India correcting mistakes of 20th century
We are fortunate that a series of development works are starting today on this holy day (Radha Ashtami.). It is in our culture that we remember our elders when any auspicious work happens. I am very much feeling the absence of the great son of this soil, late Kalyan Singh ji. Had Kalyan Singh ji been with us today, he would have been very happy to see the emerging profile of Aligarh in the defence sector and the establishment of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University. His soul would be blessing us.
Thousands of years of Indian history is full of such patriots who have given direction to India from time to time with their tenacity and sacrifice. So many great personalities gave their all to our freedom movement. But it was the misfortune of the country that the next generations of the country were not acquainted with the sacrifices of such national heroes and leading ladies after independence. Many generations of the country were deprived of their sagas.
Today the 21st century India is correcting those mistakes of the 20th century. Be it Maharaja Suheldev ji, Deenbandhu Chaudhary Chhotu Ram ji, or now Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji, sincere efforts are being made in the country to acquaint the new generation with their contribution to nation-building. Today, when the country is celebrating 75 years of its independence, the Amrit Mahotsav of independence, these efforts have been given further impetus. This effort to salute the contribution of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh to the independence of India is one such sacrosanct occasion.
Today every youth of the country, who is dreaming big and wants to achieve big goals, must know about Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji. We get to learn the indomitable will and passion to fulfill our dreams from the life of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji. He wanted the independence of India and he devoted every moment of his life to this. Not only did he inspire people by staying in India, he went to every corner of the world for the independence of India. Be it Afghanistan, Poland, Japan, South Africa, he risked his life and committed himself to free Mother India from the shackles.
I would like to tell the youth of my country and listen to me carefully that whenever they find any goal difficult and encounter some difficulties, I request you to keep Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh in your mind and your spirits will be elevated. The way Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji worked for the independence of India with one goal and devotion continues to inspire us.
While talking to you, I am also reminded of another great freedom fighter of the country, the son of Gujarat, Shyamji Krishna Varma ji. During the First World War, Raja Mahendra Pratap ji went to Europe especially to meet Shyamji Krishna Varma ji and Lala Hardayal ji. What was decided in that meeting resulted in the formation of India’s first government-in-exile in Afghanistan. This government was headed by Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji.
I was fortunate that I was successful in bringing the ashes of Shyamji Krishna Varma ji to India after 73 years when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. And if you ever get a chance to visit Kutch, there is a very inspiring memorial of Shyamji Krishna Varma ji in Mandvi, where his ashes are kept and they inspire us to live for Mother India.
Being the Prime Minister of the country, I have once again got this privilege to lay the foundation stone of a university in the name of a visionary and great freedom fighter like Raja Mahendra Pratap ji. This is the great fortune of my life. It is also energetic that you came in such a large number to give your blessings on such a holy occasion and I could also meet you.
Not only did Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji fight for the independence of India, he also contributed actively to building the foundation of the future of India. He used his experiences from his trips abroad to modernize India’s education system. He built a modern technical college in Vrindavan with his own resources by donating his ancestral property. Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh had also given huge land for Aligarh Muslim University. Today, when the 21st century India is moving on the path of education and skill development during Amrit Mahotsav of freedom, the establishment of a university in the name of this worthy son of Ma Bharati is the real tribute to him. Many congratulations to Yogi ji and his entire team for turning this idea into a reality.
This university will not only become a major center of modern education, but will also emerge as a center of modern defence studies, defence manufacturing-related technology and manpower development in the country. The new National Education Policy’s features of skills and education in the local language will benefit the students of this university a great deal.
The efforts of India to become self-reliant in military strength will give a new impetus to the studies in this university. Not only the country, but the entire world is witnessing India manufacturing defence equipment from modern grenades and rifles to fighter aircraft, drones, warships, etc. India is moving out of the image of a big defence importer of the world and moving towards making a new identity of an important defence exporter of the world. It has been 75 years of Independence, and we continued to import defence equipment. Uttar Pradesh is becoming a huge centre of this transformation and I being an MP from Uttar Pradesh feel very proud.
A short while ago, I observed the progress of the ‘Aligarh Node’ of the Defence Corridor. More than one-and-a-half dozen defence manufacturing companies with investment worth billions of rupees will create thousands of jobs. New industries are being set up to manufacture small arms, armaments, drones and aerospace-related products, metal components, anti-drone systems etc in the Aligarh Node of the Defence Corridor. This will give a new identity to Aligarh and nearby areas.
You must be aware that till now people used to rely on Aligarh for the security of their houses and shops. People were rest assured if they had a padlock from Aligarh. And today I feel like talking about something from my childhood. It is about 55-60 years old. We were kids then when the salesman of the Aligarh padlocks, a Muslim patron, used to come to our village every three months. I still remember he used to wear a black jacket. He used to sell his padlocks in the shops and would come after three months to collect his money. He would also sell padlocks to traders in the neighboring villages. He had a very good friendship with my father. He used to stay in our village for four-six days during his visit. He used to leave the money collected during the day with my father who would take care of it. And when he would leave the village after four-six days, he would take the money from my father and board the train. During childhood, we were very familiar with two cities of Uttar Pradesh — Sitapur and Aligarh. If someone in our village had to undergo treatment for eyes, he was advised to go to Sitapur. We didn’t understand much then, but would hear about Sitapur most often. Similarly, we would quite often hear about Aligarh due to that gentleman.
