PM Narendra Modi speech at Dussehra rally in Lucknow has cemented his position as a statesman, rather than a member of a particular party (BJP), and community (Hindus). PM Modi has been criticised by the entire opposition for attending the rally expecting that he would do a lot of chest thumping in an effort to gain political mileage from the surgical strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in the soon-to-be-held assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
But far from that, PM Narendra Modi did not make even one mention of it, focussing instead on the scourge of evil and exhorting the public to kill the ‘Ravan’ within us that makes us contemplate and do evil. There was no nationalistic fervour, nor any act that sought to milk the occasion for votes.
Starting his speech in Lucknow with a ‘Jai Shri Ram, Jai, Jai Shri Ram’, PM Modi said that on this Vijay Dashmi (which is celebration of triumph of truth over untruth, righteousness over evil on Dussehra) people must resolve to fight all that is wrong in society. He did this by equating every wrong within us and outside in others with Ravan and exhorted us to destroy it wherever it arises or is present. Whether this is ‘gandagi’ (dirt) in our homes or the rampant evil of killing the girl child in the mother’s womb or even terrorism, the people of India must resolve to end all such evils whenever we are faced with them.
Far from asking for votes and looking for political mileage, PM Modi said that during Dussehra every year we should do some ‘hisab-kitab’ (take account) about how many ‘buraiya’ (wicked, bad things/habits) we have ended in our own lives as well as elsewhere. PM Modi said this in his inimitable way that he has with phrases, “We should resolve to end 10 evils – Duss (10) ehra.” He added that we must fight the Ravan within us that makes us do wrong.
Taking the names of each and every religion prevalent in the country, PM Modi said that the topic of this Dussehra is ‘terrorism’. He went into a lengthy recounting of the Ramayana tale when Ravan first abducted Sita and was flying off with her to Lanka. He was then challenged by Jatayu (Garuda bird). He kept fighting Ravan even though he was grievously injured and was ultimately killed. PM Modi asked, “Who was the first to fight against terror?” He answered himself saying, “The first to fight terror was Jatayu. And like him, the 150 cr people of the country must play the role of Jatayu.”
PM Modi said, “If we focus on all acts of terror, then terrorists will not be able to exist anywhere.”
PM Modi then continued to espouse his view on bringing Ramayana lessons into our lives in the 21st century. He said, ” We have burned one Ravan for abducting Sita. But have we thought about us? Have we thought of all those times when all those Sitas that are killed in their mothers’ wombs? That is also caused by the Ravan within us. We need to burn this Ravan within us that makes us do this crime.”
So, no one was expecting a speech by PM Modi where he was not sending any political message, just exhorting the people to unite against terror. This speech in Lucknow is likely to go a long way I establishing his credentials as a pan-India statesman, who speaks for his country and not any one part of it.