COVID-19, a once in a lifetime pandemic that has hit every nation and people, says Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the keynote address on the occasion of virtual Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima, in New Delhi, on May 26, 2021.

COVID-19, a once in a lifetime pandemic that has hit every nation and people, says Modi

New Delhi, May 26, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said COVID-19, a once in lifetime pandemic, has brought tragedy and suffering to people all over and impacted every nation.

The economic impact of the pandemic was huge and life will not be the same on the planet after COVID-19, the Prime Minister said in his keynote address on the occasion of Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima through video conference.

Members of the Mahasangha, Prime Ministers of Nepal and Sri Lanka, Union Ministers Prahlad Singh and Kiren Rijiju, Secretary-General of International Buddhist Confederation Dr Dhammapiya were also at the event.

Modi said Vesak is a day to celebrate the life of Lord Buddha and to reflect on the noble ideals and sacrifices he made for the betterment of the planet. Last year, he had dedicated the Vesak day programme to all the front-line workers leading humanity's fight against the pandemic.

“A year later, COVID-19 has still not left us and several nations, including India, have experienced a second wave. This once in lifetime pandemic has brought tragedy and suffering to the doorstep of many and impacted every nation. The economic impact left by the pandemic is huge and our planet will not be the same after COVID-19.

"Over the past year, there have been many noteworthy improvements like having a better understanding of the pandemic, which strengthens the strategy to fight and developing the vaccine, which is important to saving lives and defeating the pandemic," he said.

He lauded the efforts of the scientists for developing the vaccines within a year and said this shows the power of human determination and tenacity.

"Lord Buddha wanted to devote his life to removing human suffering. In the past year, several individuals and organisations rose to the occasion and did everything possible to reduce human suffering. These actions are in line with the teachings of Lord Buddha in the form of blessings, compassion and welfare of all," he said.

Modi said that, while fighting COVID-19, people must not lose sight of the other challenges faced by humanity like climate change. The reckless lifestyle of the present generation was threatening the future generations. “We should resolve to not let our planet remain wounded. Lord Buddha’s emphasis on a way of life where respect for Mother Nature is paramount. India is among the few large economies to be on track to achieve their Paris targets. For India, sustainable living is not only about the right words but also about the right actions,” he added.

"The life of Gautama Buddha was about peace, harmony and co-existence. But today, there are forces whose existence depends on spreading hate, terror and mindless violence. Such forces do not believe in liberal democratic principles," he said.

He gave a call for all those who believe in humanity to come together and defeat terror and radicalisation. Lord Buddha's teachings and the importance given to social justice can become a global unifying force, he added.

Modi said Lord Buddha was the reservoir of brilliance for the entire universe. From him, the world could draw light from time to time and take the path of compassion, universal responsibility and welfare.

The Prime Minister thanked the first responders, front-line health care workers, doctors, nurses and volunteers for selflessly risking their lives to serve others in need every day. He expressed condolences to those who suffered and lost their near and dear ones.


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