Asserting that India stands firmly with its brave soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to light a diya at their homes to honour security forces guarding the country's borders while they celebrate festivals.
In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio broadcast, Modi also made a strong pitch for unity in the country while remembering Sardar Patel whose birth anniversary will be marked later this month on October 31.
"Unity is power, unity is strength, unity is progress, unity is empowerment, united we will scale new heights," the prime minister said.
"There have also been forces which continuously try to sow the seeds of suspicion in our minds, and try to divide the country. The country too has given a befitting reply to these ill-intentions every time," he said.
Modi exhorted people to constantly try through their creativity and love to bring out the beautiful colours of 'Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat' even in the smallest of tasks.
The prime minister said on Patel's birth anniversary, he will attend many events to be held in and around the historic Statue of Unity in Kevadiya, Gujarat.
Modi also remembered former prime minister Indira Gandhi, whose death anniversary is on October 31.
He wished people on Dussehra and said that with various festivals coming up, they need to show patience and follow health guidelines in celebrating these auspicious occasions during the COVID times.
"Today, all of you are carrying on with immense patience, celebrating the festival with restraint, and hence, in our ongoing fight, our victory too is assured," Modi said.
He asked people to keep the 'vocal for local' resolve in their mind and give priority to local products while shopping for festivals.
The world is taking note of India's products, he said, citing the example of rising popularity of Khadi.
Modi talked about Khadi being popularised in Mexico's Oaxaca by a person named Mark Brown, who has made it a brand there.
Highlighting the growing popularity of Khadi, he said Khadi masks had become popular during COVID-19 times and that on Gandhi Jayanti, the Khadi store in Connaught Place here had witnessed purchases of over Rs 1 crore in just a day.
In his 30-minute address, the PM also hailed the contribution of soldiers and their service to the nation.
"We must also think of our braveheart soldiers who are firmly stationed on our borders in the line of duty, even during these festive times, all in the service and security of Mother India," Modi said.
"We have to light a diya (lamp) at home in honour of these brave sons and daughters of Mother India. I would also like to assure our brave soldiers that despite they being away at the borders, the entire country is with them, wishing well for them," he said.
The prime minister hailed the sacrifice of those families, whose sons and daughters are at the border.
Modi's remarks come amid a border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
Both sides held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row that began on May 5, following a violent clash in eastern Ladakh.
However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff.
In his address, the prime minister also talked about indigenous sports and pointed to the growing popularity of Mallakhambh in countries like the US, Germany, Poland and Malaysia.
Mallakhambh is a traditional sport in which a gymnast performs aerial yoga postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole, cane, or rope.
During the radio broadcast, Modi spoke with a person named Pon Mariyappan from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and lauded his initiative of converting a small portion of his hair cutting salon into a library.
The prime minister hailed several initiatives of people running mobile libraries in states like UP and Arunachal Pradesh.
Talking about the upcoming birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, Modi said one will come across few people whose personality has so many elements -- depth of thoughts, moral courage, political genius, in depth knowledge of the field of agriculture and spirit of commitment to national unity.
"He (Patel) worked for the integration of the Princely States with our nation. He was invoking the mantra of 'unity in diversity' in the mind of every Indian," the PM said.
Modi also hailed the efforts of his holiness Adi Shankaracharya and the Bhakti movement for promoting unity.
"In the last century, in our country, we have had luminaries such as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who forged unity among us all through the medium of the Constitution," he said.
During the broadcast, he urged listeners to visit ekbharat.gov.in, which displays many efforts made to advance the campaign of national integration.
In his address, Modi highlighted the role played by Pulwama in educating the country.
He pointed out that the Kashmir Valley meets almost 90 per cent demand for the pencil slats, timber casings of the entire country, and of that, a very large share comes from Pulwama.
Highlighting the usefulness of the new farm laws, Modi said a company in Maharashtra paid not just the cost of the corn but also an additional bonus with it to farmers.
"This was a pleasant surprise for farmers. When the company was asked for the same, they said under the new farm specific laws framed by the government of India, farmers are able to sell their produce in any part of the country and are getting good prices for the same. Thus, the company thought of sharing their extra profits with farmers," he said.