Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked Sant Ravidas on his birth anniversary to urge people to end caste discrimination and identify those who promote it for "self interest". Modi said caste discrimination is an impediment in achieving social harmony.
"Irrespective of caste, creed and other factors, all should get benefit of government schemes," he said after laying the foundation stone of Ravidas Janmasthali (birthplace) area development project in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency. "Guruji (Sant Ravidas) had said that there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste. Till caste discrimination is there, people cannot connect with each other, social harmony is not possible and equality cannot be ensured," the prime minister said.
Without taking any names, he asked people to "identify those who, for their self-interest, create caste discrimination and promote it." "Unfortunately, caste discrimination could not be removed till now. The New India will witness this change with help of the youth," he added. Quoting Sant Ravidas, Modi said, "He dreamt of a society where all are taken care of. We have been trying to follow this tenet in the past 4.5 years with 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas'". Stating that his government focussed on "panchdharma" (five tenets), he said his government focussed on education, income, medicine, irrigation and addressing public grievances.
Honesty leads to happiness and "we tried to follow this" (philosophy), he said. Modi said action on 'benami' properties and strictness to check circulation of blackmoney was ensured during his government. "'Chalta hai' mentality had crept in people, my government tried to change it," he said. This was the prime minister's second visit to his constituency within a month. On January 22, he inaugurated the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention.
(With inputs from agencies.)