ON BUILDING TEMPLES
The nation celebrated the 74th Independence Day on 15th August 2020. It is seventy three years since India achieved independence by the toil and sacrifices of our freedom fighters under the banner of the Congress Party. We bow our head to all those who gave up their all to fight for the independence of the country and successfully achieved it.
On 17thNovember, 1955, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru poured the first bucket of concrete into the dry bed of the Sutlej river to begin construction of the Bhakra Nangal Dam. Many people wanted to name the dam ‘Nehru Dam’, but he refused. He said that the dam was being given to the people of India not by him but by all those who laboured there. He said, “Let us raise a memorial at this Bhakra Dam in honour of all those workers who are completing this great project, on this memorial should be engraved the words: This is a gift to the people of India and future generations from the workers who built this Dam.”
Eight years later on 22nd October 1963, he dedicated the completed dam to the Nation. He said, “As the nation rejoices at the successful completion of this monumental project which will provide benefit to the whole nation, though more to Punjab and adjoining states of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, I congratulate you all. The accomplishment of this mammoth task represents our resolve to build this immense country of ours. This Dam is not meant for our Generation alone but for many generations to come as well, who will drive benefits from it. You have participated in a historic and momentous effort and those who partake in such a noble cause, rise in stature themselves.”
He called these dams the temples of Modern India, “This Dam has been built up with the unrelenting toil of man for the benefit of mankind and therefore is worthy of worship. May you call it a Temple or a Gurudwara or a Mosque, it inspires our administration and reverence”.
Just last year, the Bhakra Dam generated 1.2 lac crore units of electric power. Its waters irrigated 135 lac acres of land in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Bhakra Dam brought light into the lives of crores of Indian families. It watered the fields of lacs of farmers and lifted their families to prosperity. It has held back the waters of floods and has saved the homes, crops and lives of crores of Indians over the years. The Green and White revolutions that the Dam enabled, brought food to the plates of countless Indians. The Bhakra Dam made our Country secure, strong and confident by ending our dependence on other countries for food.
Pandit Nehru built many such temples for India including the Nagarjuna Sagar, the Hirakud Dam and the Sardar Sarovar. Bhilai and Bokaro Steel Plants that produced the steel needed to build India, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, ISRO and DRDO which gave us the advanced technologies to compete with the World, AIIMS, IIT, IIM and NIT that allowed us to produce the doctors, engineers and scientists needed to build India of the next century, PSUs that have built India into a global industrial power and employed lacs of youth over the years, follow the list which is very long indeed.
He called these institutions temples, gurudwaras or mosques because they were of service to humankind. Pandit Nehru understood that every great religion had but one message – there is no greater worship than the service of fellow human beings. And so, for Jawaharlal Nehru, there could be no temple more glorious than an institution dedicated to the welfare of the Indian people and all humanity.
It is only with such temples that feed, clothe, shelter, educate, employ and empower our people will India be able to emerge from the multiple crises that it is confronted with.
We begin this month by remembering two towering leaders of the Party and the Country, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak who died 100 years ago on August 1, 1920 and Rajiv Gandhi who was born 76 years ago on 20th August, 1944.
This August, Congress Sandesh marks the completion of 22 glorious years of its publication. Over the years, the Congress Sandesh has become better, more presentable and more informative. This is the longest tenure in Congress’ history for which an official publication has continued to be published. The credit must go to the Congress President without whose backing and continued interest, this could not have been possible. We, at the Sandesh, are grateful for the Congress leadership and readership for their valuable support.
Jai Congress. Jai Hind. Jai Jagat.