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Modi reinforces India as civilizational state with new world class Buddhist digital library

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reinforced India’s credentials as a civilizational state and pointed to its continuous role in spreading the message of Buddha. He announced that India will host a world-class digital library on Buddhism.

The new library will not only contain archival material related to Buddhism, but would also become a centre for research to address contemporary global problems, based on Buddhist values, Modi said during his address at the Indo-Japan Samwad conference.

He added: “The library will collect digital copies of all such Buddhist literature from different countries. It will aim to translate them, and make them freely available for all monks and scholars of Buddhism. The library will not only be a depository of literature. It will also be a platform for research and dialogue – a true Samwad between human beings, between societies, and between humans and nature.”

Analysts point out that India’s latest initiative docks with its role in far history to study and spread Buddhist values from foundational centres such as the famed Nalanda University and Sarnath.

The address also acquires significance as there has been a campaign in key intellectual circles to deny India the status of a civilizational state, by pointing out that historically, India did not have administrative unity.

Taking the cue from Buddhist values, the Prime Minister said that the conduct of international relations must be based on “humanism”. “We must make harmonious co-existence with nature as the central pillar of our existence.”

Calling for the democratisation of the global system, PM Modi pointed out discussions on global growth must follow holistic dimensions and cannot happen only between a few. “The table must be bigger. The agenda must be broader. Growth patterns must follow a human-centric approach. And, be in harmony with our surroundings.”

The Prime Minister warned that in the past, humanity often took the path of confrontation instead of collaboration. That must change now.

“From Imperialism to the world wars. From the arms race to the space race. We had dialogues but they were aimed at pulling others down. Now, let us rise together.”.