Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 24 January 2021 2.42 AM IST

PM takes dig at political dynasties, says for some 'heritage' means family's name


VARANASI: In a veiled attack on political dynasties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said some people paid more attention to their family's legacy than to their country’s heritage.

Modi referred to the return of a statue of Goddess Annapurna from Canada, a century after it was said to have been stolen from here.

"Today is a special occasion for Kashi,” he said, in his second address during a visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

“The ancient idols of our gods and goddess are symbols of our faith and also invaluable heritage,” he said, adding that had similar efforts been made earlier, the country could have got much more of its heritage back.

“For us, legacy ('viraasat') means the country's heritage ('desh ki dharohar'). But for some people, legacy means their family and the name of their family. For us, legacy means our culture, our faith, our values. For them, legacy means their own statues and the photographs of their family," he said, without naming any party.

Modi was speaking at Varanasi’s Dev Deepawali festival, when the banks of the Ganga were illuminated with rows of lamps. He called the spectacle “alaukik”, or divine.

Before flying back to New Delhi, the prime minister also visited the Sarnath archeological site and watched a light and sound show there.

Earlier in the day, he dedicated to the nation the six-laning of the highway to Allahabad and offered prayers at the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

On the occasion of Gurpurab, he also recalled Guru Nanak Dev’s association with the city.

“Guru Nanak Dev ji dedicated his entire life in the service of the poor, the oppressed and the deprived,” the PM said, calling him a symbol of reforms in society.

Modi referred to the Ram temple in Ayodhya, being built after the Supreme Court settled the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute last year.

There were efforts over the decades to “instill fear” and let the issue drag on, he claimed. “But when Ram ji wanted it, the temple’s construction began."

The PM paid tributes to fallen soldiers, indirectly referring to Pakistan and “expansionist” China.

"Be it attempts to infiltrate across the border, the audacity of the expansionist forces or those hatching a conspiracy to break the country from inside, India is replying, and is giving a befitting reply," he said.

Modi reiterated his call of 'Vocal for Local', saying the manner in which people celebrated Diwali this time, using local products, was inspiring.

But this must not remain confined to festivals and should become a part of everyone lives, he said.

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