(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday unveiled the life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and said that it is the misfortune of the country that the previous governments forgot Bapu's mantra while Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decisions reflect his ideas.
After unveiling the statue, Singh said, "It is a matter of great joy that today a life-size statue of Bapu has been unveiled near his mausoleum, Rajghat." The programme was organised by Gandhi Smriti.
He said while the statue of Mahatma Gandhi is installed at countless places in the country and abroad, the installation of a grand statue close to his memorial is certainly a very commendable step.
Singh said that about 154 years ago, when Bapu was born on October 2, not an individual but an era was born. "It is also true that the country and the world needed Bapu's thoughts as much as he needed them in the twentieth century and his thoughts are equally relevant today in the twenty-first century," he said.
Singh pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi remained away from power throughout his life. "Nor did Mahatma Gandhi fight any war in his life, or conquer any country. Despite this, he won hearts across the world with his personality and creativity," the Minister said.
He also said that it has been almost 75 years since Mahatma Gandhi died but the relevance and influence of his ideas is increasing more than ever.
"It is not a small thing that even those great men of the world who never met Gandhiji were greatly influenced by Gandhi and Gandhism. I am talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela who never met Gandhiji in their life but showed a new path to humanity by following his ideas and ideals," Singh said.
The Minister also said that Mahatma Gandhi was not only a freedom fighter or was limited only to liberating India. People forget that Gandhiji had also imagined an 'India of dreams' after Independence, he said.
He remarked that during the Indian freedom struggle, each of his movements may have appeared political, but there was always a deep economic, social and cultural message hidden in them
He said that Mahatma Gandhi's teachings that 'God resides in cleanliness' emerged from the Champaran movement.
"It is the misfortune of the country that after Independence, Gandhiji's cleanliness mantra was forgotten by the governments of that time," he said, taking a jibe at the previous governments.
He also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who started the cleanliness campaign after forming the government. "Today 'Swachh Bharat Movement' has become a mass movement," he said.
The Minister also recalled that Mahatma Gandhi envisioned the respect and upliftment of the poor in the country. "His thoughts are a source of inspiration for our Prime Minister today. Its reflection is visible in the decisions of the Prime Minister," Singh said
Taking a potshot at the previous governments, he said that despite banks being nationalized 50 years ago, the poor were not even able to open accounts in them.
"Through Jan Dhan Yojana, 50 crore bank accounts of the poor have been opened and they have been connected to the economic system of this country," he said, adding that "our government is working towards strengthening the rural economy in the country and meeting the needs of electricity, roads, water, education and health".
He also said that besides being a freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi was also an economic thinker.
Singh said that Bapu believed that there are so many resources on this earth that the needs of every human being can be fulfilled, but there are not enough resources on this earth to meet the greed of every human being.
He said that the unfortunate reality of Indian society 50-60 years ago was that a particular section of the society was oppressed and were denied opportunities.
"There should be no hesitation in accepting reality. But if you look at the reality of present times, you will see things have changed. Now the maternal mortality, infant mortality rates have improved, even the literacy rate has gone up to 73 per cent in 2011, and today, people of the Dalit community are moving forward shoulder to shoulder with the other sections of the society.
"Taking inspiration from great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar, the way the government has worked for the upliftment of Dalits under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi is not hidden from you all. BJP has given due importance to the respect of Dalits. In our first term, Ramnath Kovind, who belonged to the Scheduled Caste, became the President, while in our second term, Droupadi Murmu, who belonged to the Scheduled Tribe, became the President of India," the Minister said.
"Be it a village farmer or a corporate leader of the biggest MNC, today Dalits are making their place everywhere from agriculture to private sector," Singh noted.
He also noted that if you see today, the people of the Dalit community are moving forward in every sector.
"Dalits are the largest aspirational class of India. So the Dalit class, Dalit thinkers will have to think whether it is right now to associate and define themselves with the word Dalit," he asked. Singh said, "No one else can think about it, and no one has the right to think about it, only you have the right to think about it, and you are the only one who is capable. Therefore, you should think about it and make a decision on it." He also asserted that now Dalits are being empowered and are ready to make their own way.
"They are making their own path. And why only for myself, rather I would say that the Dalit community is currently moving forward to show the way to the entire country," he said, adding that "therefore, to redefine your present and future possibilities, to give a new term to your existence, to give yourself a new name, all of you should consider".
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