Updated: August 21, 2021 7:44:28 am
Citing the number of times the Somnath temple was raided, and the fact that it had emerged from each such event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that “those destructive forces, and the ideology that establishes an empire on the foundation of terror”, could not last long.
Such forces and empires “can become dominant for some time in a given era, but can never become permanent. They cannot keep humanity suppressed for long,” Modi said while laying virtually the foundation stone of the Parvati temple in Somnath, and inaugurating several projects on the premises and around the Somnath temple complex.
“This”, he said, “was as true when some tyrannical forces were razing Somnath (temple) as it is today, when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies”. India should seek “to learn from history to correct the present and create a new future”, Modi said.
“Therefore, when I talk of ‘Bharat jodo andolan’ its essence is not limited to linking (India) geographically or ideologically, but it is an oath to link our past to the building of the future of India,” he said.
हमारी सोच होनी चाहिए- इतिहास से सीखकर वर्तमान को सुधारने की, एक नया भविष्य बनाने की।
इसीलिए, जब मैं ‘भारत जोड़ो आंदोलन’ की बात करता हूं तो उसका भाव केवल भौगोलिक या वैचारिक जुड़ाव तक सीमित नहीं है।
यह भविष्य के भारत के निर्माण के लिए हमें अपने अतीत से जोड़ने का भी संकल्प है। pic.twitter.com/v9LiLDjVUf
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 20, 2021
The Prime Minister inaugurated the Samudra Darshan Path (seaside promenade), the Somnath Exhibition Gallery (which exhibits ruins of ancient Somnath, the temple built by queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1783), and the redeveloped precinct of the ancient temple in the Somnath complex. The new Parvati temple will be built at a cost of Rs 30 crore.
Modi described Somnath as a “divine pillar of modern India”, and said that the journey of the reconstruction of the temple after Independence and its subsequent “grand development” was not merely the result of efforts of a few years or decades, but rather the culmination of firm resolve and ideological consistency spanning centuries.
Lord Shiva symbolises the seeds of rejuvenation in ruins and creation in destruction, and gives people the courage to fight the forces of time, Modi said. Therefore, the Somnath temple is a source of confidence for Indians.
“When anyone in the world looks at this grand structure today, he doesn’t merely see a temple. He sees an existence which, for hundreds, thousands of years, has been inspiring, expounding human values; a place which was called by our seers the place of light, meaning knowledge, thousands of years ago; and a place that even today is proclaiming to the world that truth can’t be defeated by untruth, that faith can’t be trampled over by terror.”
Modi is the chairman of the Shree Somnath Trust (SKT), the religious body that manages and maintains the famous temple near Veraval town in the Gir Somnath district of Gujarat. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, veteran BJP leader L K Advani, and retired Gujarat chief secretary P K Laheri are among the trustees of the SKT.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was present in Somnath for the ceremony, while Shah and Advani joined the event virtually.
India, Modi said, has built its pride on the ruins of ancient times, and described the Ram Temple in Ayodhya as a “pillar of the country’s glory”.
“With a commitment to find amicable solutions to problems, the country is moving forward. In the form of Ram temple, today, one more illuminated pillar of the country’s glory is being erected. Our effort should be to make the present better by learning from history and build a new future.”
The mission of uniting the country also involves “the resolve to tether ourselves to our past while building a future India”, Modi said. “Based on this confidence, we have built modern pride on the ruins of the past and have given shapes to inspirations drawn from the past,” he said.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel associated the Somnath temple with the independent will of independent India, and he bowed his head to Patel for showing the will to revive the pride of ancient India by resolving to reconstruct the Somnath temple, the Prime Minister said.
Somnath and the other 11 jyotirlingas spread across the country were uniting it, he said. “Similarly, the system of our Char Dham, the concept of our Shaktipeethas, location of our various places of worship in various corners (of the country) — these contours of our faith are in fact the expression of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat.
“For centuries, the world has been wondering that despite there being so much diversity, how India remains one, how it is united. But you come to know the strength of the country when you see in Somnath pilgrims from the east who have walked thousands of kilometres from the east to the west, or (in the) thousands of devotees from South India rubbing the soil of Kashi on their heads,” Modi said, adding that while the languages, clothing and food habits of Indians may differ, their spirituality has bound them together for centuries.
The new facilities at the Somnath complex will draw more visitors, and would help the local economy, the Prime Minister said. He said the Union Tourism Ministry had drawn up plans to develop 15 tourist circuits, and that tourism could revive local economies impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“There are possibilities of national and international spiritual tourism. To give these possibilities a shape, the country is today creating modern infrastructure, is reviving ancient pride. We have the example of the Ramayan circuit. Thanks to the Ramayan circuit, today, crores of devotees of Lord Ram from across the country and the world are learning about new places associated with the life of Lord Ram. Today, we are getting the opportunity to go to those places and understand how Lord Ram is the Ram of all of India,” the PM said.
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