Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday extended the season’s greetings to people, urging them to be a little cautious while enjoying the festivals, given that there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in many countries.
“I wish you all the best for the year 2023. May this year also be special for the country, may the country keep touching new heights, and together we have to take a resolution as well as make it come true,” Mr. Modi said during his “Mann Ki Baat” radio address. “In 2023, we have to take the enthusiasm of G-20 to new heights, make this event a mass movement,” he said.
Wishing all a “Merry Christmas”, Mr. Modi said it was a day to remember the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He also paid tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary.
Mr. Modi said the country gained a new momentum in 2022, becoming the world’s fifth largest economy; surpassing the figure of 220 crore vaccines; crossing the exports figure of $400 billion; adopting the resolution of “self-reliant India”; welcoming the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant; and achieving new landmarks in various fields, including space, drone technology, defence, and sports.
“The people of the country also organised many amazing events to celebrate unity and togetherness, be it the Madhavpur Mela in Gujarat, where Rukmini’s marriage and Lord Krishna’s relationship with the Northeast is celebrated, or the Kashi-Tamil Sangamam — many colours of unity were visible in these festivals...who can forget the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign organised in the month of August!” he said.
Mr. Modi said on December 26, “Veer Bal Diwas”, he would participate in a programme dedicated to the martyrdom of Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh in Delhi.
Taking up the issue of evidence-based research, the Prime Minister said Yoga and Ayurveda were now standing up to the touchstone of tests of the modern era. He said the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai had found that regular yoga practice reduced the risk of recurrence and death in breast cancer patients by 15%.
The Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research, under Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, published a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology describing the benefits of Yoga for patients suffering from syncope. Similarly, in a paper of the Neurology Journal on migraine, the benefits of Yoga was explained. “...studies are being done regarding the benefits of yoga in many other diseases as well,” Mr. Modi said.
At the recent World Ayurveda Congress in Goa, attended by delegates from over 40 countries, more than 550 scientific papers were presented. Around 215 companies, including from India, displayed their products. “The way we all are seeing the power of Yoga and Ayurveda in this time of the corona global pandemic, evidence-based research related to these will prove to be very significant,” he said.
Mr. Modi said that with everyone’s efforts, the disease called kala azar was now being eradicated rapidly and the country was also working towards eradication of tuberculosis by 2025.
The Prime Minister also shared his thoughts on the “Namami Gange” campaign launched about eight years ago. The United Nations has included the mission in the world’s top 10 initiatives to restore ecosystems, he said. “A lot of improvement is also being seen in biodiversity...there has been a significant increase in the number of different species of Hilsa fish, Gangetic dolphin, and turtles. With the Ganga’s ecosystem being clean, other livelihood opportunities are also increasing,” Mr. Modi said.
On the countrywide cleanliness drive, the Prime Minister praised Sange Sherpa of Sikkim’s Thegu village, who has been engaging in the work of environmental protection for the past 14 years. Supported by fellow villagers, he had taken up the task of keeping the Tsomgo (Somgo) lake clean.
Mr. Modi said the government had also undertaken extensive cleanliness drives. “In the past, even the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting made a lot of effort in its offices in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Shillong, [and] in many cities and because of that, today, they have two-three floors available completely in usage anew,” he said.
Stating that there was a new awareness among the citizens about the country’s art and culture, Mr. Modi mentioned the Kummel Brothers Challengers Club in Lakshadweep’s Kalpeni island, where the youth trained in the local art of Kolkali, Parichakli, Kilipaat, and traditional songs. “Recently, news came in from Dubai that the Kalari club there has registered its name in the Guinness Book of World Records...actually, this record is related to Kalaripayattu, the ancient martial art of India..,” Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister appreciated the works of Quemashree from Gadak, who has been working on the revival of art and culture in Karnataka. He also talked about skilled bamboo artisans, particularly women in tribal areas, who make many beautiful products that are finding markets even in Europe.