Aligarh, which was famous for protecting the houses and shops with its famous padlocks, will now also be famous for creating products that will protect the boundaries of the nation. Such weapons will be made here. Under the One District One Product scheme, the UP government has given a new identity to the padlocks and hardware of Aligarh. This is creating new opportunities for the youth and MSMEs. Now the existing entrepreneurs and MSMEs will get special benefits and new MSMEs will also get incentives through the defence industry. The Aligarh node of the Defence Corridor will also create new opportunities for small entrepreneurs.
One of the world’s finest missiles, BrahMos, is also proposed to be built at the Lucknow node of the Defence Corridor. About 9,000 crore rupees are being invested in the next few years for this purpose. Another missile manufacturing unit is proposed to be set up at the Jhansi node as well. The UP Defence Corridor is coming up with such huge investments and employment opportunities.
Uttar Pradesh is emerging as a very attractive place for every small and big investor of the country and the world. This happens when the necessary environment for investment is created and the necessary facilities are made available. Today Uttar Pradesh is becoming a great example of the double engine government’s double benefit. Following the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Yogi ji and his entire team have prepared Uttar Pradesh for a new role. It has to be continued further with the efforts of everyone. All those who were kept away from the opportunities of development in the society are being given opportunities in education and government jobs. Today Uttar Pradesh is talked about for big infrastructure projects and important decisions. Western Uttar Pradesh is a big beneficiary of this.
Construction of Integrated Industrial Township in Greater Noida, Multi Modal Logistics Hub, Jewar International Airport, Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System, Metro connectivity, modern highways and expressways is happening in Western Uttar Pradesh. These projects worth thousands of crore rupees in UP will become a big basis for India’s progress in the coming years.
I am very happy to see the same UP, which was seen as a stumbling block in the development of the country, is leading the big campaigns of the country today. Be it a campaign to build toilets, to give pucca houses to the poor, gas connections under Ujjwala, electricity connections, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, Yogi ji’s UP has taken the lead in achieving the country’s goals by implementing every scheme and mission. I remember and I cannot forget the days when every scheme of the poor used to be blocked here before 2017. The Centre used to write dozens of letters for implementation of each and every scheme, but the pace of the work was very slow here… I am talking about the situation before 2017… It would not happen as it should have.
The people of UP cannot forget the kind of scams that used to happen here and how the governance was handed over to the corrupt. Today, Yogi ji’s government is sincerely engaged in the development of UP. There was a time when the administration here was run by goons and mafia, but now the extortionists and those running the mafia raj are behind bars.
I especially want to remind the people of Western Uttar Pradesh. Till four-five years ago, families in this region used to live in fear in their own homes. Sisters and daughters were afraid to leave their house for schools and colleges. The parents used to wait with bated breath until the daughters returned home. In such an atmosphere, many people had to leave their ancestral homes and migrate. Today a criminal in UP thinks a hundred times before doing something like this!
The poor are heard and there is respect for them in Yogi ji’s government. The free vaccine to all campaign is a great proof of the working style of UP under the leadership of Yogi ji. Uttar Pradesh has so far administered more than 8 crore vaccines. UP also holds the record for the highest number of vaccinations in a day in the country. The concern of the poor is the top priority of the government in this crisis of Corona. Free food grains are being distributed for months so that the poor do not go hungry. In order to save the poor from starvation, what the developed countries of the world could not do, that is being done by India and Uttar Pradesh.
In this elixir of independence, the rural economy is also undergoing rapid changes. Decades ago, Chaudhary Charan Singh ji himself had shown the country how to keep pace with change. We all know how much the agricultural laborers and small farmers of the country benefited from the path shown by Chaudhary Sahib. Many generations of today are living a dignified life because of those reforms.
It is very important that the government should stand as a partner with the small farmers of the country whom Chaudhary Saheb was concerned about. These small farmers have less than two hectares of land and the number of small farmers in our country is more than 80 percent. In other words, out of the land owned by 10 farmers of the country, there are 8 farmers who have a very small piece of land. Therefore, it is the constant effort of the central government to empower the small farmers. Be it one-and-a-half times MSP, expansion of Kisan Credit Card, improvement in insurance scheme, provision of Rs 3,000 pension; many such decisions are empowering small farmers.
During Corona, the government has directly transferred more than one lakh crore rupees to the accounts of small farmers across the country and the farmers of UP have received more than 25,000 crore rupees. I am happy that new records have been made for procurement at MSP in the last four years in UP. The problems related to the payment of sugarcane are also being redressed continuously. In the last four years, more than 1 lakh 40 thousand crore rupees have been paid to the sugarcane farmers of UP. The doors of new possibilities for the sugarcane farmers of UP will be opened in the next few years. The ethanol produced from sugarcane, which is made into bio-fuel, is being used for fuel. It is going to benefit the sugarcane farmers of western UP as well.
Yogi ji’s government and the central government are working hard shoulder to shoulder for the progress of the entire western Uttar Pradesh, including Aligarh. Together we have to make this region more prosperous, enhance the potential of sons and daughters here and save Uttar Pradesh from all anti-development forces. May all of us be successful in our goals with the inspiration of national heroes like Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh ji.
By Narendra Modi
(The article is based on the edited text of PM Modi’s speech at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Aligarh, UP)