My dear countrymen, Namaskar, Friends, in today’s episode of Mann Ki Baat, I shall also talk about a great personality of the country, cherished by all Indians with respect and affection from the core of their hearts. There must be hardly an Indian citizen who does not show deep regard for her, does not revere her. She is elder to most of us and has been a witness to myriad phases, different eras the country has passed through. We address her as “DIDI”, elder sister…. Lata Didi. She turns ninety this 28th of September. Before leaving on the foreign tour, I was blessed with an opportunity to converse with her on the phone. This chat was akin to a younger brother speaking to his elder sister affectionately. I usually refrain from sharing such personal conversations; but today, I want you to listen to the tete a tete; listen to Lata Didi. Listen to it for yourself how Lata Didi is earnestly concerned and eager about everything concerning the country. Her satisfaction and reassurance too, lies in the progress being made by India; the India on the path of change; the India that is gaining newer heights.
My dear countrymen, with the advent of Navaratri today, the air is bound to be full of new hopes, new energy, newer zest and newer resolves, once again. After all, it’s the festival season. The ensuing weeks shall be witness to the sparkle of festivals throughout the country. All of us shall celebrate the Navaratri Mahotsava, Garba, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, Bhaiya Dooj, Chhath Puja…. in fact innumerable festivals. Heartiest greetings to all of you for these festivals to come. During festivals, families come together. Homes will be filled with joy! But… you must have felt this… there are many people around us who remain deprived of these celebrations. And this is what is termed as “Chirag Tale Andhera” darkness just beneath the lamp! Perhaps this adage is not just a set of words; for us, it is an order a philosophical thought, or an inspiration. Just think about it; there are some homes, bathed in shimmering lights; on the other hand, just close by, there are some homes mired in darkness. There are homes where sweetmeats are left to rot; there are homes where children yearn for a sweet; at places almirahs run out of space to store more clothes; elsewhere, people have to slog to earn a decent covering for their bodies. So, is this not the darkness, just beneath the lamp? Indeed it is. The true joy radiating out of festivals is only when the darkness subsides and dissipates and a radiant glow emerges. Let us distribute joy, where there is a paucity of it… let it come naturally to us. On the one hand, when we experience the ‘Delivery In’ of sweetmeats, apparel, gifts and so on, let us think for a moment on the process of ‘Delivery Out’. At least in our homes, items that are in excess and thus, not required anymore, could be allocated for ‘Delivery Out’. In many cities, many NGOs run by young friends have formed Startups for this endeavor. They collect clothes, sweets, food from homes, look for the needy and hand them over discreetly. Can we, this time, during the festival season, dispel some of the darkness beneath the lamp with due awareness and resolve? The smiles thus accrued on the faces of numerous underprivileged families will more than double your joy during festivals… your faces will be lit up with a glow that will brighten your Diwali immensely.
My dear brothers and sisters, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, makes an entry into each and every household in the form of fortune and prosperity. Of course, Laxmi should be welcomed in the traditional way. Can we, this time, introduce a novelty in welcoming her? In our culture, daughters are considered Laxmi, since they are harbinger of fortune and prosperity. Can we, this time around in society, organize programmes to felicitate daughters in villages, towns and cities? It could be in the form of a public function. There must be numerous daughters amongst us who, through there perseverance, diligence and talent have brought glory to their families, society and the country. This Diwali, can we arrange programmes to honor the Laxmi of India? If you look around, you’ll find many daughters and daughters-in-law who are performing extraordinarily. Some must be engaged in teaching underprivileged children, others could be occupied in spreading awareness in the field of sanitation and health, while many could be doing society a service by working as Doctor and Engineers. Or striving for justice to someone by working as Lawyer!
Our society must recognize such daughters, honor them and feel proud of them. Programmes to felicitate them should be held throughout the country. We could do something more; we could highlight the achievements of these daughters by sharing their achievements on social media, using the hashtag # BHARAT KI LAXMI. The way we jointly ran a mega campaign “Selfie with daughter”, which spread globally. Similarly, this time, let us do a campaign BHARAT KI LAXMI. Encouraging the Laxmi of Bharat amounts to strengthening the paths of prosperity for the country and her citizens.
My dear countrymen, as I have mentioned earlier, a great advantage of Mann Ki Baat is that, I’m blessed with the opportunity to converse with a lot of people, known or unknown, directly or indirectly.
