In the annals of Indian history, Swami Vivekananda stands tall as a torchbearer of the Indian freedom movement, inspiring generations of freedom fighters with his powerful speeches and teachings. Like the French Revolution, which was ignited by the ideas of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu, India's own struggle for freedom was catalysed by this revered spiritual leader.

On the occasion of the 160th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, it is important to reflect on the profound contributions he made to the Indian freedom struggle. Swami Vivekananda, born on January 12, 1863, was a spiritual leader, philosopher, and cultural reformer who played a significant role in shaping the nationalist movement in India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When Vivekananda arrived on the national scene, India was reeling from centuries of colonisation and exploitation. Its political and economic power had been stripped away, and its people had lost touch with their rich cultural heritage and past. But Vivekananda was determined to change this. He reminded Indians of their proud traditions and encouraged them to reclaim their identity.

This message was brought to the world stage in September 1893, when Vivekananda delivered a powerful speech at the Parliament of World's Religions in Chicago. In that address, he declared that "Mother India will attain independence," and his words had a profound impact on both the Western world's perception of India, and on the way Indians viewed themselves. The speech is still remembered today as one of the most powerful and influential of the 19th century.

Vivekananda also brought the idea of Hinduism to America, and his audience was impressed by his speech, which is still talked about and discussed to this date. His explanation of Hinduism, a concept that was not well-understood by Westerners at the time, introduced new ideals and concepts that continue to fascinate people to this day.

Biman Behari Majumdar, a leading socio-political historian of his era, writes that Swami Vivekananda's triumphant return from his first Western tour in 1897 marked a turning point in the history of nationalism in India. In a speech given in Madras on February 14th, 1897, Vivekananda called on his fellow Indians to worship the motherland alone and exclusively for the next fifty years, urging them to "give up being a slave." As Majumdar notes, it was exactly fifty years later, on February 23rd, 1947, that Major Attlee, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced the decision to quit India.

Vivekananda's words had a powerful impact on the freedom fighters of his era, many of whom kept his photo or books close at hand. The British government even described him as a "tough politician" who took cover in saffron robes. Even Mahatma Gandhi, who went on to become a central figure in India's freedom struggle, credited Vivekananda with inspiring him, stating that "I got a thousand times more energy after I read Swami Vivekananda's books."

Swami Vivekananda was born on January 12th, 1863, and passed away on July 4th, 1902. His spiritual mentor was Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Vivekananda credited much of his understanding of God and spirituality to him. He went on to spread this knowledge across India and the world. Though he died at a young age of 39, his teachings and influential quotes have earned him immortality.

Girish Linganna
Defence and Aerospace Analyst

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Meerut (UP) (PTI): Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president Tejasvi Surya claimed on Tuesday that the BJP will get more seats in next year's Lok Sabha polls compared to the 2019 general election.

He also said the "double-engine" government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has changed the face of Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a BJYM convention in Meerut, Surya said, "The BJP will get more seats in the 2024 polls than in 2019 and (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji will score a hat-trick for a third innings."

The member of Parliament from Bangalore South also alleged that before 2014, when the Modi government came to power, there was a misrule in the country, adding that nine years of the Modi government have proved to be more effective than the 70 previous years. People's welfare is the topmost priority of this government, he said.

Surya said the "double-engine" government has changed the face of Uttar Pradesh, adding that thanks to Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the law-and-order scenario of the state has also improved.

"Double engine" is a term often used by BJP leaders to refer to the saffron party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state.

Surya said under Modi's leadership, India has got respect at the global stage, which is only increasing.

The prime minister is trying to take the country to new heights, he added.