the state by studying the huge murals on the wall. The pedestrians can also study the tablets kept over there and those who wish to watch along with audio commentary, may prevail the benefit of it also. Those who visit Kankaria now, can experience such a nice use of it.

Friends, after the renovation of Kankaria, nearly 90 or more delegations from the world, from foreign countries, visited here and have studied the renovated Kankaria. Intellectual citizens, well-to-do citizens of this city, who seldom gave a passing glance towards Kankaria. Now they are seen visiting Kankaria in Rolls-Royce Cars along with their guests. A reputation of Kankaria has been established. Even the richest and the wealthiest people feel inferior if they have not seen Kankaria, now they feel proud to visit Kankaria.

The citizens of this city have preserved this Kankaria. Otherwise, mismanagement, littering, dirtiness, damaging… this is very common in our country, but hats-off to the citizens of Ahmedabad, to all the citizens of the State and to all the national and international tourists, who have visited Kankaria. I want to congratulate as crores of people visited here but not even a minor problem is ever created, not even a single leaf of any tree is plucked, this is a great deed, Friends..! We have preserved it and it is such a deed that we can introduce our this strength to the world. Cleanliness is maintained, waste has not been thrown anywhere and if any visitor shows even a small waste, he himself gets up and throws it in the dustbin. Kankaria has given a new culture to this city. I am confident that Kankaria will become an inspiration to establish such high standards in the whole city.

Friends, our ‘Kids City’… Many people are coming here to study it. To develop the inner strength among the kids, to awake their dreams, rather to sow the dreams, there may not be any other better source than this. Whenever a tiny tot goes to ‘Kids City’ and in the evening when he comes out, he is overwhelmed and a new dream is planted into his mind, a wish to become someone arises in his mind. Since he himself becomes a part of the experiment, he carries confidence that yes, today I can do this, when I grow up, I can become this also. A place of seeding such dreams… I want all the kids to get an opportunity to plant a dream here at ‘Kids City’. It is my invitation to all kids and their parents of Gujarat. This is for you, for our kids. To make tomorrow of Gujarat prosperous, to playfully imbibe this cultural heritage, as if Kankaria has become a new capital, a new source of inspiration, and we all must take the advantage of the same.

Ladies & Gentlemen, about 1.50 crore people visit here and this does not include those 25-30 lakhs people visit during ‘Kankaria Carnival’, because we don’t have any ticket system during that time. But those people who purchased regular tickets and enterd Kankaria from the gate, that figure comes out to be 1.50 crores. You just think, how great need it was for the poor and middle class people of this State, we have fulfilled this need. Because if a common man wants to go for outing with his family, where shall he go? Where would he find an open space? And today he has found it. In the past, ‘Bal Vatika’ and Zoo were just in the neglected condition. Because of the renovation of this Kankaria, they also have become a new centre of attraction for the people. New suggestions and schemes are coming forward for their development and extension as well.

 Ladies & Gentlemen, let us take the full fledged advantage of this. Let us preserve this city, the way this Kankaria is preserved. As Kankaria has come up with a new identity of city‘s fame, glory and prestige, I am inaugurating today’s Carnival. On Atalji’s birthday, the State is ever ready to accept the message of his ‘Good Governance’ and is determined and trying to move forward in that direction and trying for the same.

Best wishes to all of you..!!

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Namaskar!

Wishing you all a very Happy 7th International Yoga Day!

Today, when the whole world is battling the corona pandemic, Yogahas remained a ray of hope. Even though no major public events have been organized in countries around the world and in India for almost two years, the enthusiasm for Yoga Day has not diminished a bit. Despite Corona, the theme of this year's Yoga Day "Yoga for Wellness" has intensified the enthusiasm for Yoga among crores of people. I pray that every country, society and individual stays healthy, and let's all come together to become each other's strength.

Friends,

Our sages had termed Yogaas "समत्वम् योग उच्यते"i.e., remaining steadfast in every situation. They had made restraint a parameter of Yoga, being resolute in happiness and sorrow. Today Yoga has proved itin this global tragedy. In these one and a half years, so many countries, including India, have faced a huge crisis.

Friends,

Yoga Day is not the age-old cultural festival for most of the countries of the world. People could easily forget and ignore it in this difficult time. But on the contrary, the enthusiasm and love for Yoga has increased among the people. In the last one and a half years, there have been lakhs of new Yoga seekers in every part of the world. Everyone is trying to implement the first synonym of Yoga, which is said to be restraint and discipline, in their life.

