Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday focused on West Bengal’s rich heritage and some of its lost glory in back-to-back addresses to people in the state linked to the elections.
Prime Minister Modi, while virtually addressing the graduation ceremony of Visva Bharati, the only central state university whose prime minister is the chancellor, said that its founder Rabindranath Tagores’ vision on education had contributed to the Centre’s new educational policy.
Shah, who was in Bengal for a two-day political tour, attended a cultural event held at the National Library in Kolkatas as part of the programs on the freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose, and paid a rich tribute to the martyrs from Bengal and talked about the sacrifices Bose made.
In the eastern state where the elections are to be held in March-April, their speeches were aimed at countering Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees constant efforts to mark the central leaders of the BJP and those visiting Bengal from the Hindi belt. like strangers who ignore the culture and history of the Bengals. .
Some of the statements made by BJP leaders seemed to have underlying messages.
During his long speech, the Prime Minister spoke about Shivaji, whose birthday was celebrated during the day, and recited in Bengali a few lines from a poem Tagore wrote about the icon of Maratha.
These lines are inspired by Shivaji and speak of fighting for one India. We have to live the message sent by Tagore. You are not part of a university but part of a living heritage. Tagore could have called this institution a world university, but he chose to call it Visva Bharati. He wanted students to see the world as Indians and support the heritage of nations. This is what the nation expects from you, Modi said.
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Knowledge, opinions and visions are not static. They are dynamic. There is room for a course correction. Knowledge and power come with responsibility. People in power must exercise restraint. The same applies to people with knowledge. Your knowledge is not yours alone. It is an asset to society and the nation, Modi said.
It’s all about mentality. It all depends on whether you want to be part of the problem or be part of the solution. You have to rise above self-interest and put the nation first … As Prime Minister, I am not worried as long as you have the zeal to take the risk, Prime Minister said Modi to the students and asked them to prepare a vision document for the nations 75th year of independence. He also asked them to help local artisans and empower the villages around the Santiniketan campus in Birbhum district in Bengal.
Regarding an investigation that British Major General Thomas Monroe conducted in 1820, Modi said: The investigation revealed that villages in India had more than one school and temples related to education before the system British education is imposed on us. Another survey showed that Bihar and Bengal had more than one lakh village school in 1830. It shows where we were.
Tagore wanted the education system to be free. Today, the new education policy of nations gives you the freedom to choose your subjects, show your skills and develop an entrepreneurial spirit. It also focuses on gender equality in education … This will lead to Atmanirbhar Bharat (Autonomous India). The recent Union budget sanctioned 50,000 crore for research. Bengal led India in the pursuit of knowledge. The world is watching you, Modi said, addressing the students.
At the Kolkata event, Shah patiently watched a program of “songs and dances” about Indian freedom fighters. He later said that millions of people remember Subhas Bose despite efforts to make him forget it. The Center has formed a committee to honor him on the occasion of his 125th birthday not only in India but also abroad. He dominated the Indian civil service, which today’s young people aspire to, but left his post to serve India. He sent a message. He became president of the Congress party twice and on one of those occasions he went against the will of Bapuji (Gandhi). We may not die for the nation like freedom fighters, but we can live for it, Shah said.
The Trinamool Congress was quick to react with Saugata Roy, a member of the Lok Sabha party, alleging that Modi and Shah both fall short of the secular idealism that Tagore and Bose stood for.
They build the Ram temple and differentiate between high caste and low caste Hindus. They are mentally and ideologically incapable of talking about such icons. The later stanzas of Jana Gana Mana, our national anthem, or the Tagores poem “Bharattirtha” focus on a universal society where caste and creed do not exist. Likewise, Bose made the Azad Hind Fauz or Indian National Army an ideal vehicle for secularism where General Shah Nawaz Khan was the second in command, Roy said.
Sujan Chakraborty of CPI (M), leader of the left parties in the State Assembly, said: Are Modi and Shah living the spirit of universal brotherhood that Tagore and Bose support? The BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh represent an entirely different ideology. Tagore believed in freedom of thought and expression while Bose believed in a classless society.
Veteran columnist and political commentator Suvashsis Maitra said: “It’s good if top BJP leaders talk about Bengal’s rich heritage, but some specific things need to be done.
Why does the Center not declare its position on the report of the Commission of Judge Manoj Mukherjee that the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had put in place to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Boses? The commission said he did not die in the plane crash. The Center should also report what happened to the research on the Indian National Army that historian Pratul Chandra Gupta was asked to do by the Center in 1956. The manuscript is missing, ”Maitra said.
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