Embrace Swadeshi, self-reliance to keep culture, art alive: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday emphasized the importance of self-reliance for promotion and prosperity of indigenous products and said that by adopting them one can keep India’s traditional arts, culture and civilization alive.

Addressing a gathering to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Jain saint Vijay Vallabh Surishwar through video conferencing, Modi said the message of Swadeshi and self-reliance is very relevant in the present times. “This is the mantra of the progress of self-reliant India,” he said.

“The world is facing a crisis of terrorism and violence and is looking for inspiration to break out of this vicious circle,” Modi said. “Under such circumstances, India’s ancient traditions and philosophy, combined with its strength, are giving hope to the world today.”

He further said, “The path shown by him (Acharya Surishwar) and the teachings of the Jain Gurus are the solution to this global crisis.”

Noting that religious traditions and indigenous products can be promoted simultaneously, the Prime Minister quoted Surishwar as saying: “The prosperity of a country depends on its economic prosperity and by adopting indigenous products, one can keep India’s art, culture and civilization alive.”

The event was organized by the Union Ministry of Culture to conclude the Jain Guru’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations. A commemorative postage stamp and coin dedicated to Acharya Surishwar was also released as part of the event.

Recalling the start of the celebrations two years ago, Modi recalled the “opportunity” he got to unveil the statue of Acharya Surishwar. He added, “Today again, I am a saint among you with the help of technology.

In November 2020, the Prime Minister unveiled the ‘Shanti Murthy’ in Pali, Rajasthan to mark the birth anniversary of the Jain monk. The 151-inch-tall idol is made of ashtadhatu (eight metals), with copper as its main component.

Modi said the “Statue of Peace” is one of the largest statues of saints, while the ‘Statue of Unity’ dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat’s Narmada district is the tallest in the world. Recalling their contribution, he said Patel united the country, which was then divided into many princely states, while Acharya Vijay Vallabh traveled to different parts of the country and strengthened its unity and culture.

“These are not only tall statues, they are also the greatest symbol of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’,” he said.

Modi said Acharya Surishwar’s insistence on peace and harmony was clearly visible even during the horrors of partition. He pointed out that during the freedom movement Mahatma Gandhi adopted the path of “aparigraha” or renunciation prescribed by the Jain gurus. “Aparigraha controls not only renunciation but also all forms of addiction,” Modi pointed out.

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