09 April 2014

Sonia Gandhi On Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary (2013) was celebrated all over India through different events and festivals. On 12 January 2014, on the last day of the year-long birth anniversary celebration, Indian Nation Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a speech at a function at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India attended the function as the chief guest.

In this article you'll find Sonia Gandhi's comments on Swami Vivekananda.

Sonia Gandhi's address on 12 January 2014
Sonia Gandhi (centre)
Image source: New Indian Express

Shri A. K. Antony1, Smt. Chandresh Kumari2, Swami Suhitanandaji3, Swamiji, nuns and distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Today a year long period of commemoration and celebration comes to a formal close but only in name for how can anything connected with Swami Vivekananda come to an end. He lives on his radiance undeemed over the years. He lives on his capacity to illumine our past   undiminished by the passage of time.

Today, we gather again to recall mesmerizing icon, that magnetic personality,   who made the world sit up and take note of all that the terries in our ancient culture and in our tradition. Today, we assemble here to remember a courageous crusader against traditions' social evils, a relentless champion of universal education, a tireless advocate of gender equality and a steadfast believer in communal harmony.

Swami Vivekananda died young, in his thirties, long before our independence movement took shape and gathered momentum. But he exercised a profound influence of each and every one of the luminaries who came to shape our nationhood. Among them were Sh. Aurobindo, Lok Manya Tilak, Rabindranath Tagore, Motilal Nehru and Chittaranjan Das, Mahatma Gandhi himself, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel, Rajaji and so many other  shining stars of that wonderful galaxy.   From Swami Vivekananda's example they learnt to draw inspiration from our country's past in order to correct its present and built its future.

Thirty years ago, Indira Gandhi, who had a familiar close relation with Ramakrishna mission, declared Swahili's birthday as National youth Day. That was because she saw the importance of his life and thoughts as a beacon to guide the youth of our country. He had induced the vigour of his intellect and energy of his youth to his life's project of bringing India to achieve both spiritual greatness and material prosperity. He promoted reason and science as the means of freeing India from ignorance, poverty, Inequality and violence. That project was embraced by our founding fathers and it remains in different ways and in different circumstances, a continuing task for each generation.
All who followed humbly in the footsteps of this personality, all of us who continue to be stead by his life, a life of magnificent achievement, both in Indian and in the World, must rise above politics and heat his teaching of vision and tolerance.

In his concluding words to the Parliament of the World religions in Chicago in 1893, he voiced his anxiety eloquently when he said, "Sectarianism, bigotry and the horrible descendant fanaticism have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent the whole nations to the spare."

Swamiji's words have all the more weightage today as the religious fanaticism of all sorts, threatens the piece of many nations and of our region. His ideas must be taken to the hearts and minds of our new generation of young Indians who will and must battle against fanaticism. Swamiji's vision is clear. He teaches us not to foul play to narrow mindedness and selfish interests.

Friends, all over the world, the populations are ageing but the profile of our nation remains young. The India of the 21st century is a known society with young population – a society with high expectation and aspiration. They want to be educated better, they want to be governed better; they want to find employment that meets their aspirations; we should not and cannot fail them.

In our long and glorious history, India has given birth to many men and women who have transformed the way we think, the way we act, the way we live, men and women who have given a whole new direction to our society. Swami Vivekananda is amongst the most luminous among of the more. To say that he is the most unforgettable is to make an understatement. His relevance has actually grown with the decades and I believe that is his pressure magic that is the special fascination he continues to hold for all of us.

Thank you. . . Jai Hind.


  1. Defence Minister of India
  2. Indian Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha
  3. Senior monk and a member of the Governing Body and Board of Trustees of Ramakrishna Mission


A video of the address is available at YouTube.

"Swami Vivekananda is not Narendra Modi's monopoly. . ."
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi calls himself an admirer and follower of Swami Vivekananda. Gujarat state government, led by Narendra Modi, organised many events between 2012–2014 to commemorate Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary.

In October 2012, when Narendra Modi and Gujarat government were preparing for Swami Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra, Sonia Gandhi visited the Ramakrishna Mission branch at Rajkot, Gujarat. There Mrs. Gandhi gave the message that neither Swami Vivekananda nor hi guru Ramakrishna was Narendra Modi's "monopoly".[Source]

This page was last updated on: 9 April 2014, 9:55 am IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
Number of revisions in this page: 1

1 comment:

  1. These are just politics. These politicians have no real admiration for him.


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