Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind addressed a massive crowd at the Red Fort in New Delhi on Saturday, the auspicious occasion of Dussehra. Several leaders from BJP and Opposition parties were in attendance, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Modi, in his speech, greeted the nation on occasion of Dussherra and said festivals are a "medium of education". "In our country, all religious festivals play a vital role in educating the society. Our festivals are linked to our traditions and the history of our nation. Lord Ram's victory over is inspiration even today, after so many years. However, festivals should not merely be celebrated as entertainment. We as a nation should strive hard to fight against evil," he said.
After Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind took the stage and also urged all Indians to abide by the teachings of the Gods. "We all know that Dussehra is celebrated as a triumph of good over evil. We all abide by Lord Ram's preaching. However, we should ensure that we make his teachings a part our lives. Lord Ram wanted to build a setu (bridge) so he invited everybody including Hanuman and other vaanars (monkeys). Even squirrels wanted to contribute! When Lord Ram asked them why they want to contribute, they merely said they want to be a part of nation building process. Just like them, each and every citizen of this nation, irrespective of who they are, plays a vital role in nation building process," Kovind said.
After the prime minister and president gave their respective speeches, arrows were fired to set the effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran ablaze at the Parade Ground.
The burning of the giant effigies, signifying the triumph of good over evil, was organised by the Shri Dharmik Leela Committee, which has been organising the city's one of the most high-profile Raamlila events at the grounds opposite the historic Red Fort since 1924.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and Union ministers Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel,
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari were also among those present.
Earlier, Modi, Kovind and Manmohan Singh had applied tilak on the foreheads of the Ramlila participants playing the roles of Rama, Laxmana and Hanuman, the chief protagonists of the epic Ramayana, parts of which are enacted during the Navratra celebrations that culminated on Dussehra with the slaying of Ravana.
BJP chief Amit Shah attended another such event nearby, organised by the Luv Kush Ram Lila commitee near the Red Fort,
while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attended one organised by the Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Sep 30, 2017 19:17:10 IST