Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday invoked Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, to emphasise the need for peace and justice, as he visited a mosque in Indore to attend an event organised by the Bohra Muslims.
Modi shared the dais with the Bohra community's spiritual head Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin at the 'Ashara Mubarak' event, which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Husain, at the Saifee Mosque in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
According to a spokesman of the Bohra community, it is the first time that a prime minister has attended the 'Ashara Mubarak' programme of the community held annually during the first 10 days of the Shia calendar, coinciding with the Moharram.
Addressing a gathering of Dawoodi Bohra community members, Modi said, “Imam Hussain had sacrificed his life for the sake of peace and justice. He had raised his voice against injustice and arrogance.”
He added that these teachings of Imam Hussain were more important today than those times.
The prime minister, who was felicitated by Saifuddin on his arrival at the mosque, showered praise on the Bohra Muslim community for globally spreading the message of co-existence.
“The concept of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' is a great strength of India, making it distinct from others. The Bohra community is making the world aware of this concept through its work,” Modi said.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, he explained, is an ancient Indian concept which envisages the the world as one family.
"We are proud of our past, we believe in our present and are confident of our bright future," Modi said at the event which was also attended by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
In his address, the prime minister spoke about his government's initiatives like 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' (cleanliness campaign), 'Make-in-India' programme and rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
He said the members of the Bohra community took maximum advantage of these initiatives as they are known to carry out their trade and business world over with honesty.
"They (Bohras) have set an example for other people (with their honest trade dealings)," he said.
At the same time, he added, ‘all five fingers of a hand are not equal. Some people consider fraud as business’.
He said his government, over the last four years, has sent out a message that the business should be done within the purview of the rules and law.
“Honest businessmen are being encouraged through steps like GST and Bankruptcy law," Modi said.
The prime minister also praised the Dawoodi Bohras for their efforts to make the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a success.
The 'Swachhata Pakhwada' (cleanliness fortnight) will be launched on Saturday and will culminate on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, he said.
Modi recalled Mahatma Gandhi's close association with Sydena Mohammad Burhanuddin, the late spiritual head of the Bohra community.
"Mahatma Gandhi met the Sydena during a train journey and they became very close. During the 'Dandi March', Gandhiji stayed in Saifee Villa (a building owned by the community in Dandi, Gujarat) which was later dedicated to the nation," the prime minister said.
Referring to the 'Make-in-India' programme, Modi said, ‘the confidence of investors across the world has increased in India. The production of mobiles phones, vehicles and other goods is increasing due to the record investment.’
He said that in the last quarter of the current fiscal, the country has achieved the growth rate of more than eight percent.
“We are eying the double digit. I believe that the country can reach to the goal despite all the challenges," the prime minister said.
Modi also said that his government has given priority to health and nutrition sectors and that it was being done for the first time in the country's history.
The facilities of cheap treatment and medicines are being expanded exponentially, he added.
He said the 'Ayushman Bharat Scheme' (national health protection scheme) has emerged like a panacea for nearly 50 crore people of poor sections of the country, which is almost equal to the entire population of Europe.
Modi also said that the government is working to provide a house to every homeless poor in the country by 2022. Under this scheme, more than one crore people have been given the houses so far, he said.
He also lauded Indore for topping the nationwide cleanliness survey earlier this year.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Sydena Saifuddin also addressed the gathering.
All photographs: @PIB_India/Twitter