PM Unveils Vivekananda’s Statue in JNU, Says Ideology Should Not Override National Interest

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening unveiled a state of Swami Vivekanand in the Jawaharlal Nehru campus in New Delhi. The inauguration took place via video-conferencing in the presence of JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal.

“This statue will develop a vision of divinity,” Modi said after the inauguration. “It is a matter of immense pride that a Swami Vivekananda statue is being unveiled in JNU.”

“I wish that this statue of Swami ji in JNU inspires everyone, fills them with energy. This statue should give courage, which Swami Vivekananda wanted to see in every person,” Modi said. “This statue should teach compassion, which is the mainstay of Swamiji’s philosophy.”

Modi congratulated the JNU fraternity and recalled the vision of Vivekanand regarding statues. “Vivekananda said the secret behind having faith in a statue is: we develop a vision of divinity with this one thing. I wish that his statue in JNU inspires, energizes and provides strength in every person, and also fills one with love and submission towards the country.”

The most important message of Swami’s ‘pratima’ (statue) is that it “motivates one to have a vision of oneness, which was the foundation of his thought. This statute must give the country a youth lead development and vision”, he added.

Modi told the students in attendance that they won’t just have Sabarmati dhaba now to ideate and debate at. “Sabarmati is the most loved dhaba for discussions after class, now there is one more spot under the shadow and guidance of Swamiji’s statue,” he said.

Calling Vivekananda the symbol of the highest thought, Modi remembered him for his contribution and knowledge of Vedanta and how he introduced Bharat to the world. While India was under foreign rule, Vivekanand visited the US and had said in Michigan University that the 21st century belongs to India.

“This century is yours, but 21st century will be ours. We have to prove it right with new thoughts. Today, the country is moving ahead towards self-reliance, atma nirbharta. It is now part of the collective conscience of the 130 crore Indians. When we talk about atma nirbharta, the goal is not just limited to material vision, one should develop atma-nirbhar thought,” Modi said, emphasising that self-reliance must not mean self-absorption.

Vivekananda, a Hindu monk, was a chief disciple of the 19th-century Indian mystic Ramakrishna and founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is credited with introducing to western world the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and yoga. He is remembered for his speech that introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Policy push on campus

Modi gave a research proposal on reforms and politics. “People in the country have supported the reforms and expressed it through their votes. There is serious discussion on the country’s policies in JNU, so who knows better than JNU regarding the discourse on reforms,” he said.

“Isn’t this true that in India good reforms were considered bad politics? Then how did the good reforms become good politics? JNU students must research on this,” he asked the fraternity.

Modi appreciated NEP that will enable students in character and nation building. JNUSU and teachers have been critical of the document and called for protests today against the NEP and the privatization it encourages.

Ideology and nation

Modi cautioned JNU students that they must not give ideology more importance than the love for the country as it works against national interest. “More than the country there is an urge to give importance to ideology… Just because my ideology is of one kind I will not change it, not even in the interest of the nation, this is not good. It is a wrong path. Today everyone takes pride in ideology. It is natural. But ideology should always be in line with the country in the matter of national interests and not against the country,” he said.

Modi gave examples of events in history where people came together across ideologies for love for country like ‘Freedom movement’ and ‘Emergency.’

“Every time there is an attack on the country, people from all thought and ideologies come together. Look at the Freedom struggle, people of different ideologies were together. Nobody had to leave their ideologies for a common cause. In fact, at the time of freedom struggle everyone prioritized the common cause,” he said.

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