My dear countrymen, Namaskar. As usual, you and I eagerly keep waiting for ‘Mann Ki Baat’. This time too, numerous letters, comments & phone calls have poured in – full of stories, suggestions & inspiration – everybody wants to do something or the other; also wanting to say it out. One can feel that sentiment. All this touches upon myriad facets which I wish to sum up, but cannot do so on account of constraints of time duration. It seems I am being put to test. Yet, once again I want to offer you your own precious thoughts, woven together on the singular thread of Mann Ki Baat.
It must be part of your recent memory that in the earlier episode, I had referred to a collection of short stories by Premchand ji, We had decided that on reading any book, some of its facets should be shared with all through the Narendra Modi App. I have seen that people in large numbers have shared a lot of information on a variety of books. It is heartwarming to see them discuss books published on subjects such as Science, Technology, innovation, history, culture, business, life-sketches and so on. Some have advised me to dwell upon many other books. Fine. I shall discuss with you on other books as well. But I must candidly admit here that I am not able to devote much time to reading books these days. But I have gained a lot, in the sense that based on your correspondence here, I got opportunities to know about the themes of many kinds of books. But the experience over the last one month makes me feel that we need to take it forward. Why don’t we create a permanent book corner on the Narendra Modi App, so that, whenever we read a book, we write about it and discuss it on this platform! And you can even suggest an apt name for our book corner. I want this book corner to be an active forum for readers & writers alike. So keep reading & writing; sharing with all friends of Mann Ki Baat alongside.
Friends, I touched upon the subject of water conservation in Mann Ki Baat and today I feel that it was an issue close to your heart even before I referred to it, a matter of universal human interest. I have experienced the fact that this topic has stirred the nation’s heart strings collectively. Many an informed, effective endeavour is afoot across the country. People have shared information on traditional methods. The media has embarked upon quite a few innovative campaigns. Be it the Government or NGOs, something or the other is being carried out on a war footing. Witnessing the might of the collective is in itself heartwarming & satisfying. A case in point is village Aara Keram under the Ormanjhi block, not very far from Ranchi in Jharkhand. The fervour & Zeal displayed by villagers there towards water conservation has turned out to be exemplary for one & all. The rural folk donated sweat, toiling collectively, to change the course of a mountain spring. It was a purely indigenous, home grown method. This has led to not only stopping soil erosion & prevention of crop damage, but also facilitated effective irrigation of fields. And you will be happy to know that the beautiful North Eastern State of Meghalaya has become the first state to have formulated its own water-policy. I congratulate the Government of Meghalaya.
In Haryana, crops that require meagre water are being encouraged. Farmers thus are saved from suffering losses. I specially congratulate the Haryana Government for establishing a connect with the farmers to wean them away from conventional modes of farming towards crops that do not require much water.
It is the season of festivals. Many fairs are held on these occasions. Why don’t we use these fairs to spread the message of water conservation? All sections of society turn up in fairs in large numbers. Here, we can effectively spread awareness on the need to save water through forums such as exhibitions and street plays, thus using the festive fervour to convey the message of water conservation with ease.
Friends, certain turns in life make our hearts swell with joy & zest; especially our children’s achievements, their feats fill us up with energy. And that is why today, I feel like mentioning about a few children. They are Nidhi Baipotu, Monish Joshi, Devanshi Rawat, Tanush Jain, Harsh Devdharkar, Anant Tiwari, Preeti Nag, Atharva Deshmukh, Aronyatesh Ganguli & Hrithik Alaamandaa.
What I tell you about them will fill your hearts with pride & verve as well. All of us know that just the word CANCER is more than enough to scare the world. It conjures images of Death waiting at the doorstep. But each of these Ten children, not only fought against the dreaded disease cancer in their battle of life, but also brought glory & laurels to the country. In sports and games, we often get to see a player becoming a champion after winning a tournament or bagging a medal; this was a rare occasion when the participants were champions BEFORE they entered the contest… they were champions of LIFE, the battle.
Actually, this month, the World Children’s Winners Games were held in Moscow. It is a unique sports tournament meant for young cancer survivors; only they who have emerged fighting cancer, can take part. In this tournament, sports & games such as shooting, chess, swimming, running, football & table-tennis are organized. All Ten champions of our country won medals in this tournament. Out of these, some players even won more than one medal.
My dear countrymen, I firmly believe that you must have felt immensely proud on India’s achievement beyond the skies… in outer space… Chandrayaan II.
People from across the country, such as Sanjiv Haripura from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, Mahendra Kumar Daga from Kolkata, P. Arvind Rao from Telangana, and many others have written to me on Narendra Modi App and mygov, urging me to speak on Chandrayaan II in Mann Ki Baat.
In fact, in the realms of Space, 2019 has been a very fruitful year for India. Our scientists launched the A-Sat in March. After that, amidst the hectic engagements during Elections, an important development such as the A-Sat could not be a prominent part of the discourse. Whereas the fact is, through the A-Sat, we have acquired the capability of destroying a satellite three hundred Kilometres away in a mere three minutes. India became the fourth country in the world, possessing this capacity. And now, on the 22nd of July, the nation watched with pride Chandrayaan II taking strides into space from Sriharikota. Visuals of Chandrayaan II lifting off filled our countrymen’s hearts with glory, zest and joy.
Chandrayaan II is a mission that is special on many counts. It will lead to a better understanding of the Moon on our part. We will be able to gather detailed information & knowledge. But if you ask me what the two greatest lessons I have received from Chandrayaan II, I shall say they are Faith & Fearlessness. We should trust our talents & capacities; we should have faith in them. You will be glad to know that Chandrayaan II is INDIAN to the core. It is thoroughly Indian in heart & spirit. It is completely a swadeshi, home grown mission. This mission has proved beyond doubt, once again, that when it comes to attempting an endeavour in new age, cutting edge areas, with innovative zeal, our scientists are second to none. They are the best… they are world class.
