Modi washes feet of sanitation workers at Kumbh, says will carry memory life-long
Allahabad, Feb. 24 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a holy dip at the Sangam here and interacted with sanitation workers, who have ensured cleanliness during the ongoing Kumbh Mela, describing them as “real karma-yogis” whose contributions are being lauded all over.
Modi also performed the Ganga aarti and conducted ‘Charan Vandana’ (washing the feet) of select sanitation workers, as a mark of respect to their efforts in ensuring a clean Kumbh.
He presented them ‘angvastram’ and said he would carry the memory of washing the feet of safai karamcharis life-long. In a tweet, he said he prayed for the well-being of 130 crore Indians at the Sangam.
He described all those, who have been involved in ensuring the best of arrangements for the devotees gathering at Prayagraj for the Kumbh, as “real karma-yogis”.
In this context, he mentioned the NDRF, the boatmen, the local population, and the sanitation workers as well.
“No one can know the labour they (safai karamcharis) have put in the Kumbh. Cleanliness has been the trademark of this Kumbh,” Modi said addressing the Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar programme.
“It is my wish that your blessings remain with me and I continue to work for you.”
He said no stone was left unturned to make this “Divya Kumbh” and “Bhavya (grand) Kumbh”, and this Kumbh will also be remembered as “digital Kumbh”
“The Swachh Kumbh is happening at a time when the nation is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who had 100 years ago expressed the desire for a clean Kumbh when he visited the Kumbh in Haridwar. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is moving ahead, and by October 2, India will become open defecation-free,” he said.
Starting and ending his speech paying gratitude to the holy rivers in Prayagraj, a place of reverence, especially for Hindus, Modi also praised the “naaviks’ (boatmen), calling them the “sevak” of Lord Ram.
The prime minister described himself as their, the boatmen’s, pradhan sevak (principal servant).
“Boatmen play an important role during Kumbh. There is a strong relationship between Prayagraj and boatmen. They are the dedicated soldiers of Maa Ganga. Without them, the Ramayana of Lord Ram is incomplete,” Modi said.
“Lord Ram, by whose benevolence everyone’s boat sails through, his boat was ferried by our naavik friends. I share a deep relationship with you… You call yourself ‘Gangaputra’, I have come on the call of Maa Ganga and serving you,” the prime minister said amid an applause from the audience.
He said the infrastructure created for this year’s Kumbh is permanent, unlike previous years.
Showering praises on people from different sectors engaged in various duties, Modi said, “In Kumbh, there are tap-yogis, hath-yogis and our hardworking karma-yogis. These are the people who have worked day and night to provide security and assistance to the devotees visiting the place.”
“The place where more than 20-22 crore people have assembled in the past week, making arrangements at that place is difficult. But, you have proved that nothing is impossible in the world.”
Narrating his experience of washing the feet of swachagrahis (safai workers), the prime minister said, “The moments of washing the feet will remain forever etched in my life.”
Referring to the Namami Gange Mission, Modi said the nirmalta (pristine nature) of river Ganga would be maintained. “Thirty-two drains falling in Ganga in Prayagraj were closed, and sewage water is diverted to treatment plant, and water is discharged in the river after treatment.”
The prime minister also said that this time the “Kumbh has become a triveni (point of confluence) of Adhyatma (spiritualism), Aastha (faith) and Aadhuniktaa (modernity).”
Modi said the cleanliness of Ganga river has been the subject of much discussion this year. He added that today, he has witnessed it first-hand.
A few days ago, he said, he received the Seoul Peace Prize, which included an amount of about INR 1.30 crore. He said he donated that amount towards the Namami Gange Mission.
He also mentioned that the gifts and mementoes he received as prime minister have also been auctioned, and their proceeds have gone towards Namami Gange Mission.
Modi said a ‘Swachh Sewa Samman Kosh’ has been created.
“This will ensure help to the sanitation workers working in the Kumbh Mela, and their family members in special circumstances. This is a symbol of love and gratitude from the countrymen for you and and the work done by you,” he said.