Previous governments neglected centres of faith: PM Modi

Dehradun: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused previous governments of leaving centres of faith across the country in a state of neglect and claimed that these places are now being restored to their lost glory.

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Citing examples of the Kashi Vishwanath temple, Ujjain and Ayodhya, where major reconstruction works have been carried out in recent years, Modi attributed the “years of neglect” to a “slave mentality”.

“Slave mentality grips the minds of some people so strongly that they react even to development as if it is a crime,” he said.

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Such people never get tired of praising the centres of faith in other countries but they look down upon their own country’s centres of faith, Modi said.

“Pride in our own legacy and every possible effort for development are the foundations of a 21st century India,” the prime minister said while addressing a gathering in Uttarakhand’s Mana village on the India-China border after laying foundation stones of two ropeway projects to Kedarnath and Hemkund Sahib.

Neglect of the centres of faith for decades by previous governments reflects a disregard for crores of people who believe in them and the country’s culture which is thousands of years old, the prime minister said.

“Our centres of faith are not just structures, they are symbols of our cultural legacy which is thousands of years old. They are our life breath,” Modi said.

Reconstruction work carried out in Kedarnath in recent years is bringing unprecedented number of pilgrims to the Himalayan temple, he said.

“Earlier a maximum of four to five lakh people visited Kedarnath in one season but I am told that this year 45 lakh people have visited the temple, breaking all past records,” Modi said.

“Development projects at the Himalayan centres of faith not only make journey to the temples easier for pilgrims but also generate job opportunities for locals and boost the local economy,” he added.

He appealed to people going on pilgrimages or to the border areas for tourism to spend five per cent of their budget on buying local products, saying the small step could help boost the local economy in a big way.

The prime minister said a ropeway to the Hemkund Sahib gurdwara will be celebrated by followers of the Sikh faith not only in the country but also in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.

He appealed to locals to support the labourers engaged in the construction of ropeway projects as they are in this way serving the almighty.

Modi said Mana is called the last Indian village because of its location but for him every border village in the country is the first village from where the doors of prosperity will open.

He said it is not that he started talking about Mana after becoming the prime minister.

Modi said he had convened a meeting of Uttarakhand BJP’s working committee at Mana 25 years ago, much to the displeasure of party workers who were reluctant to traverse the distance in hilly terrain.

“I told them that the day you understand the significance of Mana, people will give the BJP a permanent place in their hearts. Your blessings have sent the BJP to power for the second time in a row,” he said.

The prime minister said people in the hills are tough and hard working.

They are used to a hard life but that does not mean they should be deprived of development, he said, adding that they deserve facilities enjoyed by people elsewhere.

Denying them development would be an injustice to their capacity for leading a hard life, he said.

Earlier in the day, Modi offered prayers at the famous Kedarnath and Badrinath temples in Uttarakhand.

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