Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that an education system based on Indian values is the need of the hour, while virtually addressing an event organized on the 200th birth anniversary of Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati at his birthplace Tankara in Gujarat’s Morbi district.
Modi praised the advocate for social change who urged Indian society to embrace the Vedas during a period when people were ensnared in servitude and superstitions prevailed throughout the country.
“An education system based on Indian values is the need of the hour. Arya Samaj schools have been a centre for this. The country is now expanding it through the National Education Policy. It is our responsibility to connect the society with these efforts,” PM Modi said.
He stated that Swami Dayanand Saraswati was born during a period when Indians were ensnared in both colonial rule and societal injustices.
“Swami Dayanandji then told the country how our stereotypes of orthodoxy and superstitions had engulfed the country, and weakened our scientific thinking. These social evils had attacked our unity,” the PM added.
“A section of the society was continuously moving away from the Indian culture and spirituality. In such times, Swami Dayanandji called for returning to the Vedas,” he further said.
The Prime Minister stated that Maharshi Dayanand was not only a global wise person but also a wise person who contributed to national awareness. He emphasized that Dayanand Saraswati's arrival had a significant impact on those who sought to justify British rule by highlighting social issues and making the Indian people feel inferior.
The founder of Arya Samaj provided a rational interpretation of the Vedas, openly criticized traditional beliefs, and clarified the true essence of Indian philosophy, as per his statement.
“The result was that confidence started returning in the society. People started knowing the Vedic religion and started connecting with its teachings,” Modi said.
Revolutionaries such as Lala Lajpat Rai, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Swami Shraddhanand, who were inspired by the Arya Samaj, emerged as leaders during that time.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the 200th anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati's birth coincides with India's early stage of Amrit Kaal.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati envisioned a prosperous future for India, and he urged us all to lead India towards modernity in this era and transform it into a developed nation.
Modi urged the Arya Samaj, an organization that oversees over 2,500 educational institutions and instructs students in over 400 gurukuls, to enthusiastically engage in nation-building efforts during the current decade of the 21st century.
“The DAV (Dayanand Anglo Vedic) institution is a living memory and inspiration for Maharshi Dayanand. We will continue to strengthen it to pay tribute to Maharshi Dayanand,” he said.
In his era, Swami Dayanand promoted the idea of gender equality in society. He discussed women's rights and their involvement, and today, Mr. Modi noted that the country is advancing women through new policies and sincere efforts.
“Just a few months ago, the country facilitated women’s reservation in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies through the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. It will be a true tribute to Maharishi today,” the Prime Minister mentioned.
He also urged students in the DAV educational network to engage with 'Mera Yuva Bharat', an independent organization established by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India, which serves the youth of the nation.
PM Modi stated that the commemoration would serve as a significant way to link the younger generation with the legacy of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati.
The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude for being born in Gujarat, the birthplace of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, and for his close connection to Haryana. He also mentioned that working in the state was his karmabhoomi.
“So, naturally he has a different influence and role in my life,” Modi concluded.