Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked poet Sant Ravidas on his birth anniversary to urge people to end caste discrimination and identify those who promote it in their “self-interest”.
Laying the foundation stone for the development of Ravidas’s birthplace in Varanasi, Modi said that the poet had imagined a society where everyone is taken care of without discrimination, and that his government has been undertaking development work following the same tenet.
Laying the foundation stone for Ravidas Janmasthali area development project, Modi said, “Guruji had said there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste. As long as there is caste discrimination, people cannot connect with each other, social harmony is not possible and equality cannot be ensured. Identify those who in their self-interest create caste discrimination and promote it.”
The hymns of Ravidas, a poet of the Bhakti movement, often address caste issues.
“He dreamt of a society where all are taken care of. We have tried to follow this tenet during the past four-and-a-half years with ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ (inclusive development),” the Prime Minister said.
“My government focused on ‘panchdharma’ — education, income, medicine, irrigation, and addressing public grievances — irrespective of caste, creed and other factors,” he said. “Unfortunately, caste discrimination has not been removed till now. The New India will witness this change with the help of the youth,” he said.
Modi also paid homage to Varanasi’s Ramesh Yadav, one of the soldiers killed in the terror attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama.
Earlier in the day, the PM flagged off an electric locomotive converted from a diesel engine at Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) ground in Varanasi. He said, “…This was done for the first time not just in DLW but the whole world.”
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