BHIMAVARAM: The history of India's freedom movement reflects the strength of the country's diversity, culture and unity as a nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Monday.
The Prime Minister noted that the Indian freedom struggle was not confined to some years, a few areas or a few people."India's freedom struggle is a history of sacrifices from every nook and corner of the nation," he added.
He was speaking after inaugurating the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of the legendary freedom fighter, Alluri Sitarama Raju. Modi virtually unveiled a 30-ft bronze statue of the tribal leader as part of the celebrations and later addressed an impressive crowd at Pedda Amiram, three kilometres from Bhimavaram.
Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Union Minister for Culture G Kishan Reddy, former Union minister and actor Chiranjeevi, State Minister for Culture RK Roja and BJP senior leader D Purandeswari attended the event. Although Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan said he had received a special invite from Kishan Reddy, he did not attend the event.
Modi, who began his address in Telugu, announced that the Centre would construct a memorial at Lambasingi village in Alluri Sitarama Raju district, a meditation centre at Mogallu, where Alluri had spent his childhood, besides renovating the hero's house at Pandrangi in Visakhapatnam.
The event also marked the 100th year of the attack on Chintapalli Police Station, the first police station to be attacked by Alluri's army during the 1922 Rampa Rebellion.
The Prime Minister announced that the Chintapalli Police Station would be modernised and a research center would be set up in Visakhapatnam. The Centre would bear the costs.Paying rich tributes to Andhra Pradesh which has a rich legacy, Modi said, "The programme reflected the Centre's pledge to educate everyone of the heroic deeds of our country's freedom fighters."
"Alluri fought for the liberation of Bharat Mata. He was not scared of the British government’s suppression. Vande Mataram and Manade Rajyam (we rule our nation) were his slogans. We have to follow the footsteps of the great leader," Modi exhorted.
Recalling that Alluri lived among Adivasis and understood their problems, Modi said, "Alluri Sitarama Raju represents the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' (One India, Supreme India) that has been unifying the country in the single thread of unity."
The Prime Minister said that India's spiritualism evoked a sense of compassion and kindness, a sense of identification and equality for the tribal society, knowledge and courage in the tribal leader.
Remembering Alluri Sitarama Raju and those who had laid down their lives during the Rampa Rebellion, Modi termed their sacrifice a source of energy and inspiration for the entire nation, even today.
"The youth led the freedom struggle. Today, this is the best opportunity for the youth to come forward for the development of the country," he noted, and pointed out that there were new opportunities, avenues, thought processes and possibilities for the youth today in New India.
Terming Andhra Pradesh the land of heroes and patriots, the Prime Minister recalled the efforts of Pingali Venkayya, who designed the Indian national flag, Kaneganti Hanumanthu, Kandukuri Veeresalingam and Potti Sriramulu in fighting for freedom and building the nation.
"Today, it is our responsibility to fulfill the dreams of these fighters in Amrit Kaal. Our new India should be the India of their dreams. An India - in which the poor, farmers, labourers, backward, tribals have equal opportunities," Modi said.
Outlining his government's initiatives for the welfare of tribals over the past eight years, the Prime Minister explained that for the first time since independence, tribal museums were being set up to showcase the tribal pride and heritage in the country and noted that the foreign rulers perpetrated maximum atrocities on the tribal community and tried to destroy their culture.
Recalling that Alluri, during his struggle, challenged the British with the slogan, "Stop me if you can," Modi asserted that today, too, the country was faced with several challenges and that the 130 crore countrymen, with unity and strength, were tackling the challenges with Alluri’s spirit.
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