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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 10, 2007
1857, a great testimony and a tribute to Hindu-Muslim unity: Manmohan Singh
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1857, a great testimony and a tribute to Hindu-Muslim unity: Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the uprising of 1857 was a great testimony and a tribute to the traditions of Hindu-Muslim unity in India.

New Delhi, May 10 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the uprising of 1857 was a great testimony and a tribute to the traditions of Hindu-Muslim unity in India.

Adressing members of Parliament on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the uprsing, Dr. Singh said that the rebels of 1857 fought for freedom from foreign rule. They also fought to protect their faiths.

"We must not make the mistake today of interpreting these terms of "deen and dharma" in the narrow sense of the word `religion'. What the rebels fought to defend was `a way of life' which they feared the British were destroying," said the Prime Minister, adding that "a military mutiny quickly transformed itself into a battle for freedom."

He further went on to say that both Karl Marx and Benjamin Disraeli, "watching the events from London - and from two very different ideological perspectives - conceded that the uprising was nothing short of a "national revolt".

Dr. Singh said that what was significant about the upsring was that despite rallying under the flag of deen and dharma, the rebellion was united.

"There was no division between Hindus and Muslims in their resistance to alien domination. In every ishtahar (advertisement) that the rebel leadership issued, Hindus and Muslims were called upon to rise together to fight against British rule and to remove it," he said.

While the rebels struggle may not have been imbued with modern notions of nationalism, it would be wrong to take away from them their valour and their heroism in standing up to the might of the British colonial rulers, the Prime Minister said.

"We cannot forget the Hindu-Muslim unity that 1857 represented and held out as an example for subsequent generations, Singh said, and appealed to the people of the country "to ensure that their (the rebels) sacrifice is not in vain."

"It is our responsibility to build a nation, free from want, rid of the ancient scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease. It is our responsibility to build a new India that is inclusive and caring. It is our responsibility to build an India marked by harmony between communities, social justice and the equality of all, irrespective of religion, region, language or caste. It is by doing so will we be able to pay true homage to those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of our freedom," he added.

As a nation inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violence, India has consciously abjured violence as an instrument of social and political change. Yet we cannot forget those inspired revolutionaries -- many of them anonymous to history --- who sacrificed their lives in 1857 to free the country from foreign yoke.British rule sought to trample on the cherished notions of an ancient culture. The people of India resisted this intervention in their way of life, Dr. Singh said in conclusion.

ANI

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