- PM Modi said development should not be seen through political prism
- He added: "Politics can wait but development cannot"
- The remarks were seen in the context of the month-long farmer protests
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said development should not be seen through the political prism and when it came to the nation's progress, ideological differences must be secondary.
Addressing the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on its centenary celebrations, PM Modi said the nation was on a path today where everyone, irrespective of religion, was assured of their constitutional rights and their future and where no community was left behind. The government's schemes for the poor are reaching all sections "without any religious bias", he asserted.
"The country is heading towards a path where all citizens get the benefits of development without any bias. We are heading to a path where no one is left behind because of religion and everyone is able to fulfill their dreams," said the Prime Minister.
"Whatever religion we are born in, it is important to see how to blend our aspirations with national goals. There can be ideological divides in society but when it comes to the nation's development, everything else is secondary. When it comes to the nation, there is no question of ideological differences. It is logical for me to say this here because AMU produced many freedom fighters - they had their ideological differences but they set that aside for freedom. Like freedom united them, we have to work on common ground for 'Naya Bharat'."
The country's progress should not be seen through a political prism, PM Modi stressed. "Yes, when we come together for this goal, some elements will feed negativity. But when our thoughts are focused on a new India foremost, then such elements will have diminished space. Politics and society can wait but the country's development cannot wait. In the last century, a lot of time has been lost over differences. There is no more time to lose." The remarks were seen in the context of the month-long farmer protests on the borders of Delhi against three central laws.
PM Modi said in the past six years, his government's Swachh Bharat programme had facilitated the construction of toilets and helped reduce the school dropout rate of Muslim girls. He also referred to the law banning Triple Talaq. "There was a time when the dropout rate of our Muslim daughters was over 70 per cent. This was a big impediment to the development of Muslims. For 70 years, over 70 per cent of Muslim daughters were forced to drop out. The government got toilets made in schools. The Muslim girls' dropout rate has reduced to 30 per cent now," he said.
The Prime Minister also described the university as a "mini-India" and said: "A lot of people tell me the AMU campus is like a city in itself - thousands of teachers, lakhs of students... it's like a mini-India. While on one hand you have Urdu education, you also have Hindi; while you have Arabic you also have Sanskrit. This diversity is not just AMU's strength but also that of India. We should not forget this or let it weaken. We have to ensure that the feeling of 'one India' carries on in the university."
The Prime Minister addressed the iconic university via video link after releasing a special postage stamp to mark its centenary. This was the first time in five decades that a prime minister was chief guest at AMU. The last Prime Minister to participate in an event at AMU was Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964. India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also visited the university more than once.