Narendra Modi: Country which forgets its history also loses its ability to create history

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 26 2014, 03:56am hrs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stressed on India becoming history-conscious saying only such countries have a potential to create history.

Speaking extempore at a book release function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here this evening, Narendra Modi lauded the attempts of President Pranab Mukherjee and his team in restoring the old heritage and historical facts about the palace.

"We are not that history-conscious society and always believe in hearsay. The country which forgets its history also loses its ability to create history," Modi said.

Referring to the museum in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Prime Minister said India very often is not a history-conscious society and this museum was "an effort to preserve a part of our unique heritage".

He referred to the President as the guiding force who gave the right advice to him like a head of the family. "Like head of the family, he has been guiding me, who is new in the family," Modi said.

Earlier he released two books -- "Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhavan" written by Thomas Mathew, Additional Secretary to the President, and "Indradhanush", a compendium of music, dance and cinematic events organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan since August 2012.

Complimenting the authors, he said their efforts were not mere compilations but creations borne out of their personal experiences.

Expressing happiness over Mukherjee's interest in history, the Prime Minister said the country had got new direction and inspiration from the guidance under his Presidency.

Dwelling on the importance of history in society, the Prime Minister said "only those can create history who know it, understand it and try to live it."

Referring to the book - "The Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhawan" the Prime Minister spoke of the important place birds have enjoyed in India's history, culture and mythology.

Illustrating this with several examples, he said the Garuda Purana spoke of human values that could be gained by taking inspiration from birds.

"The (epic figure) Jataayu in the Ramayana inspires us to fight against terrorism," he said.

In the epic Ramayana, Jataayu was the king of vultures who fought Ravana when he was abducting Sita.

He said birds give inspiration to live in harmony with the nature. "Borders, wind and water are irrelevant for birds," the Prime Minister said, adding humans should learn from birds who make their nests from the waste.

"Thank God that these birds have never studied in architechture colleges otherwise they would also have been making similar types of concrete nests", Modi quipped.

"The birds teach us to make best out of the waste. No bird uproots a plant for his nest. They make it from the waste material available," he said.

On the book Indradhanush which is on the cultural events organized in Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister said the art and culture of India has the potential to attract the world.

Marvelling at the richness of Indian culture, he remarked there were separate 'raaga' for different times of the day.

"While western music shakes your body, Indian music touches the soul of a human being," Modi said and advised art should not be dependent (rajya-aashrit) on the state but promoted (rajya-puruskrit) by the state.

Referring to the need to preserve environment, he said "we have taken our natural resources from the next generation on loan and it is our duty to return them in good condition.

During the function, the President also received first copies of the books--'Thoughts and Reflections' which is a compilation of quotes of the President, 'Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhavan' on the birds of the President's Estate and 'Indradhanush'.

The book 'Thoughts and Reflections' was released by Vice President Md Hamid Ansari and the other two books by Modi.

'Thoughts and Reflections' attempts to capture the essence of the President's thinking and present a spectrum of his ideas and views on India, its culture and values, democracy and its institutions, inclusive development, youth, education, research and innovation.

'Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhavan' captures photos 111 species of birds that inhabit or visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate.

The book adds to the existing literature on the subject, particularly with regard to the President's Estate. For each of the species recorded, the book provides the location, date and time of the sighting. It also carries forward an earlier study done in 2002-03 on 91 species of birds in Rashtrapati Bhavan by the Bombay Natural History Society.

The entire exercise of surveying, spotting and photographing the birds started under the directions of the President who is himself a nature and bird lover.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan has excellent open spaces, forest cover and thousands of fruit-bearing plants and trees that act as a magnet for birds.

'Indradhanush' is a compendium of music, dance and cinematic events organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan since August 2012 which embodies the concept of cultural heritage presented before the President of India.

The book is first in the series of a multi-volume documentation project on various aspects of Rashtrapati Bhavan in collaboration with IGNCA.