Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday emphasised the importance of promoting indigenous products and self-reliance for prosperity and said that by adopting them one can keep India’s traditional art, culture and civilisation alive.
Addressing a gathering to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Jain saint Vijay Vallabh Surishwar through video conference, Modi said the message of Swadeshi and self-reliance is extremely relevant in present times. “This is the mantra of progress for self-reliant India,” he said.
The world is experiencing a crisis of terror and violence, and is looking for inspiration to break out of this vicious circle,” Modi said. “In such a situation, ancient traditions and philosophy of India, coupled with its power, is giving hope to the world today.”
He added, “The path shown by him (Acharya Surishwar) and the teachings of Jain gurus is the solution to these global crises.”
Noting that religious tradition and indigenous products can be promoted simultaneously, the Prime Minister quoted Surishwar and said: “The prosperity of a country is dependent on its economic prosperity, and by adopting indigenous products, one can keep the art, culture and civilisation of India alive.”
The event was organised by the Union Culture Ministry to conclude the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the Jain guru. As part of the occasion, a commemorative postage stamp and coin dedicated to Acharya Surishwar was also released.
Recalling the beginning of the celebrations two years ago, Modi recalled the “privilege” he had had of unveiling the statue of Acharya Surishwar. “Today, once again, I am among you saints with the help of technology,” he added.
In November 2020, the Prime Minister had unveiled the ‘Statue of Peace’ in Rajasthan’s Pali to mark the Jain monk’s birth anniversary celebrations. The 151-inch-tall statue has been made from ashtadhatu (eight metals), with copper being the major constituent.
Modi said the “Statue of Peace” is one of the largest statues of saints, while the ‘Sta0tue of Unity’ dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat’s Narmada district, is the tallest in the world. Recalling their contributions, he said Patel had united the country, which was then divided into many princely states, while Acharya Vijay Vallabh travelled to different parts of the country and strengthened its unity and culture.
These are not just tall statues, but they are also the greatest symbol of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’,” he said.
Modi said Acharya Surishwar’s insistence on peace and harmony was clearly visible even during the horrors of Partition. He noted that during the freedom movement Mahatma Gandhi had adopted the path of “aparigraha”, or renunciation, as laid down by the Jain gurus. “Aparigraha is not only renunciation but also controlling all kinds of attachment,” Modi pointed out.