Today's Paper

Saints laid the foundation for India’s freedom struggle: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the blessings of Shivakumar Swami of Siddaganga Mutt in Mysuru on Saturday. Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami of Suttur Mutt and Siddeshwar Swami are present.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the foundation for India’s freedom struggle was laid during the awakening created by the country’s saints in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Speaking after inaugurating the birth centenary celebrations of Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Mahaswami in Mysuru on Saturday, Mr. Modi said the awakening created in society by the saints during this period was responsible for the freedom movement gaining momentum in the 20th century. The “flame” of the first war of Independence in 1857 was sparked off from the awakening of the “society’s soul” by the saints during the preceding centuries of the Bhakti era, Mr. Modi said. He regretted that a section of society in the country were criticising the tradition of saints. “Mahatma Gandhi, who was not regarded as a politician, continued the tradition of the saints and that is why he was called the Mahatma,” Mr. Modi said. “From time to time, certain evils and wrong traditions gained roots in society. And, it was the saints who fought against all odds to drive out the evil, and reformed society,” Mr. Modi said.