New Delhi: Against the backdrop of incidents of violence with communal and casteist overtones, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said diversity of religions and castes is the beauty of India and that the 'mantra' of unity should be carried forward through thinking and expressions.
Invoking Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel ahead of his birth anniversary, he strongly batted for 'unity in diversity' while asserting that peace, harmony and unity are the key to progress.
"The mantra of unity should always be the medium of our thinking, our behaviour and expression," Modi said in his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'.
"India is full of diversity. It has different sects, different religions, different languages and different castes. There are so many diversities in our India and this diversity is our beauty," the Prime Minister said in his 35-minute programme.
He said if this diversity was not there, "we would not have been able to feel proud. Therefore, diversity is the mantra of unity."
Mentioning the upcoming birth anniversary of Patel on October 31, Modi said, "Let us pay tribute to Sardar (Patel) Sahab. Take the unity mantra forward."
His comments assume significance as recently there have been incidents of violence lynching of a man over beef-eating rumours in Uttar Pradesh and burning of a Dalit's house in Haryana, which had communal and casteist overtones.
Referring to the 'Run for Unity' organised every year on Patel's birth anniversary, Modi said these are actually the 'run for progress'.
"In other words, the run for unity is the guarantee for run for progress," he said, while noting that earlier he used to get a chance to participate in this event.
In an effort to reach out to Dalits, the Prime Minister invoked B R Ambedkar, saying he was feeling excited about his upcoming visit to the UK where he will visit the 'Ambedkar House', where the architect of the Constitution lived. The property was recently acquired by India from the British government.
"A day after Diwali, I am going to Britain. This time, I am excited about my visit to Britain and the reason for it is special. A few weeks back, I had gone to Mumbai to lay foundation stone for a big memorial for Ambedkar...
"Now, in London, I will formally inaugurate the house where Dr Baba Sahab Ambedkar lived, which recently became Indian government's property and a place of inspiration for 125 crore Indians," he said.
He noted that the issue related to acquisition of this complex had been entangled for several years and now it is the property of 125 crore Indians.
"When Ambedkar's name is associated, you can imagine how much happiness people like me have," Modi said.
He said Ambedkar was an inspiration for the dalits, the oppressed, the deprived, the backwards and all other Indians who live a difficult life that if there is will power, one can make progress in life and get educated. "This is the place (in London) where Ambedkar did his devotion."
The Prime Minister said the central government also encourages capable Dalit youth.
During the programme, he also announced abolition of the practice of interview for Group D,C and B posts in government jobs from January 1, next year. He also said several important schemes will be launched ahead of Diwali.
He also talked about how the 'Swacch Bharat' Abhiyan is being carried forward by media and common people, the importance of organ donation, progress of the 'MP Adarsh Gram Yojana' as also the festivals of Navratra, Eid and Diwali.
Responding to a suggestion from someone on organ donation, the Prime Minister acknowledged that legal complications were a hurdle and said some states have made good progress in reducing the paper work after guidance from the Centre.
He said while 2.5 lakh people need kidney, heart and liver transplants every year, donors are available only for 5,000. While one lakh eye transplants were required, there are only 25,000 donors.
"In case of road accidents, organs can be donated. There are legal complications. There has been an effort to guide the states. Some states have made good progress in reducing the paperwork. I can say Tamil Nadu is ahead of others in organ donation field," Modi said.
To encourage organ donation, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTO) has been established and a 24x7 helpline is also available.
"It is said 'ang daan' (organ donation) is 'maha daan' (major donation)," he said.
In this context, he referred to a recent case where liver was specially arranged and rushed from Lucknow for a poor vendor battling for life in a Delhi government hospital.
The Prime Minister also referred to his ambitious 'Swacch Bharat' programme and appreciated the media for taking the campaign forward and giving it strength.
Talking about the 'MP Adarsh Gram Yojana', he mentioned that Parliamentarians were implementing it even in extremist- infested areas.