Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday highlighted the importance of people-to-people contact in understanding the culture of other countries and gave the examples of India handing over a holy relic of Saint Ketevan to Georgia and the inauguration of renovated Silat Road Gurudwara in Singapore
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday highlighted the importance of people-to-people contact in understanding the culture of other countries and gave the examples of India handing over a holy relic of Saint Ketevan to Georgia and the inauguration of renovated Silat Road Gurudwara in Singapore.
"People-to-people connect between two nations gets strengthened through such events, such efforts. We also get to know that living in a cordial atmosphere and understanding the culture of each other, carries so much importance," said Modi in his weekly radio address Mann Ki Baat (Speaking My Mind).
India recently handed over the holy relics of Saint Queen Ketevan that was found in 2005 in Saint Augustine Church in Goa.
"Friends, a few days back a very interesting and emotional event took place which imparted a new strength to India-Georgia relationship. During the function, India handed over a holy relic of Saint Ketevan to Georgia. For this, our External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar himself went there. President, Prime Minister of Georgia, many religious leaders and people of Georgia were present in large numbers during the function, held in an extremely emotional environment," said Modi.
"During the function, the words said in the praise of India are so memorable, along with bilateral relations between the two nations, the function also strengthened relations between Goa and Georgia," added Modi.
It was an Indian foreign minister's first visit to Georgia, a former Soviet republic that stands at the intersection of Europe and Asia.
This incident is about 400-500 years ago, Queen Ketevan was a daughter of the Royal Family of Georgia. She was martyred after 10 years of imprisonment in 1624. According to ancient Portuguese documents, the mortal remains of Saint Queen Ketevan were kept in Saint Augustine Church in old Goa. But, for a long time, it was believed that the mortal remains buried in Goa had disappeared in the 1930 earthquake.
After the efforts of the Indian government along with Georgian historians, researchers, archaeologists and Georgian Church efforts to search for the holy relics were successful in 2005.
"This is an emotional issue for the people of Georgia. Keeping in mind their historical, religious and spiritual sentiments, the Indian Government decided to gift a portion of the holy relic to the people of Georgia. I wish to extend heartful gratitude to the people of Goa for preserving this unique aspect of the joint history of India and Georgia," said Modi.
Modi also gave the example of when Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong inaugurated a gurudwara in Singapore earlier this month while wearing a Sikh turban.
"Singapore's PM and my friend Lee Hsien Loong inaugurated recently renovated Silat Road Gurudwara. He also wore a traditional Sikh turban. This Gurudwara was built approximately 100 years ago and there is also a memorial dedicated to Bhai Maharaj Singh. He fought for the independence of India. This moment becomes more inspirational at a time when we are celebrating the 75th year of Independence," said Modi. (SAM)