Calling the Kumbh Mela the biggest cultural event in the world, the Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that it was the largest gathering of Dharmik and Spiritual people. It is one of the greatest wonders of the World. He also said that it has projected the magnificent “Soft Power” of India to the world. He said that it would develop Prayagraj and adjoining historical places into tourist destinations.
Naidu, was on a day-long visit to Prayagraj, where he felicitated the volunteers at the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan. He also addressed the Kiva Kumbh Mela where representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Netherlands, Brazil etc were in attendance.
Addressing the Yuva Kumbh Sammelan, Naidu stressed upon the need to educate and inform people about the importance of cleanliness and sanitation especially during events such as the Kumbh where more than 19 crore people offered prayers to the river Ganga.
Asserting that peoples’ participation was crucial in achieving the objectives of programmes such as Namami Gange and Swachh Bharat, he called upon the volunteers to educate the devotees on the importance of keeping rivers clean and of avoiding the use of plastics. For this, he wanted them to become Swachhta guards.
Later, speaking at Kiva Kumbh Mela, the Vice President highlighted the need to evolve a social behavior which was compatible with nature. He further said that such behavior, if in consonance with nature, would be called as ‘Sansktiri’ or Culture and if it destroys the fragile balance of the nature, it would be called ‘Vikriti’ or perversion.
Naidu said that humans have tinkered with nature through the relentless pursuit of industrial growth, unmindful of environmental consequences. He added that for development to be sustainable, it has to be compatible with nature.
The Vice President lamented that the pollution of the air, water and food resources and degradation of forest resources have created a situation where human and animal life was becoming increasingly unsustainable. ‘Our future is tied up with how we respect nature and preserve it’, he reasoned.
There is a cultural dimension as well, he said. ‘In my view, cultural ethos that promotes peace, harmony, tolerance and inclusive growth tends to be the best foundation for sustainable future’, he added. Observing that the holy land of Prayag holds great relevance in our tradition, Naidu said that the city has been the seat of culture, learning and literature.