Moving away from the convention of celebrating Dussehra at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attended the Ramlila celebrations in Lucknow. Without naming Pakistan and without mentioning the surgical strikes, he laid a great deal of emphasis on the imperative of the unity of mankind to fight terrorism.
“Terrorism does not have any boundaries, it does not respect any values… A need has arisen to root out those who spread terrorism. Those who help terrorists and provide shelter to them can no longer be spared,” he said in a clear reference to Pakistan.
“Terrorism is against humanity. The entire world is being destroyed… It is a virus affecting our societies. All forces across the world have to talk in one voice and end it. It will not be possible to save humanity without eradicating terrorism,” the Prime Minister said.
Unsurprisingly, the theme of this year’s Dussehra in Lucknow was destruction of terrorism. Modi was presented a Sudarshan Chakra, bow and arrow, and a mace at the event.
The Delhi event at Ramlila Maidan was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“No one should have this misunderstanding that they are safe from terrorism as terrorism has no boundary, no morality, it can go anywhere and it is bent upon crushing humanity… It is essential for all to come together against terrorism,” Modi said.
In his speech, Modi recalled his meeting with a top US official way back in 1992-93. The American official, downplaying the problem of terrorism, had termed it as a law and order issue. The world’s perspective towards terrorism changed after 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the Prime Minister said.
He said that Lord Ram represented humanity and its rich values and traditions.
Modi lauded the mythological bird Jatayu for fighting against the mighty Ravan to protect a helpless Sita.
Noting that war at times becomes inevitable due to prevailing circumstances, he said India is a country which follows the principles of peace as taught by Lord Buddha.
The Prime Minister regarded the evils of casteism, communalism, nepotism, female feticide, etc., as various facets of Ravans. “We have pledged to burn Ravan’s effigy every year for abducting Sita. But we continue to discriminate between the male and female child. It should end. Who will end the Ravans inside us that kills many Sitas inside a mother’s womb” We should stop killing Sitas in this 21st century,” he said.
He commended women athletes brought laurels to the country in the recently-held Rio Olympics, adding that they are a fine example of what girls can achieve.