On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that an education system based on Indian principles is urgently required. He was addressing a video conference commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati at his birthplace in Tankara, Gujarat’s Morbi district.
PM Modi praised the social reformer, who advocated for Indian society to return to the Vedas at a time when people were ensnared in slavery and superstitions that prevailed throughout the nation.
“An education system based on Indian values is the need of the hour. Arya Samaj schools have been a centre for this. The country is now expanding it through the National Education Policy. It is our responsibility to connect society with these efforts,” Modi said.
Swami Dayanand was born in Gujarat and was active in Haryana. The Prime Minister spoke about his connection with both regions and acknowledged the profound influence of Swami Dayananda on his life, stating, “his teachings have shaped my perspective, and his legacy remains an integral part of my journey.”
He highlighted the social reformer’s role in awakening India from the shackles of ignorance and superstition, leading a movement to rediscover the essence of Vedic knowledge. “In times when our traditions and spirituality were fading, Swami Dayananda called upon us to ‘Back to Vedas’,” said PM Modi, underscoring Swami’s efforts to provide scholarly commentaries on the Vedas and rational interpretations.
“Our social evils were used as a means by the British government to portray us as inferior. Some justified the British rule by referencing social changes. Swami Dayananda’s advent dealt a severe blow to these conspiracies.”
The Arya Samaj founder gave a logical explanation on the Vedas, openly attacked the stereotypes of orthodoxy and explained what the real nature of Indian philosophy is, he said. “The result was that confidence started returning in society. People started knowing the Vedic religion and started connecting with its teachings,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister continued, “A series of revolutionaries such as Lala Lajpat Rai, Ram Prasad Bismil, and Swami Shraddhanand emerged, influenced by Arya Samaj. Hence, Dayananda Ji was not just a Vedic sage but also a sage of national consciousness.”
Acknowledging the extensive network of Arya Samaj institutions across the globe, Prime Minister Modi said, “With over 2,500 schools, colleges, and universities, and more than 400 gurukuls educating students, Arya Samaj is a vibrant testament to modernity and guidance.” He urged the community to take up the responsibility of nation-building initiatives with renewed vigor in the 21st century. Calling Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) institutions ‘a living memory of Swamiji’, the Prime Minister assured their continued empowerment.
During his era, Swami Dayanand advocated for gender equality in society. He emphasised women’s rights and their active participation. Today, through new policies and sincere efforts, the nation is progressing in women’s empowerment, Modi said.
“Just a few months ago, the country enacted the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, enabling women’s reservation in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. This would be a fitting tribute to Maharishi today,” the Prime Minister added.
He also encouraged students of the DAV educational network to engage with ‘Mera Yuva Bharat’, an autonomous organisation established by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, aimed at empowering the nation’s youth.
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