Big powers have disappeared, big storms have calmed down, but India still stands immortal and is moving ahead,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Even today we think of the development and welfare of the whole world,” he said.
Addressing the nation on the 400th birth anniversary of Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur from Red Fort, Modi said India has never posed a threat to any country or society and asserted the country follows the ideals of standing up to tyranny and service to the people.
“We think of the welfare of the whole world. When we talk of ‘atmanirbhar’ India, we have global progress in mind. When India develops, it has global wellbeing at heart,” the PM said.
Modi is the first Prime Minister of India to address the nation from Red Fort after sunset. The event in honor of the ninth Sukh Guru was historic as it was the same place from which the Guru’s execution was ordered by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The execution had taken place just opposite where Gurdwara Sisganj stands now. His address sent the unambiguous message that the Indian state under the current Government identifies itself with the Sikh tradition of service of the people irrespective of caste and creed and not with the bigotry of the Mughal state.
“In front of Aurangzeb’s tyrannical thinking, Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, becoming ‘Hind di Chadar’, stood like a rock,” Modi said. “Red Fort is witness that Aurangzeb and tyrants like him might have beheaded many people but our faith could not be separated from us,” he said.
The Prime Minister lauded the dedication of the Sikh community and pushed for a self-reliant India and reminded us that the growth and development of the country and service of the poor and the needy were the duty of every Indian.
Referring to India’s neutral role in the recent Ukraine crisis, he said India stood firm amid raging global rivalries and continued to strive for peace. “We are moving ahead on the path shown by the Sikh Gurus and never posed danger to any country.
“This land is not only a country but it is our great heritage, a great tradition,” Modi said, adding that, “it has been enriched by our sages and gurus with hundreds of thousands of years of penance.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that the Citizenship Amendment Act brought by his Government paved the way for Indian citizenship for the families of Sikhs and other minorities who came from neighboring countries. By opening the Kartarpur Corridor the Government exhibited its commitment to “Guru Sewa” and by retrieving Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan, it showed its commitment to preserving Indian culture. “Our Government is making continuous efforts to connect the pilgrimages of Sikh tradition,” said the PM. His address marked the culmination of a two-day mega event organized by the Union Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
The event was officially inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah with many chief ministers in attendance. The Prime Minister’s address was a strong message against “religious fanaticism”, with an eye on Jammu and Kashmir where Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are trying to disrupt his move to build a prosperous New Kashmir through the process of inclusive development.
The PM also had a global perspective in mind. He wanted to showcase the country’s treatment of minority communities at a time when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was visiting India. Modi himself is likely to visit Europe next month.