Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said politics can wait but development cannot, and asserted that development should not be seen through the political prism.
Attending an Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) event via video conferencing, Modi also released a special postal stamp to mark the centenary celebrations of the university. This is the first time in five decades that a prime minister has attended an AMU event as the chief guest.
The last time a prime minister attended an event at AMU was Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964. Before him, then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had visited the AMU four times.
Nehru had visited the campus for first time in 1948, when an honorary doctorate was conferred on him at the annual convocation, followed by visits in 1955, 1960 and 1963.
Here is highlights of PM Modi's address to the AMU community:
In his address, the prime minister remarked that developmental issues should not be looked at from the political angle. "When we talk about the vision of new India, we should not see the nation's development through a political prism. When we come together for a larger objective, then it is possible that some elements get disturbed. Such elements can be found in any society of the world. They have their own vested interests. They will do anything to fulfil their vested interests and spread negativity," he said.
Modi said that politics can wait, but development cannot. "But when the thought of building new India will be supreme in our minds and hearts, then spaces of these people will shrink. Politics can wait, society can wait but the country's development cannot wait. Poor and exploited people and youth don't want to wait. Due to differences, the nation has already lost time in the last century. Now we don't have time to waste. Everyone has to move towards building a self-reliant India," he said.
The Prime Minister said that resources of the country belong to every citizen and every one of them should benefit from it. "The country is on the path where every citizen should rest assured about their constitutional rights and their future. The country is on the path where no citizen would be left behind because of their religion and everyone would get equal opportunities so that everyone can fulfil their dreams. Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas is the mantra behind it," he said.
He said that there may be ideological differences but the new India will offer common ground to all, as was the case during the freedom struggle. "There is need to have a common ground to build a new india, that (ground) is Atmanirbhar Bharat," he said.
Modi noted with satisfaction that the dropout rate of Muslim girl students has reduced in the past few years. The Prime Minister congratulated the university for increasing the number of female students to 35 per cent, adding that the government had provided 1 crore scholarships for such students. Education leads to employment and entrepreneurship which in turn results in economic independence, he pointed out.
Modi said that during the pandemic, the AMU served the needy and even donated money in the PM-CARES fund to show their responsibility towards the nation. Hailing the university for promoting diversity, the Prime Minister also said that it was one of the strengths of the country.
The AMU had helped India strengthen its relations with Muslim countries and nearly 1,000 foreign students were currently on its rolls. The Prime Minister said that the university should strengthen its soft power.
Modi added that the malpractice of triple talaq has ended and the country was moving ahead after the ban on the practise.
PM Modi also released a postal stamp as part of centenary celebrations of AMU.