Cardinal George Alencherry Archbishop Andrews Thazhath Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara Archbishop Anil Couto Shri Arun Jaitley, Dr. Najma Heptulla, Shri P.J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha Monseigneur Sebastian Vadakumpadan

PM Modi at National Celebration of Elevation to Sainthood of Elias Chavara n Mother Euphrasia (1)

I am delighted to participate in this function to celebrate the elevation to sainthood of two great saints of Kerala - Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Saint Euphresia. The whole country is proud of their recognition. Their elevation was preceded by that of Saint Alphonsa, who also hailed from Kerala.

The life and deeds of Saint Chavara and Saint Euphresia are an inspiration not only to the Christian community, but to humanity as a whole. They are shining examples of dedication to God through selfless service for the betterment of mankind.

Saint Chavara was a man of prayer and also a social reformer. In an era when access to education was limited, he stressed that every church should have a school. He thus opened the doors of education to people from all sections of society.

Few outside Kerala know that he started a Sanskrit school, and also a printing press. His contribution towards women’s empowerment was also noteworthy.

Saint Euphrasia was a mystic who dedicated her life to prayer and devotion to God.

Both these saints dedicated their life to God through service of fellow beings. The ancient Indian saying: “आत्मानो मोक्षार्थम् जगत हितायाचा” – welfare of the world is the way to moksha (salvation) – explains their life.

Friends,

Spiritualism is rooted in India`s heritage. Indian saints and Greek sages had intellectual and spiritual exchanges thousands of years back. India’s openness to new ideas is manifest in the Rig Veda: आनो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः Let noble thoughts come to us from all sides. This philosophy has guided our intellectual discourse since time immemorial. Mother India gave birth to many religious and spiritual streams. Some of them have even travelled beyond Indian borders.

The tradition of welcoming, respecting and honouring all faiths is as old as India itself. As Swami Vivekananda said: We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.

What Swami Vivekananda had said a century ago holds good and will, for ever, not only for this nation but also for this government or for that matter any government in India, run by any political party. This principle of equal respect and treatment for all faiths has been a part of India`s ethos for thousands of years. And that is how it became integral to the Constitution of India. Our Constitution did not evolve in a vacuum. It has roots in the ancient cultural traditions of India.

Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore had inspired us to dream of a land where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. It is that heaven of freedom we are duty bound to create and preserve. We believe that there is truth in every religion. एकम सत विप्र बहुधा वदन्ति

Friends,

Let me now come to the issue which is central and critical for peace and harmony in the contemporary world. The world is increasingly witnessing division and hostility on religious lines. This has become a matter of global concern. In this context the ancient Indian plea of mutual respect for all faiths is now beginning to manifest in global discourse.

This long felt need and urge for mutually respectful relations led to the interfaith conference on `Faith in Human Rights` at the Hague on tenth December, 2008. This was coincidentally also the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.

Religious leaders representing every major world religion - Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Baha`i Faith, Buddhism, Islam, Taoism and indigenous religions met, discussed and pledged to uphold the Universal Declaration and of freedom of religion or belief.

In their historic declaration, this is how they defined what constitutes freedom of faith and how it is to be safeguarded.

We consider the freedom to have, to retain, and to adopt, a religion or belief, is a personal choice of a citizen.

The world is at cross roads which, if not crossed properly, can throw us back to the dark days of bigotry, fanaticism and bloodshed. This harmonious convergence among religions could not be achieved even when the world entered the third millennium. And now it has been. This shows that the rest of the world too is evolving along the lines of ancient India.

Speaking for India, and for my government, I declare that my government stands by every word of the above declaration. My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has the undeniable right to retain or adopt the religion of his or her choice without coercion or undue influence. My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly. Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions.

India is the land of Buddha and Gandhi. Equal respect for all religions must be in the DNA of every Indian. We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard.

With this commitment, I appeal to all religious groups to act with restraint, mutual respect, and tolerance in the true spirit of this ancient nation which is manifest in our Constitution and is in line with the Hague Declaration.

Friends,

I have a vision of a Modern India. I have embarked on a huge mission to convert that vision into reality. My mantra is Development - सबका साथ, सबका विकास.

