Celebrating Navratri - May Maa Jagadamba Give Shakti To All!

Published By : Admin | October 16, 2012 | 06:42 IST

Dear Friends,

My warmest greetings to everyone as the auspicious Navratri begin.  For the next 9 days, people across India, especially Gujarat, shall immerse themselves in celebrations that mark one of our most important festivals and also the beginning the festive season.

Navratri is central to the cultural identity of Gujaratis. Garba and Raas form a centuries old tradition going back to the time of Lord Krishna -- it is the cultural heritage of every Gujarati. In the coming days if you go to any part of Gujarat you will see people, be it young or old, dancing to the tunes of wonderful Gujarati folk music as part of the Navratri celebrations.

During Navratri we bow our heads and seek the blessings of Jagat Janani Maa. While civilisations around the world have conceptualised the Almighty in the male form, ours is the only civilisation that celebrates and venerates Shakti in the female form -- be it Jagat Janani Maa Jagadamba, Maa Lakshmi, Maa Saraswati among the many other Goddesses.

After I assumed office 11 years ago, I have often wondered why this unique festival is restricted to Gujarat. Why not enable its vibrancy to go beyond Gujarat and draw the entire world to come to this State? With these thoughts in mind, we envisioned the annual Vibrant Gujarat Navratri Festival. It is heartening to see so many tourists, both from India and abroad, visiting Gujarat during these nine days. In fact, the popularity of our Garbas has transcended Gujarat’s shores -- there are at least 500 cities around the world where this festival is celebrated with great pomp and show!

Festivals like Navratri are now giving a strong impetus to tourism and particularly in giving the poorest of the poor additional sources of livelihood. With more tourists coming to Gujarat being drawn to our cultural heritage, our handicraft artisans are receiving a strong boost. Those who are involved with the hospitality sector, including transport operators, have begun earning a higher income and this has lit the lamp of prosperity in their homes.

Many of you will be fasting through these 9 days. I recall that during Teacher’s Day celebrations two years ago, a little girl had asked me about my fasting during Navratri. Yes, I have been fasting during Navratri for over 35 years now. This fast is never to seek anything but an act of self-purification. Fasts such as this have been a source of strength, power and inspiration for me over the last many years.

I am attaching a small Garba that I penned and a poem in which I offer my tribute to Maa Jagadamba. I hope you will enjoy them.

Once again, my greetings on Navratri.

 

Narendra Modi

 

 

( Send Navratri Greetings to your near and dear ones )

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Ramoji Rao Garu - a multifaceted persona
June 09, 2024

The last several days have been very busy for those in the world of politics and media…the Lok Sabha elections have just concluded and now we are in the midst of preparations of Government formation for the third consecutive term. At such a time, I received the painful news of the passing away of Ramoji Rao Garu. This loss feels extremely personal, considering the close nature of our interactions.

When I think of Ramoji Rao Garu, I recall a multifaceted luminary whose brilliance had no parallel. He hailed from an agrarian family and went on to make a mark in diverse worlds- cinema, entertainment, media, agriculture, education and governance. But what remained common during his entire life journey was his humility and connect with the grassroots. These traits endeared him to a broad spectrum of people.

Ramoji Rao Garu revolutionised the media space. He set new standards for integrity, innovation and excellence. He moved with the times and he moved ahead of the times too. At a time when newspapers were the most prevalent source of news he started Eenadu. In the 1990s, when India embraced the world of TV, he got off the mark with ETV. By venturing into channels in non-Telugu languages as well, he showed remarkable commitment to boosting the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.

Beyond his professional achievements, Ramoji Rao Garu was passionate about India's development. His efforts extended beyond the newsroom, impacting educational, business and social causes. He was a firm believer in democratic principles and this fighting spirit was best seen when the Congress Party harassed the great NTR and unceremoniously dismissed his Government in the 1980s. At that time the Congress was in power in the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh, but he was not someone to be scared…he resisted these undemocratic attempts tooth and nail.

I am fortunate to have had several opportunities to interact with him and benefit from his wisdom. I deeply valued his views on diverse issues. Since my days as Chief Minister, I have received valuable insights and feedback from him. He was always keen to know about good governance efforts especially in agriculture and education in Gujarat. Sometime in 2010, he invited me to Ramoji Film City. During that interaction, he was curious to know more about Gujarat’s efforts to establish a Children’s University, as he felt that such a concept was unheard of previously. His encouragement and support were always unwavering. He would always make it a point to ask about my wellbeing. In 2012, when I had the opportunity to become the Chief Minister for the 4th time, he sent me a very touching letter, expressing joy.

When we began the Swachh Bharat Mission, he was one of the strongest votaries of this effort, supporting it personally and through his media network. It is stalwarts like Ramoji Rao Garu who ensured that we are able to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream in record time and also ensure dignity to crores of fellow Indians.

I consider it a matter of great pride that it was our Government which had the honour of conferring the Padma Vibhushan upon him. His courage, resilience and dedication will continue to inspire generations. From his life, the younger generation can learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities, transform challenges into triumphs, and convert setbacks into stepping stones for success.

Since the last few days, Ramoji Rao Garu was ailing and even in the midst of the election related activities, I used to enquire about his health. I am sure he would have been very happy to see our Governments take oath and hit the ground running, be it at the Centre, or in Andhra Pradesh under the leadership of my friend, Chandrababu Naidu Garu. We will keep working to fulfil his vision for our nation and society. As we mourn Ramoji Rao Garu’s passing, my heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and countless admirers. Ramoji Rao Garu will forever remain a beacon of inspiration.

This is a translation of the original piece published in Eenadu: