Modi in Varanasi: visits Ravidas temple, presents medals to BHU students (Roundup)

Varanasi, Feb 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Monday in his parliamentary constituency, where he visited the Saint Ravidas’ temple and presenting medals to meritorious students at the BHU convocation ceremony and asked youth to take pride in India’s rich heritage and culture.

Amid tight security, he had reached the Hindu holy town late on Sunday and spent the night at the DLW guest house at Dereka. He was earlier scheduled to come to Varanasi on Monday morning.

He left Dereka at around 10.15 a.m. in a chopper and soon after landing at the helipad in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, drove straight to the Ravidas temple in Seer Govardhanpuri which is also considered birthplace of the 16th-century saint.

The prime minister spent some 30 minutes here and was closeted at the sanctum sanctorum where he sat on the ground and paid obeisance to the saint who is venerated in large parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Owing to tight security, a saint of the sect was prevented from entering the temple while Modi was there, leading to loud protests from his followers.

Flanked by BHU Chancellor Karan Singh and union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, Modi attended the convocation ceremony at BHU where he gave away medals to 32 meritorious students.

Urging the youth to take pride in the rich heritage and culture of India as they move out of colleges and begin their journey in various careers, he narrated how yoga had existed through ages but when Indians took pride in it, the United Nations accepted a proposal for the International Yoga Day which was celebrated in 192 countries of the world.

He also urged students not to treat ‘dikshant’ (convocation) ceremonies as ‘shikshant’ (end of education) and said that in fact it was the beginning of a real life.

Modi urged the students who were passing out, that apart than spreading the good word about BHU, through noble deeds, the students should also try and give their best to the country and inspire others.

“You should have the motivation and the ability to realize your dreams, that’s the real test and a game changer,” he told the gathering of students amid applause.

Adding that inquisitiveness always added to development, the prime minister also urged the students to ensure that their willingness to learn more and more should never be allowed to die. “One should have the ability to rough it out, on the basis of knowledge, even in face of adversities and be assured every such person will make it big,” he said.

Modi also disclosed that he had politely declined to accept a honorary doctorate offered by the BHU as he did not consider himself worthy of it.

“Being in BHU itself is a big achievement,” he said, adding that the love and faith bestowed on him by Varanasi had indebted him for his lifetime.

In Monday’s convocation, a total of 11,620 degrees were distributed.

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