Sydney, Nov 17:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday invited the Indian diaspora in Australia to participate in the Swachch Bharat or Clean India campaign.
Addressing a 16,000-strong ecstatic Indian diaspora crowd at the Allphones Arena here, the prime minister said cleanliness is an area where his government is focusing.
“Dirt attracts illness and the poor man suffers, due to which work days are lost and monetarily too.. I invite your participation in the drive,” he said, as the crowd chanted “Modi, Modi”.
Modi also urged the diaspora to build at least one toilet in the village of their origin in India. He expressed admiration for the dignity of labour he has witnessed in Australia.
“When I came earlier to Australia many would ask what have you learnt from Australia – and that is dignity of labour,” he said.
He said in Australia people speak with the same respect to a doctor as with a driver. He mentioned how on weekends a research scientist works as a driver to earn money.
“This dignity of labour is something to learn from,” he added.
He said he wanted to give the same message of dignity of labour through the Swachch Bharat campaign.
Giving an example, he said in India the garbage collector is called the “kachchra wala”. “But he in reality is removing the filth… our mentality needs to change.”
He said that today people, including industrialists, are participating in the clean India mission. “I salute them.”
He added that on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary of return to India in 2019 – “the least we can do for Mahatma Gandhi is have a clean India.”
He said it would give a fillip to tourism in the country, besides improving the lives of the poor.
Modi said that that it was his good fortune to be the first Indian prime minister to be born post-Independence.
“It is my good fortune that I’m the first prime minister of India to be born post-1947. We did not get the opportunity to die for the nation or spend our youth in jail. But we can surely live for the nation,” he said.
At the gathering, which was attended by over 16,000 members of the Indian Australian community, Modi dedicated the respect and ovation that he was getting in Australia to the Indian people.
“This welcome, this respect, this enthusiasm…I dedicate it to the people of India,” he said.
The prime minister lamented that “it took 28 years for (an Indian prime minister) to come here.”
The last Indian prime minister to visit Australia was Rajiv Gandhi.
“My friends in Australia, I assure you… you won’t have to wait for 28 years,” Modi said.
Modi arrived in Australia Nov 14 to attend the G20 summit in Brisbane. He will also address the Australian parliament and visit Melbourne during his stay.
We did not get the opportunity to die for the nation or spend our youth in jail. But we can surely live for the nation,” he said.