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After centuries of waiting…: PM Modi makes Ram Temple pitch at Dussehra celebrations

New Delhi: In his Dussehra speech on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Ram Temple in Ayodhya is a testament to the patience of people.

“We are fortunate enough to witness the construction of Ram Temple and on the next Ram Navami in Ayodhya, every note echoing in Ramlala’s temple will bring joy to the world,” Modi said during the Vijayadashami celebrations at the DDA Park in Delhi’s Dwarka.

The construction of the temple, which is scheduled to be completed in a few months time, comes in the midst of several auspicious developments.

Modi spoke of the successful Chandrayaan mission, the inauguration of the new Parliament building, and the passage of the women’s reservation bill. “India is today emerging as the world’s largest democracy as well as the most trusted democracy,” he said.

In his speech, the PM also urged people to fight against the forces that are trying to divide the country with casteism and regionalism. “Dussehra should signal the destruction of ideologies that are against our country’s development. Dussehra should not just be the burning of Ravana’s effigies and Lord Ram’s victory, but also mark the triumph of patriotism over every evil in the country,” Modi said, in an apparent attack on the Opposition which has been making a pitch for population-based reservation for different castes.

Modi also asked people to take 10 pledges, including helping at least one poor family to raise its socio-economic status. The country will become a developed nation when everyone is developed, he said. “As long as there is even a single poor person in the country who does not have basic facilities, we will not rest,” he said.

Modi also urged people to save water, opt for digital transactions, cleanliness, opt for local products and services, domestic tourism, natural farming methods, and promote the consumption of millets.

Referring to the tradition of “shastra pooja” (the worshiping of weapons) tradition on this day, he said weapons in India are not used for annexation but for the defence of one’s territory. “On Indian soil, weapons are worshipped not to dominate any land but to protect its own land … this is not just for us but for the welfare of the entire world,” Modi said.

(Published 24 October 2023, 13:19 IST)

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