Vikas, virasat will take India forward: PM Modi in Ayodhya | India News

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AYODHYA: Pitching for a blend of development and religious nationalism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that the strength of “vikas (development)” and “virasat (heritage)” would take India forward in the 21st century. He appealed to people to celebrate the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024 as a national occasion and ensure the entire country glitters like it does on Diwali. At the same time, he said, they should plan to visit the temple at a later date to avoid crowding.
The PM categorically linked the consecration ceremony with a “swachchhata abhiyan”, appealing to temples across the country to carry out a cleanliness drive from Makar Sankranti onwards. He also called upon Ayodhya’s people to get ready for a mammoth influx of tourists. “Gear up to make Ayodhya the cleanest city not only in India but the entire world,” he said.
“Light a Ram jyoti in your respective houses when the Lord reaches his new home; celebrate Deepavali,” he said at a public meeting after inaugurating the newly constructed Maharishi Valmiki airport in Ayodhya and laying the foundations of 46 developmental projects worth Rs 15,700 crore on Saturday. He also flagged off six Vande Bharat and two Amrit Bharat trains connecting various cities, including Ayodhya, New Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Amritsar.Acknowledging people’s desire to be present for the “pran pratishtha” of the idol of Ram Lalla, the PM, however, requested everyone to plan their visit to Ayodhya only January 22 so that the security and arrangements are not overwhelmed. “You have waited for more than 500 years. Do wait for some more days and then come to Ayodhya after considering all the security aspects,” he said.
Stressing that there need not be a duel between development and devotion, Modi said that if a country has to progress, then it will have to preserve its cultural heritage. “Aaj ka Bharat nutan and puratan… Donon ko atmsaat kar raha hai (Today’s Bharat is assimilating new-age development and its age-old culture),” said Modi, who also held a 15km road show in which he was greeted by cheering crowds lined up all along Ayodhya’s decked up roads.
He said that this was the same Ayodhya where Ram Lalla lived in a tent for years. “But now not only has Ram got a permanent temple, but also 4 crore people have received their own permanent house (under PM Awas Yojana),” he said, adding that the country was taking long strides in development and digital technology while preserving its pilgrimage sites.
Further emphasising that development does not take place at the cost of heritage, the PM said: “Not only has Kashi Vishwanath Dham been renovated, but 30,000 panchayat bhawans are being constructed; not only has Kedarnath Dham been given a facelift, but more than 315 medical colleges have also been constructed; not only has the Mahakal temple been spruced up, but piped water supply has also been ensured under the Har Ghar Jal mission. We are not only fathoming the mysteries of the Sun, Moon, and oceans but also bringing back our ancient idols to the country.”
The PM said that the mood of the country was being reflected in Ayodhya. “Today, we are celebrating the festival of development. After a few days, it will be a celebration of heritage and tradition. Today, we are witnessing the grandeur of development, and after a few days we will see the splendour of heritage. Yahi toh Bharat hai (This is what India is all about),” he said while referring to the scheduled consecration ceremony.
The PM said if any country has to reach new heights of development, it will have to preserve its heritage. “The joint strength of development (“vikas”) and heritage (“virasat”) will take Bharat ahead in the 21st century.”
Referring to the ancient glory of Ayodhya as described by Maharishi Valmiki, the PM reiterated the desire to bring back that grandeur by linking it with modernity. He said that the campaign to make India a developed country is getting new energy from Ayodhya, and added that his government would leave no stone unturned to ensure that every possible aspect of the temple town was developed.
In an apparent bid to reach out to the southern states, Modi recounted the importance of pilgrimages undertaken in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. He also referred to the Buddhist pilgrimage covering Kushinagar, Sarnath and Kapilvastu and those undertaken by the followers of Jainism.
Earlier, highlighting the importance of December 30,the PM said this was the day Subhas Chandra Bose hoisted the Indian flag in the Andamans and proclaimed the independence of the country.



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