If the Hindu female pantheon was likened with a ministry, then education was with goddess Saraswati, money with Lakshmi, security with Mahakali and food security with the goddess Annapurna.
Making this point while addressing women students of the Sacred Heart University on Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India was the only country in the world where god was conceptualised in the female form.
When the British left India, only nine per cent of women were educated. Since then, many initiatives were taken to educate women.
“I have given a lot of encouragement to educate the girl child,” Mr. Modi said. As chief minister of Gujarat for 14 years, he donated Rs. 78 crore raised from the auction of gifts received from different governments for the education of the girl child, the Prime Minister revealed.
“In my cabinet, there are 25 per cent women. Our foreign minister is a woman,” he pointed out.
To a question on India’s commitment to non-proliferation, Mr. Modi replied that India was the land of the Buddha. “And Buddha is the symbol of peace,” he said, adding that India’s independent struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Looking beyond “small” treaties and commitments to them, the Prime Minister said peace and non-violence was in the DNA of Indians.
Asked about Japan and Indian concerns on China, Mr. Modi pointed out that both Japan and India were democratic countries. Rather than focusing on others, we should concentrate on ourselves -- our values, our commitment to peace.
Giving an analogy, Mr. Modi said if there is darkness in the room, someone will go with a broom to sweep it away, someone else will go with a sword, another with a very big blanket.
“But the wise will go with a small lamp, and there would be light,” the Prime Minister stressed. If we focus on building peace and prosperity, then we don’t have to be scared of darkness.
On climate change, the Prime Minister said exploitation of nature was a crime. “At best, you have the right to milk nature. You can milk a cow, but you can’t kill the cow.”
“Climate change? Is this terminology correct? The reality is this that in our family, some people are old... They say this time the weather is colder. And, people’s ability to bear cold becomes less.
“We should also ask is this climate change or have we changed. We have battled against nature. That is why we should live with nature rather than battle it,” he said.
The Prime Minister commended a book written by him on climate change called “Convenient Action” while pointing out that former US Vice-President Al Gore’s book was entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”. The Prime Minister said his book was available online.
Mr. Modi added that he was active on Facebook and Twitter and looked forward to responding to queries from students on social media.