Published On: Fri, Jul 7th, 2023

PM Modi hails Gita Press, says ‘It’s no less than a temple’

Gorakhpur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday attended the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of Gita Press in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and said the world’s largest publisher of Hindu religious literature is “not less than any temple”. “Sometimes saints show the way, sometimes institutions such as the Gita Press,” PM Modi said in his address.

Now the ‘Rajpath’ of the era of slavery has been changed to ‘Kartavyapath’

“Gita Press has 1,600 publications in 15 languages and it propagates the concept of “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat” among people. The office of Gita Press is no less than a temple for crores of people. There is Gita in its name, as well as in its work. The spiritual light that was ignited here in the form of Gita Press in 1923 is guiding humanity today. It is our good fortune that we all are witnessing the golden century of this humanitarian mission,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister said an institution like Gita Press is not only associated with religion and work but also has a “national character”. “Geeta Press connects India and strengthens India’s solidarity. It is such an institution which has always enriched social values and shown the path of duty to people,” he said. Gita Press is the world’s only printing press that is not just an organisation but a living faith, the Prime Minister said.

PM Modi made these remarks days after the Congress attacked the Centre for conferring the Gandhi Peace Prize on the Gita Press, which claims to be the largest publishing house of Hindu religious literature, PM Modi said the publisher is “guiding humanity” through its work.

PM Modi also later flagged off the Vande Bharat trains. Upon his arrival, PM Modi was welcomed by Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. At Gita Press, the world’s largest publisher of Hindu religious textbooks, the Prime Minister released the Chitramaya Shiva Purana Granth and also visited the Leela Chitra temple there.

Gita Press was recently conferred with the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2021 by a jury headed by PM Modi. The prize is an annual award instituted by the central government in 1995 and it carries a prize money of Rs 1 crore, a citation, a plaque and a traditional handicraft or handloom item.

Gita Press has refused to accept the prize money, saying it will only accept the citations. PM Modi will also flag off the North Eastern Railway’s first semi-high-speed Gorakhpur-Lucknow Vande Bharat train and the Jodhpur-Sabarmati Vande Bharat Express.

In his address, the Prime Minister said his Gorakhpur trip, which included a visit to Gita Press and the launch of modern trains, exemplified his government’s policy of combining development with heritage.

“The Gorakhpur visit this time is a unique example of ‘Virasat bhi, Vikas bhi (heritage and development)’ policy,” PM Modi said. He said the dream of a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya is going to be fulfilled after centuries. He also referred to the redesigned Navy insignia based on a flag of Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji.

“Even after 75 years of independence, we were carrying the symbol of slavery on our naval flag. We were following English traditions next to our Parliament in the national capital. So, we confidently took up the task of changing them and gave our heritage and traditions the recognition they deserve,” PM Modi said.

“That is why now, the mark of the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji is visible on the flag of the Indian Navy. Now the ‘Rajpath’ of the era of slavery has been changed to ‘Kartavyapath’,” he said, adding, “It is time to overcome the mentality of slavery and be proud of our heritage.”

During his speech, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath hailed Modi for enhancing India’s status in the world. Highlighting the contributions of Gita Press, the prime minister said Mahatma Gandhi had an association with it and used to write for Kalyan magazine.

“He (Gandhiji) had advised Gita Press not to accept advertisements for Kalyan magazine and that advice is still being followed,” PM Modi said. Speaking on Vande Bharat trains, the prime minister said, “There is a craze for it.”

“Earlier, leaders used to write about getting trains to halt in their areas. Now, I get letters from every part of the country requesting to run Vande Bharat trains,” he said, adding that Vande Bharat has provided both facilities and convenience to middle-class citizens.

PM Modi later flagged off the Gorakhpur-Lucknow and the Jodhpur-Ahmedabad (Sabarmati) Vande Bharat Express trains. He also laid the foundation stone of the Rs 498-crore Gorakhpur railway station redevelopment project.

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