Diaspora can contribute to motherland in smallest of ways: Modi

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Gandhinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday recounted the example of an NRI from Surat who would diligently sweep and clean the roads of his ancestral village during his annual visits to India as an example of how the Indian diaspora can contribute to their motherland in even the smallest way.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian-origin, Modi also said the world is keen to embrace India and gave as example how the UN had accepted and also passed his proposal of having an international yoga day.

He said diaspora members living in far away countries feel they would not be able to contribute in any meaningful manner to their motherland.

Modi then recounted that a friend had sent him a newspaper cutting about the news of an NRI from Surat, Gujarat, who would visit his village every year and stay for 15 days.

“The gentleman would take the jharu (broom) and clean all the rubbish and the people would make fun of him thinking he is mentally offa But this time when he came, and took up the broom as usual as soon as he landed, he was joined by others in the village,” said Modi in apparent reference to the “Swachch Bharat” or Clean India mission launched by his government.

He said this was an example of how a person with commitment can change his village and said there would be many diaspora members like him contributing to their motherland.

Modi also recounted how his proposal during his speech at the UN last year of instituting an international yoga day has been passed in record time and with record number of member countries supporting the proposal, including over 40 Muslim countries.

He said of 193 member countries 177 as co-sponsors supported it, which he added was a record.

He also said that generally a proposal takes two years to fructify but with his proposal took around 100 days to pass.

“The world is keen to embrace India and this is a small example,” he said and added that the people of India need to believe in their potential.

He also recounted how a young NRI Muslim woman who visited Kutch during the 2002 quake in Gujarat stayed on for months and worked among the people to help in the rehabilitation efforts.

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