Full Text of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi's Speech at the Function to Celebrate 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda

Today a year long period of commemoration and celebration comes to a formal close but only in name for how can anything connected with Swami Vivekananda come to an end. He lives on his radiance undeemed over the years. He lives on his capacity to

delhi (I-Newswire) January 18, 2014 - Today a year long period of commemoration and celebration comes to a formal close but only in name for how can anything connected with Swami Vivekananda come to an end. He lives on his radiance undeemed over the years. He lives on his capacity to illumine our past undiminished by the passage of time.

Today, we gather again to recall mesmerizing icon, that magnetic personality, who made the world sit up and take note of all that the terries in our ancient culture and in our tradition. Today, we assemble here to remember a courageous crusader against traditions' social evils, a relentless champion of universal education, a tireless advocate of gender equality and a steadfast believer in communal harmony.

Swami Vivekananda died young, in his thirties, long before our independence movement took shape and gathered momentum. But he exercised a profound influence of each and every one of the luminaries who came to shape our nationhood. Among them were Sh. Aurobindo, Lok Manya Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore, Motilal Nehru and Chittaranjan Das, Mahatma Gandhi himself, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel, Rajaji and so many other shining stars of that wonderful galaxy. From Swami Vivekananda's example they learnt to draw inspiration from our country's past in order to correct its present and built its future.

Thirty years ago, Indira Gandhi, who had a familiar close relation with Ramakrishna mission, declared Swahili's birthday as National youth Day. That was because she saw the importance of his life and thoughts as a beacon to guide the youth of our country. He had induced the vigour of his intellect and energy of his youth to his life's project of bringing India to achieve both spiritual greatness and material prosperity. He promoted reason and science as the means of freeing India from ignorance, poverty, Inequality and violence. That project was embraced by our founding fathers and it remains in different ways and in different circumstances, a continuing task for each generation.

All who followed humbly in the footsteps of this personality, all of us who continue to be stead by his life, a life of magnificent achievement, both in Indian and in the World, must rise above politics and heat his teaching of vision and tolerance.

In his concluding words to the Parliament of the World religions in Chicago in 1893, he voiced his anxiety eloquently when he said, "Sectarianism, bigotry and the horrible descendant fanaticism have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent the whole nations to the spare."

Swamiji's words have all the more weightage today as the religious fanaticism of all sorts, threatens the piece of many nations and of our region. His ideas must be taken to the hearts and minds of our new generation of young Indians who will and must battle against fanaticism. Swamiji's vision is clear. He teaches us not to foul play to narrow mindedness and selfish interests.

Friends, all over the world, the populations are ageing but the profile of our nation remains young. The India of the 21st century is a known society with young population - a society with high expectation and aspiration. They want to be educated better, they want to be governed better; they want to find employment that meets their aspirations; we should not and cannot fail them.

In our long and glorious history, India has given birth to many men and women who have transformed the way we think, the way we act, the way we live, men and women who have given a whole new direction to our society. Swami Vivekananda is amongst the most luminous among of the more. To say that he is the most unforgettable is to make an understatement. His relevance has actually grown with the decades and I believe that is his pressure magic that is the special fascination he continues to hold for all of us.

Thank you... Jai Hind

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January 18, 2014

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