Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh: New India should be the India of the dreams of freedom fighters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday here.
He said that when India is celebrating 75 years of its Independence, it is the responsibility of all the countrymen to fulfil the dreams of freedom fighters. “Our new India should be the India of their dreams. An India - in which the poor, farmers, labourers, backward, tribals all have equal opportunities,” he said while addressing a public meeting here to launch the 125th birth anniversary celebration of legendary freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju.
The Prime Minister launched the year-long celebrations with the unveiling of a 30-feet bronze statue of Sitarama Raju. Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Union minister for tourism and culture G. Kishan Reddy, former Union minister and Telugu superstar K. Chiranjeevi were present.
Paying rich tributes to Sitarama Raju, he said the great tribal fighter challenged the British with the slogan ‘Dum hai to rok lo’ (Stop me if you can). “Today the country is also facing various challenges. With the same spirit and courage, 130 crore countrymen, with unity and strength, are telling every challenge - ‘Dum hai to hamain rok lo (stop us if you can).”
The Prime Minister said that he is feeling privileged to get the opportunity to salute the great land of Andhra Pradesh with such a rich legacy. He noted that the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav coincides with the 125th birth anniversary of Alluri Sitarama Raju and 100 years of Rampa Rebellion.
Modi said he bowed to the memory of the great “Manyam Veerudu” Alluri Sitarama Raju and paid him tributes on behalf of the entire country. He also expressed happiness at meeting the members of the family of the great freedom fighter.
He noted that to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Sitarama Raju, the government has taken up restoration of his birth place at Pandrangi, renovation of Chintapalli police station and construction of Alluri Dhyana Mandir at Mogallu. “These works are symbols of the spirit of Amrit Mahotsav. Today’s programme reflects the pledge of making everyone aware of the heroic deeds of our freedom fighters,” he said.
The Prime Minister stated that the freedom struggle is not just a history of a few years, few areas, or of a few people. “This history is the history of sacrifice, tenacity and sacrifices of every nook and corner of India. History of our freedom movement is a symbol of the strength of our diversity, culture and of our unity as a nation,” he added.
Terming Alluri Sitarama Raju a symbol of India’s culture, tribal identity, valour, ideals and values, the Prime Minister remarked that from the birth of Sitaram Raju Garu to his sacrifice, his life journey is an inspiration to all of us. He dedicated his life for the rights of tribal society, for their happiness and for the freedom of the country. “Alluri Sitarama Raju represents the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ that has been uniting the country,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi said that India’s spiritualism gave Alluri Sitarama Raju a sense of compassion and kindness, a sense of identification and equality for the tribal society, knowledge and courage. Noting the youth of Alluri Sitarama Raju and those who laid down their lives at the Rampa Rebellion, the Prime Minister emphasised that their sacrifice is a source of energy and inspiration for the entire nation even today.
“Youth of the country led the freedom struggle. Today, this is the best opportunity for the youth to come forward for the development of the country. There are new opportunities, avenues, thought processes and possibilities in New India today and our youth is taking up the responsibility of realising these possibilities.”
The Prime Minister said Andhra Pradesh is the land of heroes and patriots. Here there were freedom heroes like Pingali Venkayya, who designed the national flag, Kaneganti Hanumanthu, Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu and Potti Sriramulu.
He claimed that during the last 8 years, the government has worked relentlessly for the welfare of the tribal community of the country. For the first time since Independence, tribal museums are being set up to showcase the tribal pride and heritage in the country.
“Alluri Sitarama Raju Memorial Tribal Freedom Fighters Museum” is also being built in Lambasingi near Visakhapatnam. SimilarlyNovember 15, the birthday of Bhagwan Birsa Munda has been demarcated as Rashtriya Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas. The Prime Minister said that the foreign rulers perpetrated maximum atrocities on the tribal community and tried to destroy their culture.
The Prime Minister said today tribal art and skills are getting a new identity through the Skill India Mission. ‘Vocal for Local’ is making tribal art skills a means of income. Decades old laws which prevented tribal people from cutting forest produce like bamboo, we changed them and gave them rights on forest produce, he said.
Similarly, the number of forest products for MSP procurement increased from 12 to more than 90. More than 3,000 Van Gan Vikas Kendra and More than 50,000 Van Gana Self Help Groups are connecting tribal products and art with modern opportunities. Aspirational Districts Schemes will greatly benefit tribal districts and, on the education front, more than 750 Eklavya Model schools are being established and education in Mother tongue is being promoted under National Education Policy.