November 8, 2021 10:22:50 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the annual Pandharpur ‘wari’ or pilgrimage in Maharashtra is one of the world’s oldest yatras and a people’s movement which symbolises India’s eternal knowledge, social harmony, equal opportunity and women’s power.
Likening the Pandharpur pilgrimage to his government’s ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and sabka vishwas’ (everyone’s support, everyone’s development, everyone’s trust) mantra, Modi said in the wari there is no discrimination.
Women and men walk side by side during the pilgrimage to the temple town Pandharpur in Solapur district, reflecting gender equality, he said after laying the foundation stone for four-laning of five sections of Shri Sant Dnyaneshawar Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965) and three sections of Shri Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965G) via video conferencing.
According to the official release issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg from Diveghat to Mohol (221 km) and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg from Patas to Tondale–Bondale (130 km) will be built at estimated costs of more than Rs 6,690 crore and Rs 4,400 crore respectively.
Dedicated walkways for ‘palkhi’ (palanquin) will be constructed on either side of these national highways, providing hassle-free and safe passage to devotees.
As a first blessing, Modi urged people to plant trees along the dedicated walkways for warkaris along Sant Dyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram ‘palkhi margs’ that can give shade to pilgrims while undertaking the journey to Pandharpur.
As a second blessing, he asked people to make arrangement for drinking water which can quench thirst of pilgrims.
“The third blessing is for Pandharpur. In future, I want to see Pandharpur as the cleanest pilgrim centre in India. If anyone sees which is the cleanest pilgrim centre in there country, then Pandharpur should be the first in the list,” Modi said.
“When locals take charge of cleanliness, only then can we fulfil this dream. This has to be everyone’s effort,” he added.
The Prime Minister pointed to the large scale participation of women in the movement. “This is a reflection of the power of women in the country. ‘Pandhari ki wari’ symbolizes equality of opportunity. Warkari movement considers discrimination inauspiscious and this is it great motto,” the release read.
The annual pilgrimage, Modi said, is one of the oldest and is seen as a people’s movement. “Even today, this yatra is one of the world’s oldest mass yatras and is seen as a people’s movement, which teaches us that there may be different paths, different methods and ideas but we have the same goal. In the end, all sects are ‘Bhagwat Panth. It is a symbol of India’s eternal knowledge that does not bind our faith but liberates,” the official statement said.
“The Prime Minister said the court of Bhagavan Vitthal is equally open to everyone. And when I say Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas-Sabka Vishwas, the same sentiment is behind it. This spirit inspires us for the development of the country, takes everyone along, inspires us for the development of all,” the release read.
The Prime Minister said most warkaris come from the farmers’ community and said these sons of the soil, ‘dharti putras’, have kept Indian tradition and culture alive. “A true ‘annadata’ unites the society and lives for the society. You are the cause as well as a reflection of society’s progress,” Modi said.
He also dedicated to the nation more than 223 km of completed and upgraded road projects, constructed with an estimated cost of over Rs 1,180 crore at different National Highways for boosting connectivity to Pandharpur. These projects include Mhaswad – Piliv – Pandharpur (NH 548E), Kurduwadi – Pandharpur (NH 965C), Pandharpur – Sangola (NH 965C), Tembhurni-Pandharpur section of NH 561A and Pandharpur – Mangalwedha – Umadi section of NH 561A.
With PTI Inputs
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