Unity in diversity India’s strength, says Modi (Roundup)

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) Stressing that India’s strength lay in its unity in diversity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it was the duty of every generation and government to strengthen the feeling to make the country great.

In his 25th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio talk, the Prime Minister discussed a variety of issues including Guru Nanak, sacrifices by soldiers and the festival of Diwali.

Expressing his gratitude towards military personnel, he said: “Our jawans (soldiers) are sacrificing their lives, we should celebrate this Diwali in their name.”

He lauded the troops for their love and sacrifice for the country. “Every citizen of the country is proud of our soldiers.”

Modi praised Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first Home Minister, for working tirelessly to unite the country.

“History is witness that after Chanakya, Vallabhbhai Patel successfully brought the entire country under one flag.

“Unity in diversity is the country’s strength. There are many languages, castes, different ways of dressing and eating, and this is the country’s specialty.”

This was the ‘Mool Mantara’ to make India a strong country.

Speaking on the occasion of Diwali, Modi said the “festival is also associated with cleanliness. Everybody cleans their homes”.

The festival of lights was no longer limited to India. Governments, leaders and people in other countries were becoming a part of it.

Modi recalled how British Prime Minister Theresa May held a reception in London and almost all cities in the UK celebrated the festival. This was true for Singapore too.

He urged parents to be with their children when they burst crackers.

The Prime Minister said people from all walks of life had sent messages of love and encouragement for Indian soldiers.

“I thank the citizens for their support and love for our security forces and jawans (soldiers) protecting us.”

Saying it was because the military and paramilitary forces guard the country is why “we are celebrating Diwali joyfully”.

Modi expressed happiness over the progress being made in all states to make the country Open Defecation Free (ODF).

He cited the example of ITBP trooper Vikas Thakur who gave away Rs 5,700 to the village chief in Himachal Pradesh to build toilets for 57 families.

Modi paid homage to Guru Nanak on his birth anniversary, saying his teachings were the guiding principles not only for Indians but for the entire humanity.

While India will celebrate Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31, it will also remember late prime minister Indira Gandhi who was assassinated on that date in 1984.

Modi also recalled how the anti-Sikh riots following Indira Gandhi’s killing affected thousands in Delhi.