New Delhi: A person has no right to chant “Vande Mataram” if he does not care about cleanliness and disrespects Mother India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday as he urged people to fight against social evils.
The Prime Minister underlined the need for social changes and said, “follow the rule and India will rule” during a students’ convention marking the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago address and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s centenary celebrations.
Modi wondered whether people who littered and dirtied the country had any right to the nationalist slogan.
“As I entered, I heard people loudly chanting Vande Mataram...The value of patriotism fills my heart. I am asking all countrymen whether we have the right to chant Vande Mataram. I know this will hurt many people. We chew ‘paan’ and spit it out on Mother India (Bharat Mata par pichakaari mare) and then chant Vande Mataram. Throw garbage and then chant Vande Mataram... The sanitation and cleaning workers have the first right to say Vande Mataram,” he said.
He was welcomed at Vigyan Bhawan with shouts of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. The slogans could also be frequently heard during his speech, which lasted for almost an hour.
Urging people to keep their surroundings clean, the Prime Minister told the gathering that people may or may not keep their surroundings clean but nobody had the right to dirty places.
The comments come in the backdrop of the government’s efforts to ‘clean India’ by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi also batted for innovation and promoting skills among the youth and asked them to work for a modern India.
The world evaluates the country where it is today not what it was 5,000 years ago or during the times of Lord Rama or Buddha, he said.
Vivekananda supported experimentation and innovation and his government was working according to the ideals shown by him, Mr Modi said.
Emphasising that Vivekananda’s historic September 11 address in the US was a message of love and brotherhood, the prime minister said the devastating 9/11 terror strike might not have happened if the significance of his speech had not been forgotten.
The Prime Minister also asked colleges to hold cultural events to celebrate other states and added in a light-hearted vein that he was not against celebrating days like ‘rose day’.
Students should do more, he said, asking them to hold a Tamil day in a Haryana college or a Kerala day in a Punjab college to strengthen the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat (One India, Great India)’.
Vivekananda, the Prime Minister said, gave the concept of ‘One Asia’. He quoted him as saying that ‘One Asia’ would have the “strength to show the way” when the world was surrounded by problems.