Friends, festival tourism has its own exciting attractions. Our India, the country of festivals, possesses limitless possibilities in the realm of festival tourism. It must be our endeavour to ensure that we should welcomingly include people of other states, other countries when we celebrate Holi, Diwali, Onam, Pongal or Bihu, spreading their true spirit. Here, every state, every region is replete with distinct festivals, generating a lot of interest in people from other countries. Hence, the Indian Diaspora has a significant role to play in promoting festival tourism in India .
My dear countrymen, in the previous episode of Mann Ki Baat, we had decided to do something different this Diwali. I had urged all of you to celebrate India’s Nari-Shakti, the power and achievement of women, thereby felicitating the Lakshmi of India. And within no time, there followed a slew of innumerable inspirational stories on social media. Kodipaka Ramesh from Warangal has written on Namo App-“My mother is my strength. In 1990, when my father expired, the responsibility to raise five sons fell on her shoulders. Today, all five brothers are doing well in their respective professions. My mother is God to me. She is the Lakshmi of India in every sense of the term.” Ramesh ji , respectful greetings to your mother. Geetika Swami, who is active on Twitter, says that for her, Major Khushbu Kanwar, daughter of a bus conductor, who has led an all women contingent of Assam Rifles, is the Lakshmi of India. For Kavita Tiwari, her daughter is the Lakshmi of India, her strength. She is proud of her daughter’s excellent painting ability. She has also secured a good rank in the CLAT exam. Whereas Megha Jain has mentioned that a 92 year old woman has been offering free drinking water to passengers at Gwalior Railway Station. Megha Ji is truly inspired by the humility and compassion of this Lakshmi of India. Many such stories have been shared by people. Do read them, get inspired and share similar instances. I respectfully salute all the Lakshmis of India.
My dear countrymen, the well known 17th century poetess Sanchi Honnamma has penned a poem in Kannada that embodies the same thought, the same words pertaining to every Lakshmi of India that we referred to. One feels the foundation of the idea was laid in the 17th century itself. You will notice the beauty of word, sentiment and thought in this poem in Kannada:
(Penninda permegondanu himavantanu.
Penninda broohu perchidanu
Penninda janakaraayanu jasuvalendanu)
Which means, Himwant, Lord Mount attained fame on account of daughter Parvati, Rishi Brighu on account of his daughter Lakshmi and King Janak because of daughter Sita. Our daughters are our pride…their prodigious virtuosity cradles our social fabric, ensuring its bright future.
My dear countrymen, the 12th of November, 2019 is the day when the 550th Prakashotsav of Guru Nanak dev ji will be celebrated across the world.
The luminescence of Guru Nanak Dev ji’s influence can be felt not only in India but around the world. Many of our Sikh brothers and sisters settled in other countries committedly follow Guru Nanak dev ji’s ideals. I can never forget my visits to Gurudwaras in Vancouver and Tehran.
There is much about Guru Nanak Dev ji that I can share with you, but it will require many an episode of Mann ki Baat. He accorded the highest significance to the spirit of service. Guru Nank Dev ji firmly believed that any service done selflessly was beyond evaluation. He stood firm against social ills such as untouchability. Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji radiated his message to all corners of the world.
My dear countrymen, the 31st of October, 2018, is the day when the ‘Statue of Unity’,in memory of Sardar Saheb was dedicated to the nation and the world. It is the tallest statue in the world. It is double in height compared to the ‘Statue of Liberty’ located in the US.
The distinction of having the world’s highest statue fills every Indian with pride; the head of every Indian is held high. You will be happy to note that in a year, more than 26 lakh tourists visited the ‘Statue of Unity’.
This means that an average of eight and a half thousand people witnessed the grandeur of the ‘Statue of Unity’ every day. The reverence and devotion for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in their hearts was reflected in the form of homage paid to him. Besides, at present,it houses many centres of attraction such as Cactus Garden, Butterfly Garden, Jungle Safari, and Children’s Nutrition Park, Ekta Nursery, which are all constantly evolving and providing a fillip to the local economy.
Local people are not only getting innovative opportunities of employment but for the convenience of visiting tourists, many villagers are providing facilities like home stays. And these hosts are being professionally trained in the technique of running a home stay.
The locals have now started the cultivation of Dragon fruit and I am sure that it will soon become a major source of livelihood for the people there.
Friends, for our nation and the constituent states, as well as for the tourism industry, this ‘Statue of Unity’ can be a subject of research. We are all witness to the fact that how within a year a place developed as a world famous tourism destination.
People arrive there from the country and abroad. And one after the other, ancillary services like transport, lodging, guides and eco-friendly services are getting inducted by themselves. A large economy is developing and people are generating facilities as per the requirement of the tourists. The government is also playing its role.
Friends, which Indian will not be imbued with pride for the fact that recently, Time magazine has included the ‘Statue of Unity’in its list of 100 important tourist destinations around the world. Of course I hope, that all of you will devote some of your precious time to visit the ‘Statue of Unity’.
But my appeal is, that every Indian who takes out time to travel must visit at least 15 Tourist Destinations of India with family and experience a night stay at whichever place you go to; this still remains my appeal.