Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the devastating terror strikes of 9/11 in the year 2001 would not have happened if the significance of Swami Vivekananda’s address in Chicago on September 11, 1893 had been held on to.
Speaking at a students' convention on the occasion of 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's Chicago address, Modi said the “9/11 of 1893 was about love, harmony and brotherhood”.
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"Today is 9/11...this day became widely spoken about after 2001 but there was another 9/11 of 1893 which we remember...he 9/11 of 1893 was about love, harmony and brotherhood," Modi said.
The convention 'Young India, New India' was organised to mark the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago and BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya's centenary celebrations.
Vivekananda supported experimentation and innovation and his government was working according to the ideals shown by him, Modi said. Vivekananda, Modi added, had given the message of love and brotherhood.
In his tribute to the Swami Vivekananda, Modi said the religious leader was a visionary who raised his voice against the social evils in the society.
"Who would have thought anyone would be interested in celebrating a 125-year-old speech... Just with a few words, a youngster from India won over the world and showed it the power of oneness," Modi said about the prescience of the social reformer.
"Swami Vivekananda raised his voice against the social evils that has entered our society. He said that only rituals will not connect an individual to divinity...he said 'Jan Seva is Prabhu Seva'," Modi said.
The Prime Minister also batted for innovation and promoting skills among the youth and asked them to work for a modern India.
“The world evaluates the country where it is today not what it was 5,000 years ago or during the times of Lord Rama or Buddha,” the prime minister said.
The Prime Minister used the occasion to speak up for cleanliness and said people who litter around have no right to chant ‘Vande Mataram’.
The crowd intermittently shouted ‘Vande Mataram’ as the prime minister spoke. “We need to ask ourselves if we actually deserve the right to chant Vande Mataram,” the PM said.
Lauding sanitation and cleaning workers, he said they have the first right to say ‘Vande Mataram’.
"If there is anyone who should have the right to say 'Vande Mataram' before anyone else, it is those children of Mother India who perform the job of cleaning our streets," he said.
"Whether we clean our surroundings or not, we do not have the right to dirty them," he added.
Modi said that he was proud of women who refuse to get married into families whose houses do not have toilets and called for building of toilets before places of worships.
"Toilets first, temples later," the Prime Minister said, recalling a slogan that he coined during 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign and on a lighter vein, remembered how people were out to “tear his hair out” when he mentioned it the last time around.
The prime minister also asked colleges to hold cultural events to celebrate other states and added in a light-hearted vein that he was not against celebrating days like ‘rose day’.
Students should do more, Modi said, asking them hold a Tamil day in a Haryana college or a Kerala day in a Punjab college.
“There is no better place for creativity and innovation than university campuses... There is no life without creativity.
Let our creativity also strengthen our nation & fulfil the aspirations of our people,” he said.
India’s standing in the world had risen, he said, crediting ‘janshakti’ (people’s power) for this.