It is "a matter of pride" for all Indians that Suriname's new President Chandrika Parasad Santokhi took the oath of office holding the Vedas and began it with Vedic hymns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address on Sunday. Santokhi, Modi said, started his oath with Vedic hymns and spoke in Sanskrit.
He referred to the Vedas and concluded his oath with 'Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti', the prime minister observed. "Holding the Vedas in his hand he said, 'I, Chandrika Prasad Santokhi', and, further what did he say in his oath? He recited a hymn from the Vedas itself. He said, 'hey Agni, fire, the god of resolve, I am taking an oath. Give me strength and capability for this. Bless me so that I keep away from untruth and move towards truth'. Truly, this, for all of us, is a matter of pride" Modi said.
The prime minister congratulated Santokhi and wished him the best on behalf of Indians for serving his nation. India has a very close relationship with Suriname, Modi said.
More than a hundred years ago, people from India went there and made it their home. Today, the fourth or the fifth generation is there. Today in Suriname more than one-fourth of the people are of Indian origin. 'Sarnami' one of the common languages there is a dialect of Bhojpuri. "We Indians feel very proud of these cultural relations," he said.