Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago speech in 1893: The day that compelled the world to sit and take notice

It has been 125 years since the day Swami Vivekananda delivered that iconic speech in Chicago but the excerpts from that speech are enough to give goose bumps to every Indian even today.

Why wouldn’t it be?  It was for the first time that the entire world was compelled to sit and take notice of the greatness India possessed. It was this speech that changed the way the western countries perceived India.

To sum up the importance of this day in the history of India, here is what Narendra Modi said while addressing a students’ convention today to mark the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago address.

Today is 9/11. This day became widely spoken about after 2001 but 9/11 of 1893 was about love, harmony, and brotherhood. There was a 9/11 125 years ago when a young man from this nation of about your age gave a speech in dressed in saffron clothes. With just a few words, a youngster from India won over the world and showed the world the power of oneness.”

Exactly 108 years later this day, a terrorist attack took place in the USA in 2001 which shook the entire world and the day 11 September turned out to be remembered as a black day in human history.

In his iconic speech, Vivekananda recited a hymn- “As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.

In today’s world, when each one of us is struggling to find a solution to terrorism and every individual wants to protect the rights of one’s own community, this hymn is the last hope to world’s peace.

It’s time to turn back the clock and look beyond 2001 when we hear the day 9/11 to provide the last hope for the existence of humanity.

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