LUCKNOW: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the previous governments of not giving due honour to ‘deserving’ national icons like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Vallabhbhai Patel and Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Paying rich tributes to the 11th century King, Maharaja Suheldev on his 1012th birth anniversary, the PM termed him a saviour of the country‘s cultural identity (Bharat aur Bharatiyata), who did not get the due identity and respect in history books.
“But history is not just what written by those who enslaved the country and those having a mindset infested with slavery. Indian history is also alive in people’s collective memory, in folklores and passed on from one generation to the other. So, though Suheldev’s valour and courage did not get due recognition in history books, his identity continues to persist in the heart and soul of people in Awadh, Terai region and Poorvanchal (east UP),” he said, while virtually addressing the anniversary celebration held in Bahraich in the presence of chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet colleagues. The foundation of a memorial in the name of King Suheldev was also laid on the occasion.
The PM’s observation is being largely seen as a concerted outreach bid to consolidate the Rajbhar community nearly two years after BJP’s former ally and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar walked out of the NDA. King Suheldev is known for defeating and killing the Ghaznavid general Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud at Bahraich in 1034.
Highlighting the ‘distortion’ in history writing, the PM said: “Itihas rachne walon ke saath itihas likne walon ne jo her pher kiya use aaj ka Bharat sudhar raha hai (Today’s India is rectifying the injustice done to those who created history by the ones who wrote it).
“The way Maharaja Suheldev ruled and worked for the people and the region would be reflected in the memorial proposed in his name,” he said, announcing that a 40-feet tall bronze statue would be installed at the memorial to attract tourists. The memorial is also proposed to have a museum depicting various information related to Suheldev. The state government would give a facelift to the Chittora lake in the district. “All this would not only beautify Bahraich but would also lead to an increase in the number of tourists,” he said.
The PM said that there cannot be a bigger occasion to respect the national heroes when the country was celebrating its 75th year of Independence. He pointed out that Subhash Chandra Bose never got the due identity of being the first Prime Minister of Azad Hind Sarkar. “But our country is giving him this identity — from the Red fort to Andaman and Nicobar islands,” he maintained. “What happened with Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who brought together over 500 princely states? Every child of this country knows,” he said, pointing out that the world’s tallest statue – the statue of Unity – of Patel was aimed to inspire people.
The PM said that even BR Ambedkar, who was the voice of the socially oppressed and played a key role in framing of India’s constitution, could only be seen through political prism in the past. “But our government developed places associated with him (Ambedkar) from India to London as ‘panchtirth’,” he said. Underlining that there were a number of freedom fighters who could not get their due identity because of one reason or the other, Modi asked the people not to forget the freedom fighters in Chauri Chaura.
Modi said that the decision to develop memorials in various parts of the country was also aimed to boost tourism. “UP was supremely rich in terms of cultural heritage and had enormous tourism potential,” Modi said while referring to Ayodhya where Ram temple is being constructed, Vrindavan, Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi), Sarnath and Maghar (Sant Kabir Nagar).
The PM said that UP was receiving the maximum number of tourist inflow and was therefore on the way to get infrastructural facilities like the airport in Ayodhya and Kushinagar, besides a host of expressways.