PM Narendra Modi after voting in the Vice-Presidential election at Parliament on Saturday. (Source: Express Photo/Renuka Puri)
PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Saturday said that dialogue is the only way to cut through deep-rooted religious stereotypes and prejudices that divide communities across the world and sow seeds of conflict between nations and societies. “As the interconnected and interdependent world of 21st century battles a number of global challenges, from terrorism to climate change, I am confident that the solutions will be found through Asia’s oldest traditions of dialogue and debate,” he said in a video message to the second edition of “Samvad-Global Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness”, being held in Yangon.
Modi said he is a “product of the ancient Indian tradition that firmly believes in dialogue on difficult issues.” He also said that the ancient Indian concept of “tarka shastra” (debating) is founded on dialogue and debate as the model for exchange of views and avoidance of conflict.
It is only natural that the search for answers be led by the humanity’s longest traditions of thought, rooted in various religions, civilizations, and multiple streams of spirituality, he said. Giving examples of Ram, Krishna, Buddha and Bhakta Prahlad, the Prime Minister said the purpose of each of their actions was to uphold dharma (duty), which has sustained Indians from ancient to modern times.
Talking about the environment, he said man must relate to nature and revere it, and not merely consider it a resource to be exploited. If man does not nurture nature, then nature reacts in the form of climate change, he said. Environmental laws and regulations, while essential in any modern society, afford only an inferior protection to nature, he added, calling for “harmonious environmental consciousness.”