NEW DELHI, Oct 8:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged people to work towards furthering the empowerment of women and ensuring their dignity by taking forward the spirit of Navratra, as he participated in Dussehra festivities in the national capital.
He also said that as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary they should take up the mission of not wasting food, conserving energy and water and avoiding single-use plastic.
He exhorted the people to kill the demon within “if we really want to feel Lord Ram”, stressing that “defeating our weaknesses is our duty”.
He said in a country where goddesses are worshipped during Navratra, people should take the spirit forward by working towards furthering the empowerment of women as well as protecting their dignity.
Prime Minister Modi was speaking at a Dussehra event organised at Dwarka where giant effigies of demon king Ravana and those of Kumbhakarna and Meghanad were burnt, signifying the triumph of good over evil.
Greeting people on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said India is a land of festivals. “Festivals are the life of our country. This Diwali we should felicitate our daughters who have achieved something or who have inspired others,” he said.
“Festivals connect us, fill us with enthusiasm and make us dream. Festivals are essence of social life in India. All forms of art like song, dance and drama are inseparably connected with festivals of our country,” he said.
“That’s why the Indian tradition gives birth to human beings and not robots. Festivals around the year also keep people away from club culture. These festivals bring out the qualities of humanity and sensitivity within us,” Modi said.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated his call to launch a campaign to honour daughters who have made a mark in various fields for public good. He earlier made a similar appeal in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address.
The Prime Minister also noted that Air Force Day was being is being celebrated today and said the country is phenomenally proud of the IAF.
“The way the ‘prakram’ (valour) of our air force has reached new heights…. Today is Vijayadashmi and when we remember Lord Hanuman, we should specially remember the air force and its brave personnel. We should extend our greetings to them for their bright future,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister began and concluded his speech with the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
Modi applied ’tilak’ on the forehead of participants playing the role of Ram, Sita and Lakshman at the stage.
The 107-ft effigy of the demon king Ravana and those of Kumbhakarna and Meghanad were prepared with green crackers, said chairman of Dwarka Sri Ramleela Society Rajesh Gehlot.
BJP’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma told reporters that the stage from where Prime Minister Modi took aim at the effigy of Ravana was modelled on the proposed Ram temple at Ayodhya.
The four entry and exit points of DDA Ground, were given shape of India.
Huge LCD screens were put up outside the ground for people to watch the torching of effigies, as organisers expected a record crowd inside due to presence of Modi.
This is the first time that PM Modi celebrated Dussehra at Dwarka and not at the Ramleela Maidan where top dignitaries usually participate in the festivities.
In 2016, Modi celebrated Dussehra in Lucknow. (PTI)