A few days ago, Aleena Taayang, a student from far off Arunachal has written an interesting letter to me. And the contents are… Let me read out the letter to you.
Respected Mr. Prime Minister, my name is Aleena Taayang. I hail from Roing, Arunachal Pradesh. On my exam result this time, some people asked me if I had read the book Exam Warriors! I replied in the negative. But on returning, I purchased the book and read it more than twice. My experience after that has been very good. I felt, had I read the book before my exams, I would have benefited a great deal. I liked quite a few aspects of this book, but I noticed that it contains may mantras for students, but for parents and teachers, this book does not have much. I wish;if you are thinking anew on a new edition, do include a few mantras for parents and teachers and of course new content.
See… even my young friends bear this trust that whatever they ask the Pradhan Sevak, the principal servant of the country to do; it will be done.
My young student friends, first of all, I thank you for writing to me. Thank you for reading Exam Warriors more than twice and special thanks for pointing out shortcomings in the book. At the same time, my little friend has entrusted me with a task, in fact there are orders for me. I shall certainly comply with your directions. As you have told me, I shall positively try to write something for parents as well as teachers, as and when I get the time to pen a new edition. But I urge all of you… can you be of help to me? It is about experiences in your daily lives. I call upon all students, teachers and parents to come up with your experiences and suggestions on aspects of stress free exams. I shall duly go through them, study them. I’ll give it due thought and whatever comes across as apt, I shall try and incorporate that in my own words. And quite possibly, if the suggestions are sufficiently large in number, it will lend certitude to the idea of a new edition. So, I shall eagerly wait for your thoughts to flow. Once again, I express my gratitude to our little friend, student Aleena Taayang from Arunachal.
My dear countrymen, you update yourselves with the busy schedule of the Prime Minister of the country through newspapers and television, you even discuss the engagements. But, I hope you are aware that I am just as common a being as you are. Being an ordinary citizen, whatever affects you has the same effect on me, since I’m just one amongst you. Just see how on the one hand, victory in the U.S. open was discussed; on the other, runner up Daniil Medvedev’s speech was equally doing the rounds in public discourse, especially on social media. Hence I too heard the speech and watched the match. The sheer simplicity and maturity displayed by the 23 year old Daniil Medvedev touched everyone. It surely stirred me. Moments before this speech, he had suffered defeat at the hands of Tennis legend Rafael Nadal, 19 times grand slam winner. An event such as this would have pushed anyone towards remorse and despair; in the case of Medvedev, there was no sign of the slightest pallor on his countenance. Rather, his expression lit up the faces of those watching him with meaningful smiles. He won hearts with his humility and simplicity; the epitome of the spirit of sportsmanship in the truest sense that he is, in letter and spirit. Spectators welcomed his reflections with warmth and fervor. He also touched upon Nadal being the inspiring force in Tennis for millions of young people, adding how difficult it was to face him in the game. The way Medvedev heaped praise on his opponent after a defeat in a fierce duel makes him a living example of the true essence of the spirit of sportsmanship. Of course, on the other hand champion Nadal too showered glowing praise on Daniil’s game. The display of the indomitable ardour of the defeated and the sheer humility of the victorious in the same frame was a sight to behold. If you haven’t heard Medvedev’s speech yet, I shall urge you, especially young friends to watch this video. It holds much for people across the age and class spectra to see and learn. These are moments that go way beyond winning and losing, where victory and defeat cease to be. It is life that is victory…. This has been beautifully articulated in our scriptures. The wisdom of our ancestors is truly praiseworthy. Our ancient texts observe:
विद्या विनय उपेता हरति
न चेतांसि कस्य मनुजस्य
मणि कांचन संयोग:
जनयति लोकस्य लोचन आनन्दम
meaning, when ability and humility amalgamate in a person, whose heart will he not be able to win over? As a matter of fact, this young player has won the hearts of people across the globe.
My dear countrymen and especially my young friends, what I am going to tell you now is directly for your benefit. Discourses and debates will continue, the support and opposition will continue, but, if some things are checked before they proliferate, then there is a huge benefit. Things that spawn and spread a lot are very difficult to stop at later stages. But, if we become aware at an early stage and put a stop to it, then a lot can be saved. Continuing in the same vein, I feel, today, that I should definitely have a talk with my young friends.