Friends,

When the invisible virus of Corona hit the world, no country was prepared for it, from the point of capabilities, resources, or mental toughness. We have seen that Yoga became a great medium of self-confidence in the face of adversity. Yoga helped people to muster confidence to fight this disease.

When I talk to frontline warriors and doctors, they tell me that they also made Yoga their protective shield in the fight against Corona. Doctors also made themselves strong with Yoga, and also used it to help their patients recover quickly. Today, one finds so many stories from hospitals where doctors and nurses are teaching Yoga to patients, and patients sharing their experiences. The experts of the world are also stressing the importance of breathing exercises like ‘Pranayama’ and ‘Anulom-Vilom’ for strengthening our respiratory system.

Friends,

The great Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar has said: "नोइ नाडी, नोइ मुदल नाडी, हदु तनिक्कुम, वाय नाडी वायपच्चयल" i.e., if there is a disease, diagnose it, go to its root, find out what is the cause of the disease, and then ensure its treatment. Yoga shows this way. Today medical science also lays equal emphasis on healing and Yoga is beneficial in the healing process. I am satisfied that today experts from all over the world are conducting various types of scientific research on this aspect of Yoga.

Many studies are being done on the benefits of Yoga to our body, on the positive effects it has on our immunity. Nowadays we see that in many schools, children are being taught Yoga-Pranayama for 10-15 minutes before the start of the online classes. It is also preparing the children physically to fight against Corona.

Friends,

The sages of India have taught us-

व्यायामात् लभते स्वास्थ्यम्,

दीर्घ आयुष्यम् बलम् सुखम्।

आरोग्यम् परमम् भाग्यम्,

स्वास्थ्यम् सर्वार्थ साधनम् ॥

That is, by doing Yoga, we get good health, strengthand a long happy life. For us health is the greatest fortune, and good health is the means of all success. Whenever the sages of India have spoken about health, it is not only physical health. That is whythere is so much emphasis on mental health in Yoga along with physical health. When we do ‘Pranayama’, meditate andperform other yogic activities, we experience our inner-consciousness. Through Yoga, we experience our inner strength which is so strong that no problem of the world, no negativity can shatter us. Yoga shows us the path from stress to strength and from negativity to creativity. Yoga takes us from depression to ecstasy and from ecstasy to blessing.

Friends,

Yoga tells us that so many problems might be out there, but we have infinite solutions within ourselves. We are the biggest source of energy in our universe. We do not realise this energy because of the many divisions that exist. At times, the lives of people exist in silos. These divisions reflect in the overall personality as well. The shift from silos to union is Yoga. A proven way to experience a realisation of oneness is Yoga. I am reminded of the words of the great Gurudev Tagore, who said and I quote:"the meaning of our self is not to be found in its separateness from God and others, but in the ceaseless realization of Yoga, of union."

The mantra of वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्’, which India has followed since ages, is now finding global acceptance. We all are praying for each other's wellbeing, if there are threats to humanity,Yoga often gives us a way of holistic health. Yoga also gives us a happier way of life. I am sure Yoga will continue playing its preventive, as well as positive role in healthcare of masses.

Friends,

When India proposed the International Day of Yoga in the United Nations, the spirit behind it was to make this Yoga science accessible to the entire world. Today, India has taken another important step in this direction along with the United Nations and WHO.

Now the world is going to get the power of the m-Yoga app. In this app, many videos of Yoga training will be available in different languages of the world based on the common Yogaprotocol. It is also a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science. I am sure the m-Yoga app will play a big role in expanding Yoga across the globe and making the efforts of One World, One Health a success.

Friends,

It is said in the Gita:

तं विद्याद् दुःख संयोग-

वियोगं योग संज्ञितम्।

That is, Yoga is liberation from suffering. We have to carry forward this journey of humanity, which is Yoga, by taking everyone along. No matter what the place, situation, age, Yoga definitely has some solutionfor everyone. Today the number of people who are curious about Yoga is increasing very much in the world. The number of Yoga establishments in the country and abroad is also increasing. In such a situation, it is necessary that the basic philosophy of Yoga should reach every person while keeping intact its foundation and core.And this work should be done by the people associated with Yoga, the masters of Yoga andYoga preachers together. We ourselves have to take the pledge of Yoga, and we have to connect our loved ones also with this resolution. This mantra of 'Yoga to Cooperation' will show us the way to a new future and will empower humanity.

I wish you and the entire human race the very best on International Yoga Day.

Many thanks!