Maharishi Dayanand removed evils falsely attributed to religion with light of religion itself: PM

Modi hails Arya Samaj founder as ‘saviour who dispelled the notion of any deficiency in the traditions and scriptures of India’; he also releases logo for the two-year-long celebrations commemorating the social reformer’s 200th birth anniversary

Published - February 12, 2023 08:47 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at the year-long celebrations commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, in New Delhi on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at the year-long celebrations commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, in New Delhi on Sunday. | Photo Credit: ANI

Kicking off the two-year-long celebrations commemorating Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati’s 200th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Arya Samaj founder removed “all evils falsely attributed to religion with the light of religion itself”.

The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi where he released a logo for the two-year-long celebrations. He also participated in a yagna during the ceremony. 

The PM said that Maharishi Dayanand’s 200th birth anniversary being celebrated during India’s Amrit Kaal [lead-up to 100 years of Independence] was a “sacred inspiration”. “In this era of discord, violence and instability, the path shown by Maharishi Dayanand gives hope,” he added.

Mr. Modi further said Maharishi Dayanand was born in an era when false interpretation of Vedas was used to belittle India and its traditions were being deformed as part of efforts to “crush the ideals, culture and roots” of the nation. In these times, the PM said, Maharishi Dayanand came as a saviour “as he dispelled the notion of any deficiency in the traditions and scriptures of India; he pointed out that their real meaning was forgotten”.

Mr. Modi spoke of Maharishi Dayanand’s campaigns against social ills like discrimination and untouchability. “Evils that were falsely attributed to religion, Swami Ji removed them with the light of religion itself,” praised PM Modi.

The Prime Minister said he was fortunate to have been born in the same land as Swami Dayanand in present-day Gujarat and spoke of how his ideals continued to impact his life. The country was now progressing with non-discriminatory policies similar to Swami Dayanand’s teachings, he said.  

Mr. Modi went on to say that the New Education Policy (NEP) had also been designed to modernise education “with a focus on Indianness” and that the country’s wish to follow Swami Dayanand’s teachings is reflected in the fact that people are now “confidently calling for pride in our heritage”. 

“Even in today’s day and age, there are societies which deprive women of their right to education and respect, but it was Maharishi Dayanand who raised his voice when equal rights for women was a far-fetched idea even in western countries,” Mr. Modi stated.

He said that the expansive notion of religion in India went beyond rituals and is an “entire way of life”, adding, “With us, the first interpretation of religion is about duty… service of the poor, backward and downtrodden is the first yagna for the country today.”

The Prime Minister said Maharishi Dayanand took an “inclusive and integrated approach and assumed responsibility and leadership of many dimensions of the nation’s life”. Mr. Modi also spoke of the wider role of sages and saints in Indian life by referring to their works in philosophy, yoga, mathematics, policy, diplomacy, science and medical science. “Swami ji played a big role in reviving that ancient tradition,” the Prime Minister added.

Among the dignitaries present at the event were the Governor of Gujarat, Acharya Devvrat, Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy, Ministers of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal and Meenakshi Lekhi, and representatives of the Delhi Arya Pratinidhi Sabha and other Arya Samaj organisations.

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