It will not be an exaggeration at all to say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reventing the values and philosphy of Swami Viveknanda in his own fashion. As many as 125 years Vivekananda, a great disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhans, an all time famous saint of India from West Bengal, had rocked the western world with his speech at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in US. Vivekananda’s Chicago address is rightly considered as one of the best interpreations of Hindu way of life, which is rooted in the elements of inclusiveness.
Similarly when Prime Minister Narendra Modi batted for the World Yoga Day at the United Nations on June 21, 2015, the whole world was not only pleased but threw its weight behind him. Needless to say, yoga was very close to the life of Vivekananda, who preached and practised the fact that humanity is one and above the parochial considerations of caste, colour and creed. Vivekananda lived for all and so is the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose vision for New India is premised on the principle of Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka, Vikas, development of all and appeasement of none.
Swami Vivekananda dreamt an India where every section of the society has his rightful share in national resources and opportunities and those on the margins are taken care of in an effective manner. He advocated for total and holistic empowerment of the weaker sections of the society and never ever preached anything which widens the gap among the countrymen along caste or religious lines. For the first time in the history of independent India, we have a Prime Minister in Modi, who is committed to the welfare of all irrespective of their caste or religion.
Today no one is left out and has the feeling of being taken care of by the government under the leadership of Modi. They feel that they have a government to fall back on to realise their needs and aspirations. From financial inclusion to affordable housing to healthcare to education, Modi has left nothing unturned to make the common man realise the fact that India is not only for the rich but for all and all Indians are his responsibility.
In his address to the students’ convention on September 11 on the occasion of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Centenary Celebrations, and 125th year of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago address, Prime Minister said: “125 years ago, on the same day that has recently come to be known as 9/11, with just a few words, a youngster from India won over the world and showed the world the power of oneness. The 9/11 of 1893 was about love, harmony and brotherhood.” “Swami Vivekananda raised his voice against the social evils that have entered our society,” he said and recalled how Swami Vivekananda said that only rituals will not connect an individual to divinity and ‘Jan Seva’ is ‘Prabhu Seva.’
It is worth mentioning that Swami Vivekananda did not believe in sermonising. His ideas and idealism paved the way for an institutional framework through the Ramakrishna Mission. The correspondence between Swami Vivekananda and Jamsetji Tata shows the concern Vivekananda had towards India’s self-reliance and hence both knowledge and skills are equally important. Today people say that the 21st century is Asia’s century, but long ago, Swami Vivekananda had given the concept of ‘One Asia’ and had said that the solutions to the world’s problems will come from Asia. A New India can easily be created by following the footprints of Swami Vivekananda, which India is doing with all dedication under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
(The writer is Director, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Chandigarh. Views are his personal)