Sanitation workers have first right on Vande Mataram: PM
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that those who keep the country clean have the first right to chant Vande Mataram and wondered whether people who littered and dirtied the country had any right to the nationalist slogan.
Modi was addressing a students' convention at Vigyan Bhawan to mark the 125 years of Swami Vivekananda's address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago and the centenary celebrations of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
"As I entered, I heard people loudly chanting Vande Mataram...The value of patriotism fills my heart. I am asking all countrymen whether we have the right to chant Vande Mataram. I know this will hurt many people.
"We chew 'paan' and spit it out on Mother India and then chant Vande Mataram. Throw garbage and then chant Vande Mataram... The sanitation and cleaning workers have the first right to say Vande Mataram," he said.
Urging people to keep their surroundings clean, the prime minister told the gathering that people may or may not keep their surroundings clean but nobody had the right to dirty places.
The comments come in the backdrop of the government's efforts to 'clean India' by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Modi also batted for innovation and promoting skills among the youth and asked them to work for a modern India.
Vivekananda supported experimentation and innovation and his government was working according to his ideals, Modi said.
Emphasising that Vivekananda's historic September 11 address in the US was a message of love and brotherhood, the prime minister said the devastating 9/11 terror strike might not have happened if the significance of his speech had not been forgotten.