Aligarh (UP), Dec 22 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said ideological and political differences should be set aside for the sake of development and assured that nobody will be left behind in the path to progress because of their religion.
“Politics can wait, society can wait. But the country’s development cannot wait,” he said at the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University, which he called “mini-India” and lauded for its diversity.
Modi said the country is now moving on a path where people would get the benefits of development without any bias, and where they are assured of their constitutional rights.
“The country today is moving on a path where nobody should be left behind because of their religion,” he added.
He said the government’s welfare scheme have benefitted everyone without discrimination, following the “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” motto.
Listing some of them, he said, “What belongs to the country belongs to every citizen. Everybody should get it.” In the address delivered through video conference, he said development should not be seen through the prism of politics.
'We have to understand that politics is an important aspect of society. But in society there are also issues other than politics,” Modi said.
He released a postage stamp commemorating 100 years of AMU.
He said there is space beyond ‘siyasat’ (politics) and ‘satta’ (power), which should be explored by campuses like AMU. “It is natural to have differences in society. But when the issue is securing national goals, these differences should be set aside.” Modi listed economic development, education, standard of living and nationalism (`rastravaad’) among the common goals.
“These are some of the issues on which we cannot differ in the name of our political or ideological (vaicharik) compulsions,” he said.
This was the first time in over five decades that a prime minister participated in an AMU event, after Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964.
The PM’s address also comes against the backdrop of sporadic protests by AMU student groups in past months over issues like the new Citizenship Amendment Act, and the targeting of the campus by some BJP leaders.
He said when people come together for the goal of development, some elements may feel uneasy.
“Such elements are found in every society in the world. These are people who have self-interest and to fulfil it they can adopt any device and all types of negativity', the PM said.
But the space occupied by such people will shrink when the goal is to make a new India, he said.
Modi said the poor, the deprived and the youth do not want to wait any longer. “We should not waste time on 'matbhed' (differences) and move forward on common ground to build a new India, that is 'Atmanirbar Bharat',' he said, stressing “self-reliance”.
'We have to work unitedly to ensure that the feeling of 'Ek Bharat, Shresth Bharat' (One India, Great India) gets strengthened day by day on the AMU campus,' he said, lauding the university.
He called AMU 'mini India'. Urdu and Hindi, Arabic and Sanskrit are all taught on the campus, he said. Along with Quran, the translations of Gita and Ramayana are kept in the library.
'This diversity is the country’s strength. We have to neither forget it nor let it get weakened,' he said.
He said over 1,000 foreign students are studying at AMU and it is important to showcase the country’s greatness to them.
On the Swachh Bharat campaign, he claimed that with the construction of lakhs of toilets the rate of Muslim girls dropping out of schools has reduced sharply.
Over one crore Muslim girls have also been given scholarships, he said. He said 35 per cent of the students in AMU are women, and congratulated the university for this.
The prime minister said the government is working on increasing opportunities in higher education, and gave statistics showing the rise in the number of institutes since the BJP-led government came to power in 2014.
The PM advised AMU scholars to conduct research on unknown freedom fighters and highlight their contribution.
Modi said AMU has produced great personalities over the past 100 years and has shaped the lives of many.
He also praised AMU’s efforts in fighting coronavirus by conducting free COVID-19 tests, setting up a plasma bank and contributing to the PM Care fund.
Education Minister Ram Pokhriyal 'Nishank', AMU chancellor Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin and vice chancellor Tariq Mansoor also addressed the virtual event.
Before Modi, Lal Bahadur Shastri attended an AMU event as prime minister in 1964.
Earlier, Jawaharlal Nehru visited the campus four times, beginning with 1948 when an honorary doctorate was conferred on him at the annual convocation. This was followed by visits in 1955, 1960 and 1963. PTI ABN SMI DV ASH ASH