Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the Valedictory Function of the 125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekanand’s Chicago speech, organized by Sri Ramakrishna Math at Coimbatore via Video Conference.
In his address, the Prime Minister said that this celebration, “shows the impact of Swami ji's address - how it changed the way the west saw India and how Indian thought and philosophy found its rightful place.”
The Prime Minister said that Swami Vivekanand introduced the world to the grandeur of Vedic philosophy.“In Chicago, he taught the world about the Vedic philosophy, but he also reminded the country of its rich past and immense potential.He gave us back our confidence, our pride, our roots,” the Prime Minister said.
Shri Narendra Modi said that with this vision of Swami Vivekanand, “India is going forward with full self-confidence.” He also spoke of various initiatives and schemes of the Government of India.
Following is the text of Prime Minister’s address:
“I consider myself fortunate to be present at this celebration of the 125th anniversary of the address by Swami Vivekanand in Chicago. I am told that there are about four thousand friends, young and old, present here.
Incidentally, 125 years ago, when Swami Vivekanandji spoke at the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, there were about four thousand people in the audience.
I do not know if there is any other example of celebrating the anniversary of a great, inspiring address.
This celebration, therefore, shows the impact of Swami ji's address - how it changed the way the west saw India and how Indian thought and philosophy found its rightful place.
The event you have organised makes the anniversary of the Chicago address even more special.
Congrats to everybody associated with the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, the Government of Tamil Nadu, thousands of my young friends assembled here today for being part of the commemoration of the historic address.
This combination of the unique satvik qualities of Saints, and the energy and enthusiasm of the young people assembled here is a symbol of the real strength of India.
I may be far away from you but I can still feel this unique energy.
I have been told that you will not limit this day to just speeches.There are a number of initiatives that the Math has taken up. Competitions have been held in schools and colleges to spread the word of Swami ji.Our young people will debate on important issues and try to find solutions to challenges that confront India today.This spirit of people’s participation, this determination to confront, together, the challenges that face the country, this philosophy of Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat - This is the essence of Swami ji’s message.
Friends, through his address Swami Vivekanandshone the light of Indian culture, philosophy and ancient traditions for the entire world.
Many people have written about the address in Chicago. You have, during your deliberations today, also talked about the key points of his address. We will keep going back to Swami Ji's words and learn new things from them.
I will use Swami ji’s own words to describe the effect of his address.In response to a question he was asked in Chennai, he said, “Chicago Parliament was a tremendous success for India and Indian thoughts.It helped on the tide of Vedanta which is flooding the world”.
The scale of Swami ji’s achievement looks much greater if you remember the times in which he lived.
Our country was under the shackles of foreign rule.We were poor, our society was looked down upon as backward and indeed, there were many social evils that were part of our social fabric.
The foreign rulers, their judges, their preachers,lost no opportunity to look down upon our thousand years of knowledge and cultural heritage.
Our own people were taught to look down upon their own heritage.They were being cut off from their roots.Swami ji challenged this mindset.He took on the task of clearing the dust of centuries that had accumulated on the knowledge of Indian culture and philosophical thought.
He introduced the world to the grandeur of Vedic philosophy.In Chicago, he taught the world about the Vedic philosophy, but he also reminded the country of its rich past and immense potential.He gave us back our confidence, our pride, our roots.
Swamiji reminded us all that “this is the land from whence, like the tidal waves, spirituality and philosophy have again and again rushed out and deluged the world; and this is the land from whence more such tides proceed in order to bring life and vigour to the decaying races of man-kind”.
Swami Vivekanandji, not only left his mark on the world, but also gave new energy and a new confidence to the freedom movement of the country.
We can do, we are able -with this feeling he awakened the people of the country.This is self-confidence, the confidence that was in every drop of blood of that young Sanyasi.He brought back this self-confidence to the country.His mantra was “believe in yourself, love the country”.
With this vision of Swami Vivekanandji, India is going forward with full self-confidence.What can we not achieve if we believe in ourselves and are willing to work hard?
