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Prime Minister Narendra Modi may declare ‘Bodh Gaya’, the city where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, as the spiritual capital of Buddhism. Modi is visiting Bodh Gaya on Saturday, 6 September 2015 to become the first PM to visit the place since 1954, as he sees it as the one with credentials to emerge as the "global symbol and vehicle" for peace and enlightenment.
Special place to Bodh Gaya
It is the part of the strategy by the Modi government to focus on Buddhism leveraging soft power of India to reach large sheathe of countries that are under the influence of Buddhism. Seventy Buddhist scholars belonging to around two dozen countries under the influence of Buddhism would probably participate in the Bodh Gaya function.
Senior government source of 'Samvad - Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness' said, "This is an asset which was never appreciated. Civilisational affinity between India and these countries can be a force multiplier for Delhi, helping it to forge new partnerships and deepen existing ones.”
Modi proclaimed while commemorating Buddha Purnima that Buddha is the reason for Asia dominating the 21st century. PM said at an official function on 4 May 2015 that, "The world is discussing that the 21st century will be Asia's century. (Though) there may be differences which Asian country the Asian century shall belong to... but an aspect possibly overlooked by those having the vision is that Buddha's way is the sole reason why the 21st century will belong to Asia.”
According to government sources, government is planning for a special place to Bodh Gaya as a part of commonality between Buddhist and Hindu civilizations. Modi said that Hinduism and Buddhism were "philosophies and not just belief systems".