Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking his 66th birthday in the presence of over 11,000 disabled people here, asked if any of his predecessors had ever marked an occasion like this. The Prime Minister's birthday celebration in the agricultural city of south Gujarat marked world records for the most number of people fitted with hearing aids, differently-abled provided with kits and a logo formation through wheelchairs.
"I am lucky to celebrate this day with so many divyangs (people with disability). Did any Prime Minister ever do this?" asked Modi in Gujarati to the massive crowd made up mostly of Gujarati-speaking people. Saying that he was blessed to be amidst the disabled, Modi said: "Previous governments only held 57 camps for divyangs while we held 4,000 in only two years."
Asking people not to pity the disabled, the Prime Minister announced a universal syllabus in sign language that would be the same for all the regions. "Like people here can't understand Tamil, sign languages are different in different regions. We had started a programme of a universal sign language, so it would be common for all. "Don't pity divyangs, they have self respect, they deserve equality," he said, adding that people also need to change their views of the girl child.
He also recalled his early days he spent in Navsari. About 11,232 disabled people received wheelchairs, tri-cycles, smart sticks, smart phones, laptops with special softwares for mentally challenged people, Braille scripts, callipers aid and other tools and scholarships, marking three world records.
Speaking of the Clean India campaign, Modi said that no previous government had ever made an attempt to revolutionise the bid for cleanliness. "Did any one ever do such a revolution for cleanliness? Media has helped a lot in spreading the awareness, and today if an old person throws garbage in the open, then their grandchildren ask them not to do so as Modi dada has said," he said. Adding that the world has expectations from India, the Prime Minster said that the days of "tardiness" are over.