We all know that addiction to tobacco is very harmful for health and it becomes very difficult to quit this addiction. People who consume tobacco are vulnerable to high risk diseases like cancer, diabetes, blood pressure etc. Everyone knows that. Tobacco intoxication occurs due to the nicotine present in it. Brain development is hampered by its consumption during adolescence. But, today, I want to have a discourse with you on a new topic. You must be knowing that, recently the e-cigarette got banned in India. An e-cigarette is a type of electronic device unlike a typical cigarette. In an e-cigarette, the heating of nicotine-containing fluids creates a type of chemical smoke and this is the pathway through which nicotine is consumed. While we all understand the dangers of common cigarettes, a misconception has been generated about e-cigarettes.
The myth that has been spread is that e-cigarettes pose no danger. Like the conventional cigarette, it does not spread odour as fragrant chemicals are added to it. We have seen around us, that, even if the father in any house is a chain smoker, still he tries to stop the rest of the household from smoking and wants his children not to fall prey to the habit of cigarettes or bidis. His effort is that no family member should take to smoking. He knows that smoking or tobacco causes great damage to the body. There is no confusion about the dangers posed by a cigarette. It only causes harm and this even its seller too knows. The smoker also knows this fact and so do people around. But the case of e-cigarettes is quite different. There is little awareness among people about e-cigarette. They are also completely unaware of its danger and for this reason sometimes e-cigarettes sneak into the house out of sheer curiosity. And Kids at times pretending to be showing some magical trick, blow smoke in the presence of Peer Company or their parents, without lighting a cigarette or striking a match to light it! And as if a magic show is going on, the family members respond with applause! There is no awareness! There is no knowledge that once teenagers or our youth get caught in its clutches, then, slowly, they become hooked and fall prey to this noxious addiction.
And our real wealth -the youth become condemned to tread on the path of waste, quite unaware! In fact, many harmful chemicals are added to e-cigarettes, which have a deleterious effect on health. You are aware of the fact that when someone smokes around us, we come to know about it through its odour. Even if there is a packet of cigarettes in someone’s pocket, the smell can be detected. However, this is not the case with an e-cigarette and many teenagers and young people, unknowingly and sometimes proudly displaying an e-cigarette as a fashion statement, keep it in their books, in their offices, in their pockets, sometimes hold it in their hands and thus fall prey to it. The younger generation is the future of our country. The e-cigarette has been banned so that this new form of intoxication does not destroy our demographically young country. It does not trample the dreams of a family and waste the lives of our children. This scourge and this obnoxious habit should not become rooted in our society.
I urge all of you to quit the addiction to tobacco and do not harbour any misconceptions about e-cigarettes. Come, let us all build a healthy India.
Oh Yes! Do you still remember Fit India? Fit India does not mean that if we go to the gym for two hours every morning and evening, it will suffice! All these addictions have to be avoided to be a part of Fit India. I am sure you will not misconstrue whatever I’ve said, but rather happily accept my counsel; I will definitely like it.
My dear brothers and sisters, it is a matter of great providence that our India has been the birthplace and work-place of extraordinary denizens, who spent all their lives, not for themselves, but for the good of the society.
Our Mother India, our country is a bountiful land! Many gems of human beings took birth here. India has not only been the birthplace of such extraordinary people, but also the land of their karma. And these are the people who have spent themselves in service of others. One such illustrious Indian is being honoured in Vatican City on 13th October. It is a matter of pride for every Indian that, on the coming 13thOctober, His Holiness Pope Francis will declare Sister MariamThresia a saint. Sister MariamThresia, in her short lifespan of 50 years, worked for the good of humanity becoming a noble example for the entire world. Whatever task Sister Mariam Thresia undertook and accomplished, she did so with utmost dedication and devotion.She rendered service in the fields of education and social service. She had built many schools, hostels and orphanages, and throughout her life, remained devoted to this cause.
She founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family which is still continuing on the path of her life’s philosophy and mission. I once again pay heartfelt tributes to Sister MariamThresia and congratulate the citizens of India, and especially our Christian brothers and sisters, for this achievement.
My dear countrymen, it is a matter of pride not only for India but for the entire world today, while we are celebrating ‘Gandhi 150’, our 130 crore countrymen have pledged to be rid from the menace of Single Use Plastic. In view of the kind of lead that India has taken towards environmental protection, today the countries of the entire world are looking towards India as a model example. I am confident that you will all be a part of the campaign for liberation from the menace of Single Use Plastic on 2ndOctober. In India, citizens are contributing in this campaign in their own way. But, a young man from our country has initiated a very unique campaign.
