Raipur: Pitching for peace, unity and harmony against the backdrop of 'intolerance' debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked people to respect each other's traditions and views, saying its absence can obstruct development.
"We are a country with diversity. This is our big strength. Harmony is our strength," he said while addressing the National Youth Festival here via video conferencing.
Underlining that his government is working for the development of the country, Modi said, "If we do not maintain harmony, a sense of belonging, we will not be able to make progress. If unity and harmony are not there, if we do not respect each other's traditions and views, then there can be obstruction in the path of development." He said prosperity, wealth and creation of employment will have no meaning if there is no peace, unity and harmony.
"So it is the demand of time that we maintain peace, unity and harmony. These are the guarantee for the country's progress," the Prime Minister told the gathering of youth collected for the four-day event to mark Swami Vivekanda's birth anniversary.
He said India has shown to the world that the country with hundreds of languages, different religions and such diversity can live in peace. "This is our culture, we have grown up in this culture. We have to preserve this," Modi said and invoked Vivekananda's teachings in this regard. "We have to nurture unity and strengthen the bridge of harmony," he added.
The comments assume significance as these came against the backdrop of 'intolerance' debate that was triggered following the killing of a Muslim man in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh few months back over rumours that he had consumed beef.