Modi says empires established on the basis of terror can never be permanent
New Delhi, August 20, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said empires built on the basis of terror could never be permanent and humanity could not be suppressed for a long time.
Speaking after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone via video-conference for multiple projects in Somnath, Gujarat, including the reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath, Modi reflected on the history of the revered Somnath temple and recalled its repeated destruction and how it rose after every attack.
The other projects launched today included the Somnath Promenade and the Somnath Exhibition Centre. He also laid the foundation stone of Shree Parvati Temple during the event.
The Prime Minister said the Somnath Temple was a "symbol of the belief that truth can’t be defeated by falsehood and faith can’t be crushed by terror."
“The destructive powers, the thinking that tries to establish an empire on the basis of terror, may dominate temporarily, but its existence is never permanent, it cannot suppress humanity for a long time. This was true when some attackers were demolishing Somnath, it is equally true even today, when the world is apprehensive of such ideologies," he stressed.
Veteran BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel were amongst those who attended the event.
During the event, a film was presented showcasing the various developmental infrastructure projects that have been or are being undertaken in Somnath.
Congratulating the devotees all over the world, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Sardar Patel who, he said, showed indomitable will power for the revival of India’s ancient glory.
"Sardar Patel linked Somnath Mandir with independent spirit of independent India. It is our good fortune that we are taking forward the efforts of Sardar Saheb in the 75th year of Independence and imparting new splendour to Somnath Temple," he said.
The Prime Minister also remembered Lokmata Ahilyabai Holkar who renovated several temples from Vishwanath to Somnath. The country is moving forward taking inspiration from the blend of modernity and tradition in her life, he said.
Modi said that, in initiatives like the Statue of Unity and transformation of Kachch, Gujarat had seen from the close quarters the results of linking modernity with tourism. "It has been the demand of every time period that we look for new possibilities in religious tourism and strengthen the links between pilgrimage and local economy,” he said.
Modi said that the reconstruction of Somnath temple to grand renovation is due to centuries of strong will and ideological continuity. ‘Great men like Rajendra Prasad ji, Sardar Patel and K M Munshi faced difficulties for this campaign even after independence. Still, finally Somnath Mandir got established as divine pillar of modern India in 1950. The country is moving towards amicable solutions of difficult problems. A bright pillar of the glory of modern India is coming up in the form of Ram Mandir," he said.
He said that the nation's thinking should be to learn from history to improve the present and create a new future.
Referring to his mantra of "Bharat Jodo Andolan", he said that this is not just geographical connectivity but connect in thoughts also. "This also is a pledge for connecting the building of future India with our past," he said.
"For us, the essence of history and faith is Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas,” Modi said, highlighting the role of faith and belief system in underscoring the unity of India.
"From Somnath and Nageshwar in the west to Vaidyanath in the east, from Baba Kedarnath in the north to Shri Rameshwar, at the extreme southern end of India, these 12 Jyotirlingas serve to connect the whole of India. Similarly, the arrangement of our four dhams, the concept of our Shaktipeeths, the establishment of different pilgrimages in different corners of our country, this outline of our faith is actually an expression of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat'," he said.
Modi spoke about the national and international potential of tourism and spiritual tourism. He said that the country is reviving the ancient glory by building modern infrastructure. He gave the example of Ramayana circuit which is apprising the Ram Bhakts about new places related to lord Ram and making them feel how Lord Ram is entire India’s Ram. Similarly Buddha Circuit is providing facilities to the devotees from world over.
He said the Ministry of Tourism is developing tourist circuits on 15 themes under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, creating opportunities for tourism in neglected areas. Developments in hilly areas like Kedarnath, tunnel and highways for Char Dhams, development work in Vaishno Devi, high-tech infrastructure in the Northeast are bridging the distances. Similarly, under PRASHAD Scheme, announced in 2014, the Tourism Ministry is developing 40 major places of pilgrimage out of which 15 are already completed. In Gujarat, work is on for three projects worth over Rs 100 crore. Attention is being paid to connect the places of pilgrimages. The Prime Minister said that the country is not only connecting common citizens through tourism but is moving forward too. The Country has moved from 65th place in 2013 on Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index to 34th place in 2019, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Home Minister Shah said that, after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, Modi brought pilgrimages of all religions under the PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) Scheme and emphasised on their infrastructure and development of amenities for tourists in surrounding areas.
Gujarat Chief Minister Rupani said the state government was committed to developing Somnath as a place of pilgrimage.
The project “Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Somnath, Gujarat under PRASHAD Scheme” was approved by the Ministry of Tourism with a cost of Rs. 45.36 crore in March 2017.
Some of its components like Parking Area Development, Tourist Facilitation Centre and Solid Waste Management were executed and dedicated to the nation in July 2020. The project has been completed providing world class infrastructure including the facilities for cloak room, public convenience, waiting halls, rooms for children, specially-abled people, parking for cars, buses and two wheelers, disposal / segregation of solid waste management, medical facilities, shops, refreshment house, library, meeting hall, and so on.
The development works of Juna Somnath Mandir premises include a ramp for universal access, courtyard, sitting arrangements for the pilgrims, 15 shops, lift and two large halls with an expenditure of Rs. 3.50 crore by Shree Somnath Trust.
The proposed Parvati Mandir in Shree SomnathTemple premises would have an area of 1650 square metres and 71 feet hall, using Aras stones from Ambaji, Banaskantha. There would be 44 poles, as were there in the original temple, which would be created using marble with an artistic way. The core Garbh Grih of the Mandir contains the land of 380 square metres and a Dance Mandap spread over 1250 square metres.
New projects under pipeline for the State of Gujarat under PRASHAD Scheme are: Development of Pilgrimage Amenities at Maa Ambaji Temple, Banaskantha and Development of Public Plaza / Entry Plaza at Somnath.
Development of Somnath has been proposed as one of the iconic tourism destinations by the Ministry of Tourism under its Integrated Destination Development Scheme (IDDS) for development of components such as Prabhas Patan Museum, Tourist Amenities, Haat and so on.
A few regional interventions such as Keshod Airport, improvement of NH-51, development of Sea Plane services etc. for providing improved connectivity to Somnath, ensuring a comprehensive and broad development of the entire region, are also proposed under this project, that is under consideration.