My attention was drawn towards his work, so I talked to him on the phone and tried to understand the new experiment being attempted by him. It could be that this attempt of his may work for other people of our country. Mr. Ripudaman Belviji is making a unique effort by attempting plogging! When I first encountered the term Plogging, it was novel even to me. Perhaps this word is in usage in certain measures in foreign lands. But, in India, Ripudaman Belviji has promoted it to a great extent. Let’s talk to him.
PM’S PHONE CALL WITH RIPUDAMAN BELVI
That is why you are worthy of praise. Ripudaman ji, I felt nice talking to you. You have designed this entire programme in a very innovative manner, in a way that it will be liked, especially by young people. Heartiest congratulation to you. And friends this time on the anniversary of revered Bapu, the Ministry of Sports too is organizing a ‘Fit India Plogging Run’. On the 2nd of October, plogging for two kilometers; and it will be held across the country. We heard through the experiences of Ripudaman Ji, how this programme should be organised; what it should consist of. What we have to do in this campaign that commences on 2nd of October is that while we jog for 2 kilometers; and on the way, collect all kinds of plastic waste. Through endeavor, we shall not only pay better attention to our health; we shall also take a step towards ensuring protection for Mother Earth. This campaign is resulting in raising awareness levels in people; as far as sanitation and cleanliness, along with fitness levels. I do believe that a single step towards freedom from single use plastic taken by 130 crore countrymen will give India a lead by a 130 crore steps. Ripudaman ji, once again, many thanks to you. And to your team, and your imaginative, innovative bent of mind, heartiest congratulations from my side. Thank you.
My dear countrymen, groundwork for 2nd October is going on all over the country and also the world over, but we want to transmute ‘Gandhi 150’ as a task on the path of our duty. We want to move forward devoting our lives in the interest of the nation. I would like to remind you one thing in advance. Although in the next episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ I shall dwell upon it in detail, still today I am telling this in advance so that you get time to prepare. You do remember that, 31stOctober is the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and that ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ is our common dream; hence for that reason, every year on 31 October, we run for fostering unison in the country as ‘Run for Unity’, all over the nation. We have to run for the unity of the country on that day in in large numbers; elders, everyone, schools, colleges, all of us have to run for unity in lakhs of villages across the span of Hindustan. So, better start preparing from this instant onwards! I shall talk about it in detail later, but right now we have time on our hands; some people can begin their practice, whereas some can chalk out a plan.
My dear countrymen, you will remember, that on 15 August, I had in my address said from the ramparts of Red Fort that by 2022, you should visit 15 tourist destinations in India. At least 15 places and if possible, make a program to stay over there for an overnight, two-night stay. You should observe, understand and experience India. We have so much diversity. And when holidays come in the shape of Diwali and allied festivals, people do travel and that’s why I urge you to visit any 15 such places in India.
My dear countrymen, the 27th of September, two days prior to today, was celebrated as World Tourism Day and you will be happy to know that certain reputed tourism agencies of the world which rank standards of travel & tourism have shown that India has displayed a lot of improvement in the Travel & Tourism Competitive Index. And all this has been possible due to your cooperation and especially because understanding the importance of tourism has increased. The Swachhata Abhiyan also has a big role to play in all of this. And you will be delighted to know that today our rank is thirty four on this index whereas five years ago we were ranked 65th, which in a way is a big jump. If we tried all that harder, then by the 75th year of our independence, we would have carved a place for ourselves amidst the major tourist destinations of the world.
My dear countrymen, once again, I wish you all the best for various festivals that will be celebrated in the oncoming season in India, which is filled with diversity! Yes! Also, please see to it that during the celebration of Diwali, firecrackers do not lead to incidents of fire or loss of a life. Whatever precautions or preventive care is to be taken, should be taken during Diwali. Happiness should co-exist with joy, and of course there must also be enthusiasm and our festivals do indeed bring the aroma of collectiveness, and also the rituals connected with communal harmony. Symbiotic living provides us with renewed vigour and the festive season is the symbol of the culmination of that renewed vigour. Come! Together brimming with enthusiasm, renewed dreams and resolutions we should celebrate. Once again here’s wishing many felicitations to you all. Thank you.
(With the Inputs of Prime Minister’s Office).