Prime Minister of Culture, Narendra Modi, by becoming the pioneer of cultural renaissance of India, not only preserved the culture but also by taking unprecedented and unique initiatives for its renaissance, has once again given liveliness, Himalayan height and sea-like depth to the culture of India. Since ancient times, India has been considered the center of knowledge related to spirituality, art, science and technology in the world. In between, there came a period when foreign rulers and the colonial era caused huge damage to many of India’s glorious culture and rich heritage that they could not be revived till date. It was unfortunate that such conditions persisted even after independence. An environment of public awareness should be created on eternal issues like India’s culture, glorious heritage and rich history in the assembly elections being held in five states and the Lok Sabha elections to be held early next year.
Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the government has made unique efforts for cultural renaissance under the slogan of ‘Development as well as Heritage too’. The Prime Minister has attached utmost importance to the task of preserving and promoting Indian knowledge systems, traditions and cultural ethos at the national and international level. The construction of a grand temple at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, the renovation of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and the construction of the Mahakal Corridor in Ujjain have again highlighted important aspects of our ancient history. Along with this, the return of artefacts and sculptures that reached abroad through theft and loot is a moment of pride for Indian heritage, which is also a symbol of regret from various countries. Such important works are being imprinted in the memory of the country as permanent evidence of our rich cultural heritage. The works of providing nectar and shade to the cultural splendor in the golden period of independence are becoming a symbol of New India – Strong India.
In his effective and successful second reign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has worked to connect India’s cultural and spiritual heritage with the unity of the country. Through his unwavering commitment towards religion, he has started many such programs which are taking India towards a bright future with better opportunities. Be it Yoga Day, Non-Violence Day, chairmanship of G-20 or with historic and unique initiatives like International Year of Millets programme, Prime Minister Modi has proved to be a leader who is strongly connected to his cultural roots and strengthens the culture. These are giving it new dimensions. His visit to Kedarnath every year, celebrating Diwali with the soldiers, cordial relations with the Bohra community and leaders of different religions reflect the initiatives of India’s diverse cultural renaissance. His unwavering fight against corruption and nepotism, the criminalization of politics, amid social and communal divisions and propaganda, is crucial in liberating India from elite dominance. Today India is in the most awakened state of the twenty-first century. It would be superficial to see the immense faith behind this divinity of the nation as mere political will. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has excelled in every aspect of good governance and made India the leading democracy in the world in the fields of spirituality, technology, culture, science and economy. Modi’s announcement to celebrate the martyrdom of four sons of the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh as ‘Veer Bal Diwas’ was also a much-awaited and historic step. The construction and opening of the new Parliament building has also brought back memories of India’s golden age.
After decades of neglect, various cultural and religious sites with India’s long civilizational history have been revived through conservation, restoration and development projects. The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and several other projects in Varanasi have transformed the streets, ghats and temple complexes of the city. Similarly, projects like Mahakal Lok Project in Ujjain and Maa Kamakhya Corridor in Guwahati are expected to enrich the experience of pilgrims visiting the temple, provide them world-class facilities as well as boost tourism and local economy. In a historic moment, the bhoomi pujan of the Ram temple as a national temple took place in August 2020 in Ayodhya and now the grand temple will be ready by the beginning of 2024.
The center of Indian culture is Hinduism, which is not just a religion but a comprehensive way of life. The ethos of Indian culture is aligned with the principles of Hinduism and its core philosophy of coexistence and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Hinduism has provided the foundation on which various sub-cultures have emerged and evolved over time, contributing to the rich image of Indian cultural heritage. Throughout history, India’s culture has faced challenges from invaders and colonizers who aimed to destroy its cultural fabric. Islamic invaders targeted temples, which were not only places of worship but also centers of education, art, dance, music and culture. Despite these challenges, India’s cultural resilience has stood the test of time. We are seeing big and clear changes taking place in the overall attitude towards religion. From geopolitics to our foreign policy, the unification of the ‘Indian consciousness’ and the emphasis on ‘we’ has had a tremendous impact on how the world views India.
The Prime Minister inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of several projects in Somnath, Gujarat, including the Somnath Promenade, Somnath Exhibition Center and the renovated temple complex of Old (Juna) Somnath. Similarly, the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor and the Integrated Chowk Post was a significant occasion, making it easier for devotees to pay obeisance at the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. Preserving the Himalayan and Buddhist cultural heritage also features prominently in the government’s efforts. As part of the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the government has launched 76 projects aimed at developing thematic circuits showcasing the diverse cultural heritage of India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only a spiritual and scientific leader, he is also a staunch supporter of women’s rights, a big example of which is his stand against the social evil of triple talaq. His commitment towards gender equality is proved by Modi’s statement – ‘India is strong because its daughters are strong.’ Recently, he has ensured respectable participation of women in politics by passing the Nari Vandan Bill in the special parliamentary session. In his mission to make India ‘Akhand Bharat’ soon, there is a glimpse of a self-made leader in him. The success of the G-20 summit also shows that India’s culture, diversity and civilization is again taking new life in the global arena. The gifts given by Prime Minister Modi to the foreign guests coming to this summit are also a reflection of India’s rich cultural heritage. The thought put into choosing these gifts should also be appreciated. He has stood the test of time as a leader who has taken his country not only on the global stage but also on a path that was beyond it. India’s Chandrayaan-3 created history. India became the first country in the world to land its lander on the South Pole of the Moon. Not only this, after a week India also launched its first mission Aditya L-1 to study the Sun. Under his leadership, India has emerged as a strong leader on the global stage by becoming the 5th largest economy in the world.
(The author is a senior journalist and columnist)