The world has recognised that India has age old traditions like Yoga and Ayurveda for health and wellness;it is also, at the same time, harnessing the power of modern technology.
Today, when India launches hundred satellites at one go, when the world discusses Mangalyaan and Gaganyaan, when other countries try to replicate our digital apps like BHIM, then it increases the self-confidence of the country further.We are working hard to increase the self-confidence of the poor, the deprived and the under-privileged.The impact of this can be seen in the confidence of our young people and our daughters.
Recently, in the Asian games, our players have shown that no matter how poor you are, no matter what kind of a family you come from, with confidence and hard work, you can make your country proud of you.
The record crop production in the country today shows the same attitude in our farmers.Business-persons of the country, our labourers are accelerating industrial production.Young engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists like you are taking the country towards a new revolution of startups.
Swami Ji firmly believed that the future of India depends on the youth.Quoting from Vedas he said, “It is the young, the strong and healthy, of a sharp intellect, that will reach the Lord.”
I am happy to see that today’s youth is marching ahead with a sense of mission.Keeping in mind the aspirations of the youth, the Government is bringing a new work culture and a new approach.Friends, even after 70 years of freedom, while literacy may have increased, many of our young people lack the skills to make them employable.Sadly our Educational System has not given enough emphasis to skills.
Recognizing the importance of skill development for youth, the Government has created a dedicated Ministry for Skill Devlopment.
Besides, our government has opened the doors of the banks for youth who want to achieve their dreams on their own.
Under the Mudra scheme more than 13 crore loans have been given so far. This scheme is playing a significant role in enhancing self-employment in the villages and towns of the country.
The Government is also providing an encouraging platform for Innovative Ideas under the Start Up India Campaign.
As a result, 8000 Start Ups received Recognition Certificate last year alone as compared to around 800 in 2016.It means a ten foldincrease in one year.
Also, to create an atmosphere of innovation in schools, “Atal Innovation Mission” has been launched.Under this scheme we are working towards establishing 5000 Atal Tinkering Labs across the country in the next 5 years.
To bring forth Innovative Ideas, programmes like Smart India Hackathon are also being implemented.
Swami Vivekananda also spoke of our socio-economic problems.He said, there will be equality in the society, when we uplift the poorest of the poor at par with the ones sitting at the top.We have been working in this direction for last four years.Banks are being taken to the doorsteps of the poor through Jan Dhan Accounts and the India Post Payments Bank.Many schemes such as Housing for Houseless Poor, Gas and Electricity Connection, Health & Life Insurance Schemes have been started for upliftment of the poorest of the poor.
On 25th of this month, we are launching Ayushman Bharat Scheme through out the country.Under this scheme free medical treatment of serious diseases upto Rupees five lakh will be ensured to more than 10 crore poor families.I congratulate the Tamil Nadu government and its people for joining this scheme.
Our approach is not only to eradicate poverty but also to root out the causes of poverty in the country.
I must remind you that this day is also the anniversary of a very different kind of event – the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that echoed through the world. The community of nations is trying to find solutions to this problem, but truly, the solution lies in the path that Swamiji showed the world in Chicago – tolerance and acceptance.
Swami ji said “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.”
We are a country of free ideas.For centuries, this land has been home to diverse ideas and cultures. We have a tradition of ‘discuss’ and ‘decide.’ Democracy and Debate are our eternal values.
But Friends, it is not that our society has got rid of all the evils.In such a large country with unique diversity there are great challenges.
Vivekanand used to say, “There have been devils everywhere more or less in all ages.”We have to be cautious of such evils in our society, and defeat them. We have to remember that, despite all the resources at our disposal, whenever Indian society has been divided, whenever there have been internal conflicts, external enemies have taken advantage.
And during these periods of struggle, our saints, social reformers have shown us the right path – the path that brings us back together.
We have to build a new India with the inspiration of Swami Vivekanand.
I conclude my address with many thanks to all of you.You have given me an opportunity to attend this historic event. Congrats to all those thousands of friends in schools and colleges who read and understood the messages of Swamiji, took part in competitions and won prizes.
Thanks again to all of you.”