Updated: November 12, 2020 10:33:05 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday unveiled a life-sized statue of Swami Vivekananda at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus in New Delhi.
Addressing the gathering virtually, the prime minister said that he hopes that the statue in the campus will inspire everyone and instill courage and compassion that Swami Vivekananda wanted to see in everyone.
“I hope this statue teaches us intense love for our country. I hope it inspires our country to move ahead with a vision of youth-led-development,” Prime Minister Modi said.
The event was also attended by Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar.
PM Modi also asserted that people may have ideological differences but ideology should be seen supporting and not opposing the nation in matters of national interest.
Giving priority to one’s ideology over national interest has harmed the democratic system of the country a lot, he told students.
Remembering Vivekananda, the prime minister said. “When we were oppressed during colonialism, Swami Vivekananda went to Michigan University in the earlier part of the last century and had said that even though this century is yours, next century will belong to India.”
“It is our responsibility to realise his vision,” he added.
Talking about India’s new National Education Policy (NEP), Modi said that the policy is on lines of what Swami Vivekanda wanted.
“Swami Vivekanda wanted that education in the country should be such that it provides self-confidence to individuals and makes them ‘atmanirbhar’ in every way. The new National Education Policy is on the same lines and has inclusion at its core,” he said.
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— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 12, 2020
In his address, Modi also said that good reforms were earlier considered bad politics but now it is good politics because his government’s intentions and commitment are pure, and it has prepared a “protection shield” for the poor and other vulnerable sections before carrying out reforms.
People have endorsed our reform measures with their votes, he said, referring to BJP’s performance in the recently-concluded Bihar polls and bypolls.
Earlier today, talking to media ahead of the unveiling, JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar said that the JNU fraternity is “very happy that Swami Vivekananda’s statue will be inaugurated today by our PM”.
However, the invitation to Modi, even virtual, miffed the JNUSU which believe the Modi government “openly supported” violence on campuses and is attacking universities with the National Education Policy which will result in fund cuts and privatisation of education.
The approval for the statue in JNU was first given by the JNU’s Executive Council (EC) on June 30, 2017. At the time, the administration had said that it was installing the statue to give the campus a more “pleasing look” as Vivekananda had contributed to “nation-building”.
It was decided that the statue would be erected with a “proper elevated platform, stone pathways, benches, lights and interconnected works including public utilities”. Rector III Rana Pratap Singh had told The Indian Express the suggestion for the statue had come from the engineering department of JNU.
In November 2019, the JNU administration had also filed a police complaint saying the statue, which was covered by a saffron veil, had allegedly been defaced and messages were written “particularly directed towards a political party and a group of people donning saffron-coloured clothes”.
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