March 28, 2021 4:48:23 am
A day after he invoked history to underline the brutal repression by the Pakistani Army and India’s role in the liberation of Dhaka 50 years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said both India and Bangladesh want “stability, love, and peace” instead of “instability, terror, and unrest” in the world.
Earlier on Saturday, Modi spoke to the Matua community members after offering prayers at their temple in Gopalganj’s Orakandi — the birthplace of Hindu mystic figure and community’s spiritual guru Harichand Thakur.
“Both India and Bangladesh want to see the world progressing through their own development. Both the countries want to see stability, love, and peace instead of instability, terror, and unrest in the world,” Modi said. He said it was during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015 that he had expressed his desire to visit Orakandi and this wish had come true now. This place is a pilgrimage site for the spiritual relationship between India and Bangladesh, Modi said.
“I was speaking to some people here. They were saying who could have thought that India’s PM would visit Orakandi,” Modi said. He added that he felt an emotional solidarity with Matua community members in India after visiting Orakandi from where Harichand Thakur had disseminated his pious messages.
Orakandi is the considered the spiritual centre of the Hindu Matua community, a large number of whom are residents of neighbouring West Bengal. Significantly, the Matua community’s support is considered crucial in the West Bengal elections – Modi was accompanied by BJP MP from West Bengal Shantanu Thakur during his visit.
Modi announced that India will upgrade one girls’ middle school and set up a primary school in Orakandi.
Modi said the Matua community celebrates the annual “Baroni Shanan Utshab” to mark the birth anniversary of Harichand Thakur and a large number of devotees from India come to Orakandi to participate in this festival.
“To make this pilgrimage easier for citizens of India, efforts will be made on behalf of the Government of India,” he said. “We are also committed to grand events and various works reflecting the glorious history of the Matua community in Thakurnagar (West Bengal).”
“I have always been very close to the family members of the Thakurbari,” he added.
“The way India and Bangladesh governments are working towards strengthening their ties, Harichand Thakur and Thakurbari have been doing this for ages. This place symbolises the spiritual tryst of India and Bangladesh,” he said.
In his address, Modi said that it was important for both India and Bangladesh to come together and fight common challenges.
He said that during the Covid pandemic, India and Bangladesh proved their capabilities.
“Both nations are facing this pandemic strongly and fighting it together. India is working by considering that it is its duty that ‘Made in India’ vaccines reach the citizens of Bangladesh,” Modi added. He said India is moving forward with the mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas’, and Bangladesh is its co-passenger on that journey. “Bangladesh is presenting a strong example of development and change in front of the world and India is your co-passenger in these efforts,” he added.
He also visited the mausoleum of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and paid floral tributes to him, becoming the first-ever foreign Head of State or Head of Government to pay homage at the grave of ‘Bangabandhu’ at Tungipara in southwestern Bangladesh. The PM was received at the mausoleum by his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, who is the daughter of Rahman. Sheikh Rehana, the youngest daughter of Rahman was also present.
Modi paid floral tributes to ‘Bangabandhu’ and stood in silence while Hasina and her Cabinet offered prayers.
“The life of Bangabandhu epitomized the freedom struggle of the people of Bangladesh for their rights, for the preservation of their inclusive culture and their identity,” Modi wrote in the visitor book at the Mausoleum complex.
He started his day Saturday offering prayers at the centuries-old Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Ishwaripur village in southwestern Bangladesh and announced that India would construct a community hall and cyclone shelter attached to the temple.
On the second day of his two-day visit to Bangladesh, Modi performed pooja at the temple in Satkhira, which is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in the Puranic tradition. Modi also placed a handmade mukut, made of silver with gold plating on Goddess Kali. This mukut was made over three weeks by a local artisan.
“Feeling blessed after praying at the Jeshoreshwari Kali Temple,” Modi tweeted after offering prayers. Speaking outside the temple, Modi said that he prayed to Goddess Kali to free the human race from Covid.
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