Nine years under Modi an era of ‘cultural rejuvenation’: Meghwal

Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture highlights efforts ranging from the prominence given to unsung heroes of the freedom struggle to the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya

June 12, 2023 06:18 pm | Updated 06:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI

(From Left) Arjun Ram Meghwal, Delhi BJP Chief Virendra Sachdeva seen during a press conference, in New Delhi on Monday.

(From Left) Arjun Ram Meghwal, Delhi BJP Chief Virendra Sachdeva seen during a press conference, in New Delhi on Monday. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday termed the period of nine years from 2014 to the present, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi being at the helm of affairs, as an era of “cultural rejuvenation”, highlighting efforts ranging from the prominence given to unsung heroes of the freedom struggle to the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The Minister of State for Law (Independent Charge), Arjun Ram Meghwal, who also holds additional charge as Minister of State in the Ministry of Culture, held a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, stating that 231 idols stolen from India had been brought back from different countries since 2014, while only 13 of them had been retrieved in the period from Independence to the BJP Government taking over at the Centre nine years ago. “This shows the speed and scale of the government’s work,” Mr. Meghwal said.

He accused the previous Congress Governments at the Centre of ignoring icons like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B.R. Ambedkar, and noted that the Modi Government had built the ‘Statue of Unity’ to immortalise India’s first Home Minister, and developed the “panch-teerth” (five pilgrimages) associated with the architect of the Indian Constitution.

“It is not a coincidence that a grand Ram temple is being built when this government is at the helm,” he said and, in this context, also mentioned the development of the Kashi-Vishwanath corridor in Varanasi and the Mahakal corridor in Ujjain, and the inauguration of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor and celebration of the 550th and 350th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh. “We can call it an era of cultural rejuvenation,” Mr. Meghwal said of the 2014-2023 period.

Targeting previous dispensations, he said the English King George V’s statue had been kept under a canopy in India Gate till 1968. Even when the statue was removed amid persistent demands, the canopy remained, reminding people of the English ruler, he said, noting that the government had placed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s statue there.

To a question, Mr. Meghwal hit back at the Congress over the Sengol row during the inauguration of the new Parliament building. “It [the Congress party] first claimed that there was no ceremony of handing over such a sceptre to first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru,” he said, claiming that some opposition leaders had also alleged that the ceremony encouraged Brahminism.

“Both claims were later found to be wrong,” he said, noting that ‘Adheenam’ priests associated with the ceremony were not Brahmins. Rahul Gandhi, he added, claimed that the ceremony denoted a coronation, whereas it in fact “underscored the spirit of duties for a government”.

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