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Curbing terror, protecting culture through social reform campaigns

NewsCurbing terror, protecting culture through social reform campaigns

There is restlessness in a section due to the ‘actions’ of the government.


NEW DELHI: The steps to ban terrorist organizations like PFI and curb other criminal and corrupt activities in the country are really good. But along with cleaning the swamps, there will be a need to increase social reform campaigns and spread awareness of the importance of new beautiful paths through culture and religion. There is restlessness in a section due to the “harsh actions” of the Modi government.
Some political organisations, politicians, and people with left-wing views on education, literature, and the media keep spreading the pessimistic idea that the country is being ruined by severe tension and explosive situations and that the future is in danger. Such elements, while exaggerating some economic and social problems of the country, also create the illusion that the society is almost apathetic and fearful. On the other hand, the government is trying to assure good results from its welfare schemes and reform programs. At the same time, efforts are being made to build confidence on the issues of religion and culture. In this era of contradictions, there is a need to give support and importance to the campaigns being run for social upliftment and awareness.
There is no doubt that the beautification of ancient religious places like Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura, Somnath, Dwarka, Nashik, Rishikesh, and Ujjain and increasing the facilities of tourism will benefit social harmony and economic progress in the region. But for the protection of religious culture, like in every era, the need for spreading social awareness and education is greater today. After all, there is an old tradition of educational centres in religious places. Kashi, Prayag, and Ujjain have also been centres of education since ancient times. There are some issues to consider in this regard. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to inaugurate the new huge complex of the Mahakal temple in Ujjain on 11 October. In the first phase, construction work worth about Rs 350 crore has been done. About Rs 310 crore is also estimated to be spent in the second phase of construction works. The entire project is said to be of around Rs 900 crore. In the second phase, the building of Maharajwada School, built decades ago near the temple, is going to be demolished, and dharamshala, hotel, etc. are going to be built. The school may be moved to some other location. Along with this, the attention of Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Madhya Pradesh government and Narendra Modi’s government at the Centre can also be drawn to the fact that Ujjain, along with Mahakal Jyotirlinga and Shaktipeeth, has been considered important for the ashram of Shri Krishna’s Guru Sandipani. It has been an important centre of education and literature. Apart from the Sandipani Ashram, Banabhatta has given details of having a huge Vidya Mandir here, where there was a system of teaching Veda Vedanta, philosophy, along with warfare, science, and medicine. It is also considered the city of Kalidas. When the ancient form of Mathura and feelings towards Shri Krishna are linked, then a plan of two thousand crore should be implemented to develop Ujjain as a big educational hub of the country. Especially keeping this background in mind, in recent years, the government, in collaboration with organisations like Rotary, has started a social campaign for literacy in Madhya Pradesh and some other states. For primary to higher education, special budget provisions can be made for education centres along with beauty and development programmes in religious cities like Ujjain, Mathura, Kashi, Varanasi, Prayag, Gaya-Nalanda, and Puri. If we talk about tradition, then in Indian culture, along with temple worship, there were centres of excellent education in the form of Gurukuls. Therefore, there should be a provision to keep a part of the income and funds of the temples for the spread of education.
These days, the visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to Gujarat are also under discussion. Recently, I got the opportunity to go to Surat for the programme of the National Hindi Conference. There in Gujarat, an innovative campaign of “Raise daughters, teach daughters, make balance” is running in a social organisation called Anees (Aapmrutyu Nivaran Sahay). Active in the creative work of social reform for about 25 years, Geeta Shroff and her associates are travelling across the state and running a campaign to encourage the birth of a girl child. For the noble work of education and social security of girls and women, they do not even take grants, etc. from any government. Call them the Durga, Lakshmi, Parvati, Sita, and Radha Krishna temples, and with their worship, the government and the income of large temples are used to fund the education, health, and safety of girl children in society. A share can be given.
The development work of Vaishno Devi is being done continuously. Large-scale economic development programmes are being planned in Jammu and Kashmir. For this development, efforts will be required by the government and religious social institutions for education and health. One cannot depend solely on the administration and police to prevent communal tension and violence. With the help of social campaigns, the future can be kept beautiful and safe.
For the awareness of social peace and goodwill, “Ahimsa Yatra” is going on in Odisha for several weeks. In recent years, Odisha has made a lot of progress in the field of education with the joint efforts of the government and social institutions. In Jagannath Puri also, new work is being done for the revival of the temple, but with special attention being given to the spread of education. Instead of demonstrations and consideration of just political gains, what is needed is to encourage campaigns of social reform and awareness. Challenges are increasing with the feelings of nationalism in different countries of the world. India’s role will be important in this period.
The author is the editorial director of ITV Network India News and Aaj Samaj Dainik.

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