In simple terms it means food on every table, every child in school, a job for everybody and a house with toilet and electricity for every family. This will make India proud. We can achieve this through unity. Unity strengthens us. Division weakens us. I sincerely request all Indians, and all of you present here to support me in this huge task.

Let the elevation to sainthood of Saint Chavara and Saint Euphrasia, and their noble deeds inspire us:

-to maximize our inner strength -to use that strength for transforming society through selfless service -to fulfil our collective vision of a developed and modern India.

THANK YOU.

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Till 2029 the only priority should be the country, its poor, farmers, women and the youth: PM Modi
July 22, 2024
“Placing of the Budget by a third term government is being seen as a glorious event by the nation”
“This Budget will set the direction of the next five years of the current government and will lay a strong foundation for the dream of Viksit Bharat by 2047”
“Rise up above party politics and commit to the nation by making use of the dignified platform of the Parliament”
“Till 2029 the only priority should be the country, its poor, farmers, women and the youth”
“Muzzling of the elected government and its Prime Minister has no place in democratic traditions”
“First time members should be allowed to come forward and present their views”
“This House is not meant for political parties, this House is meant for the country. It is not meant to serve the Parliamentarians but 140 crore citizens of India”

Today is the first Monday of the month of Sawan, an auspicious day on which an important session is beginning. I extend my best wishes to all my countrymen on this occasion.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament also starts today. The entire nation is watching closely, hoping that this session will be positive, constructive, and lay a strong foundation for realizing the dreams of the people.

Friends,

I see this as a significant milestone in the glorious journey of Indian democracy. It is a matter of great pride for me and all my colleagues that, after nearly 60 years, a government has returned for a third term and has the privilege of presenting the first budget of this term. The country views this as a dignified event in the glorious journey of Indian democracy. This is the budget session, and we are moving forward with the goal of gradually implementing the promises I have made to the nation. This budget is crucial for 'Amritkaal'. We have a five-year mandate, and today’s budget will set the direction for our work over these five years, laying a strong foundation for achieving our vision of a developed Bharat by 2047, when we will celebrate 100 years of independence. It is a matter of immense pride for every citizen that Bharat is the fastest-growing major economy, maintaining a consistent growth rate of 8 percent over the past three years. Today, Bharat's positive outlook, investment climate, and performance are at their peak, marking an important milestone in our development journey.

Friends,

I request all the Members of Parliament, regardless of their party affiliation, to consider that since January, we have fought our battles with all our strength and communicated our messages to the public. Some tried to guide, while others tried to mislead. However, that period is over, and the people have given their verdict. Now, it is the duty of all elected MPs and the special responsibility of all political parties to shift our focus from party battles to fighting for the country over the next five years. We must act with greater integrity and dedication. I urge all political parties to rise above partisan politics and use the dignified platform of Parliament to serve the country for the next 4 - 4.5 years.

After January 2029, when it is an election year, you can engage in political games for those six months. But until then, we should focus all our efforts on achieving the dream of 2047 by creating a mass movement for the empowerment of the poor, farmers, youth, and women of the country. It saddens me to say that since 2014, some MPs served for

five years, some for ten, but many did not have the opportunity to speak about their constituencies or enrich Parliament with their views. Negative politics from some parties have misused important parliamentary time to cover up their political failures. I urge all parties to give an opportunity to the first-time MPs in the House, allowing them to express their views during discussions. We should allow as many voices as possible to be heard. In the first session of Parliament after the formation of the new government, there was an undemocratic attempt to suppress the voice of the government, which was elected by the majority of 140 crore citizens. In a democracy, there should be no place for silencing the Prime Minister for 2.5 hours, stifling his voice. It is concerning that there is no remorse or regret for such actions.

Today, I want to emphasize that the citizens have sent us here to serve the country, not our parties. This House exists for the nation, not for partisan interests. This House represents the 140 crore people of our country, not just the MPs. I believe that all our honourable MPs will contribute to the discussions with thorough preparation. Diverse opinions are valuable; it is negativity that is detrimental. The country does not need negative thinking but should advance with an ideology of progress and development, one that will elevate our nation to new heights. I sincerely hope we will use this temple of democracy constructively to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the common people of Bharat.

Thank you very much, friends.