(Following is the excerpt from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly broadcast Mann Ki Baat )
My dear countrymen!
Buddha Purnima is a special day for every Indian. We must be proud of the fact that India is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the very synonym of power of compassion, service and sacrifice, who guided millions of people around the world. This Buddha Purnima reminds us of all of our obligations to emulate Lord Buddha’s teaching as well as, pledge ourselves to follow his footsteps. Lord Buddha was the fountainhead of egalitarianism, peace, harmony and brotherhood. These are human values, which are most desired in the world today. Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar stressed that Lord Buddha has been a great inspiration in his social philosophy. Baba Saheb had said –“My Social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words; liberty, equality and fraternity. My Philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teaching of my master, The Buddha.”
Baba Saheb strengthened the oppressed, exploited, deprived and crores of people standing on the brink of marginalization via the Constitution of India. There cannot be a bigger example of compassion than this. This form of compassion was one of the greatest qualities of Lord Buddha for the alleviation of suffering of the people. The Buddhist monks used to travel to different countries carrying with them the rich ideals of Lord Buddha and this has been occurring throughout the ages. We have inherited the wisdom of Lord Buddha throughout Asia as part of our legacy.
It forges a link between us and many Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar where Buddhist traditions and his preaching are a part of their origins. And this is the very reason that we are developing Infrastructure for Buddhist Tourism, which is going to connect Southeast Asia with the important Buddhist sites of India. I am also very pleased that the Government of India is a partner in the restoration of many Buddhist temples which also includes the centuries old magnificent Anand Temple in Bagan in Myanmar. Today, when there is confrontation and human suffering prevalent everywhere in the world, Lord Buddha’s teachings show the way to rid hatred from the world with compassion. I wish people spread all over the world who revere Lord Buddha and believe in the principles of compassion- I wish all of them an auspicious Buddha Purnima.
I seek benediction from Lord Buddha for the entire world, so that we can fulfill our responsibility in building a peaceful and compassionate world based on his teachings. Today, as we remember Lord Buddha, you must have heard about the idols of laughing Buddha, it is said that laughing Buddha brings one good fortune, but very few people know that smiling Buddha is also associated with an important event in India’s defense history. Now you will be wondering what is the connection between smiling Buddha and India’s military might?
You must remember, 20 years ago today, on 11th May 1998, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said while addressing the nation and his words filled the whole country with pride, courage and elation. The Indian diaspora was infused with new confidence. That day also was the day of Buddha Purnima. On May 11, 1998, at India’s western end a nuclear test was conducted in Pokhran, Rajasthan. It has been 20 years since Pokhran and this test was done on Buddha Purnima with the blessings of Lord Buddha. India’s test was not only successful but in a way, India had demonstrated its might in the field of science and technology. We can also say 11 May 1988 is engraved in the history of India as a demonstration of her military power.
Lord Buddha has shown the world- that the power of inner strength or that of the soul is necessary for peace. Similarly, when you are sturdy as a nation, you can be at peace with others. The month of May, 1998 is not just important for the country from the aspect that nuclear tests were conducted this very month, but the manner in which they were carried out is also important. It has revealed to the entire world that India is the land of great scientists and with a strong leadership, India can reach loftier destinations and earn new laurels. On that day, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji had given the mantra – “Jai-Jawan Jai-Kisan, Jai-Vigyan.’