NEW DELHI: The warmth and guidance he has received from President Pranab Mukherjee in the two months since he formed his government has been akin to that of a family, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Speaking extempore in Hindi at a book release event in the renovated Durbar Hall of the presidential palace, Modi congratulated President Mukherjee upon his completing two years in office and said under Mukherjee's "marg darshan" or guidance, the country has got a "new direction".
"For me, my own experience in the two months that I have been in office I have received much enthusiasm from you... The warmth and guidance I have received from you was just like family despite my being a new person (in office)," said Modi, comparing the president to the head of a family.
He said it was his feeling that the country would rise to great heights under President Mukherjee's direction.
Modi released two books, "Indradhanush", a compendium of music, dance and cinematic events organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan since August 2012, and "The Winged Wonders of Rashtrapati Bhawan", written by Thomas Mathew, additional secretary to the President.
Modi said while Indradhanush was about the invited guests to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the second one was about the "bin bulaye mehman" or uninvited guests, the birds, to the presidential palace. He said the birds come to Rashtrapati Bhavan to see what India's "most important place" looks like.
Speaking of nature, the prime minister said people have got so immersed in work that they fail to notice the beauty of nature around them. "We are so preoccupied that we never notice. If there is a bouquet of flowers we will notice the flowers but not experience its beauty or its fragrance," Modi said.
The prime minister said the art and culture of India has the potential to attract the world. Marvelling at the richness of Indian culture, he remarked that we had a separate 'raaga' for different times of the day.
He said India's art touched the soul of a human being. Art should not be dependent on the state (rajya-aashrit), but promoted by the state (rajya-puraskrit), he added.
Speaking of birds, he said that birds give us inspiration to live in harmony with nature. Borders are irrelevant for birds, wind and water. He said nests built by birds were wonderful examples of architecture, which incidentally, are made largely out of waste.
The prime minister also referred to the Rashtrapati Bhawan Museum, which was dedicated to the nation by the president Friday morning, in his presence. He said India very often is not a history-conscious society, and this museum is an effort to preserve a part of our unique heritage. He said that only a society which is conscious of history, has the potential to create history.
Referring to the need to preserve our environment, he said we have taken our natural resources from the next generation on loan, and it is our duty to return them in good condition.