Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, saying his personality exuded strength and his fearless and self-respecting nature could not tolerate the mindset of slavery.
Paying homage to Savarkar on his birth anniversary during the 101st 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast, Modi said his sacrifice, courage and determination continue to inspire us.
Modi also paid homage to Kabir, whose birth anniversary falls on June 4, and said the mystic-poet opposed every evil practice that divided people and tried to awaken the society.
Paying tributes to Savarkar, the prime minister said, "Today the 28th of May is the birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter, Veer Savarkar. The stories related to his sacrifice, courage and resolve inspire us all even today. I cannot forget the day when I went to the cell in Andaman where Veer Savarkar served the sentence of 'Kala paani'.
"Veer Savarkar's personality exuded strength and magnanimity. His fearless and self-respecting nature could not tolerate the mindset of slavery at all. Not only in the freedom movement, whatever Veer Savarkar did for social equality and social justice is remembered even today," he said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, several Union ministers and MPs paid floral tributes to Savarkar in the Central Hall of the old Parliament building.
In his 'Mann ki Baat' address, Modi also paid homage to N T Rama Rao, saying he left an indelible mark through the strength of his amazing talent in politics and the film industry.
"Today, is the 100th birth anniversary of NTR. On the strength of his versatility of talent, he not only became the superstar of Telugu cinema, but also won the hearts of crores of people.
"Do you know that he had acted in more than 300 films? He revived many historical characters on the basis of his acting. People liked NTR's acting in the roles of Bhagwan Krishna, Ram and many others, so much that they still remember him," he said.
NTR had carved out his own identity in the cinema world as well as in politics, Modi said.
"There too, he got lots of love and blessings from the people. I offer my humble tribute to N.T Rama Rao ji, who ruled the hearts of millions of people in the country and the world," the prime minister said.
In his tribute to Kabir, Modi said, "The path shown by Kabirdas ji is equally relevant even today.
"Kabirdas ji used to say, 'Kabira Kuan Ek hai, Pani Bhare AnekBartan mein hi bhed hai, Paani sab mein ek', which means: There could be myriad kinds of people who come to the well to draw water...But the well does not differentiate anyone...water remains the same in all utensils." "Sant Kabir opposed every evil practice that divided the society; tried to awaken the society. Today, when the country is moving forward with the determination to develop, we should increase our efforts to empower the society, taking inspiration from Sant Kabir," he said.
PM Modi also talked about the 'Mann ki Baat' completing 100 episodes last month and said this episode of 'Mann Ki Baat' is the beginning of its second century.
Modi also hailed the Education Ministry's youth exchange programme 'Yuva Sangam' as a great initiative to promote the country's diversity and people-to-people connect.
During the broadcast, he interacted with some participants of the 'Yuva Sangam' and told them to write blogs on their experiences so that others can also know about it.
The youth exchange programme provides an opportunity to students from one part of the country to visit other parts and understand their culture and heritage.
The aim of this initiative is to promote people-to-people connect and diversity and nearly 1,200 students have already visited 22 states in the first phase of this programme, Modi said.
Recalling his visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum during the Japan visit earlier this month, Modi said it was an emotional experience.
"When we cherish the memories of history, it helps the coming generations a lot. Sometimes we get new lessons in museums... sometimes we get to learn a lot.
"A few days ago the International Museum Expo was also organised in India. It depicted the specialities of more than 1,200 museums of the world. We have many different types of museums in India, which display many aspects related to our past," he said.
Noting that without water life is always in a crisis, Modi said that looking at this future challenge, 75 'Amrit Sarovars' are being constructed in every district of the country.
"Our Amrit Sarovars are special because they are being built in the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal and the essence of the effort of the people has been put in them. You will be pleased to know that till now more than 50,000 Amrit Sarovars have been constructed. This is a giant step towards water conservation," he said.
Talking about start-ups in the water conservation sector, Modi cited 'KumbhiKagaz' which is working on making paper from water hyacinth.
He noted that by the time of the next Mann ki Baat, the heat level would have increased more in some regions. "It would also start raining in some places. You have to take care of your health in every weather condition," Modi said.