The second important lesson is – never lose hope in the face of stumbling blocks or obstacles. The way our scientists rectified Technical issues in record time, burning the midnight oil, is in itself an exemplary, unparalleled task. The world watched the Tapasya, the awesome perseverance of our scientists. We should also feel proud of the fact that despite hindrances, there is no change in the arrival time… many are amazed at that. We have to face temporary setbacks in life… but always remember- the capacity to overcome them resides within us. I fervently hope that the Chandrayaan II mission will inspire our youth towards Science & Innovation. After all, Science is the path to progress. We are now expectantly waiting for the month of September, when Lander Vikram & Rover Pragyan will land on Lunar surface.
Through Mann Ki Baat today, I wish to share with students, my young friends, information on a very interesting competition … I invite young boys & girls to a Quiz Competition. Your inquisitiveness regarding Space, India’s Space Mission, Science and Technology will be the salient features of this Quiz Competition. For example, How is a rocket launched, how is a satellite placed in orbit, what information do we gather from a satellite, what is A-Sat… and many more of these. The details of this competition will be available on the Mygov website.
I urge my young friends, students to participate in this competition and make it interesting and memorable through their participation. I specially call upon schools, parents, enthusiastic teachers & mentors to strive hard to ensure victory for their respective schools. Encourage all students to join. And the most thrilling part is that students scoring the highest in their respective states will be invited to visit Sriharikota, with expenses borne by the Government. There in September they will get an opportunity to witness the moment when Chandrayaan would be landing on the surface of the Moon. For these winners, it will be a historic event of their life. But for that, you will have to participate in the Quiz competition, score the highest & be a winner.
Friends, I’m sure you must have liked my suggestion… isn’t this an interesting opportunity? So, let us not forget to participate in the Quiz… let us encourage & inspire as many friends & fellow students to do the same.
My dear countrymen, you must have observed one thing. Our chain of Mann Ki Baat has lent pace to the cleanliness campaign from time to time. Similarly, efforts towards ensuring cleanliness have always inspired Mann Ki Baat. A journey that began five years ago gathered momentum with mass participation & is now setting up newer benchmarks in cleanliness & sanitation. It is not that we have reached the ideal yet, but the way we have achieved success in ODF & clean public spaces, it displays the collective will & strength of the resolve of a hundred & thirty crore countrymen. But we are not stopping at that. This movement has now advanced from cleanliness towards beautification. Just a few days ago, I was watching the story of Shriman Yogesh Saini and his team on the media. Yogesh Saini is an engineer who left his job in America and returned to serve Mother India. Recently, he has picked up the gauntlet to not just clean up Delhi, but to beautify it. With his team, he began with the garbage bins of Lodi Garden. Through the medium of street art, he has decorated many localities of Delhi with aesthetically appealing paintings. From over bridges to school walls to hutments he gave a free hand to his talent, garnering huge public support on the way, on the lines of an effective campaign. Remember how, during the Kumbh, Prayagraj was decorated with street paintings! I came to know that Yogesh Saini & his team played a stellar role in it. Colours & lines may be mute, but when they merge to form a picture, the rainbow that emanates speaks louder than a thousand words. We experience this in the beauty, the aesthetics of the Swachchata Abhiyan. It is imperative that the culture of transforming waste to wealth develops in our society. In a way, we have to move ahead on the path of converting garbage to gold.
My dear countrymen, a few days ago, I read a very interesting comment on My gov. This comment came from Brother Muhammad Aslam who stays in Shopian, Jammu & Kashmir.
He wrote, “I like listening to the programme Mann Ki Baat. I am happy to let you know that I played a positive active role in organizing the community mobilisation programme- Back to Village in my state Jammu & Kashmir. This programme was organized in the month of June. I feel such programmes should be organized every quarter. Simultaneously, there should be a provision for online monitoring too. According to me, this was a one of a kind programme where the public directly entered into a dialogue with the Government.
Brother Mohd Aslam ji had sent me a message upon reading which I felt curious to know more about the ‘Back to village’ programme and when I got to knew it at length, I felt that the entire nation should get to know about this programme.
The people of Kashmir are eager to join the national main stream, their enthusiasm is reflected in the mechanism of this programme. For the first time, senior officials reached the villages, directly, even those officials who had never visited a village were available to the villagers at their doorsteps, to judge for themselves to gauge the obstacles in the path of progress and to remove the hurdles. This week long programme encompassing about 4500 panchayats witnessed the govt. officials briefing the villagers about the schemes and programmes implemented by the Government and also inquired whether these facilities were available to them or not.
How to impart more might to the Panchayats? How to increase their income? And how the facilities rendered by panchayats can affect the day to day life, were topics that were discussed and people too interacted in a participatory fashion telling about their problems. Literacy, sex ratio, health, hygiene, water conservation, electricity, water, Girl education, senior citizen’s concerns etc. were some of the topics that were discussed at length.
Friends, this programme was not a mere Government formality that officials roam around the village and return to base, instead of this the officials spent two days and a night at the panchayat, enabling them to spend time in the village and meet almost every denizen of the village and to reach across to every establishment in the village. To make this programme even more interesting many other means were employed. Many sports competitions for kids were organized under the aegis of ‘Khelo India’. Sports Kits, MNREGA job cards and SC/ST certificates were distributed. There were Financial Literacy camps and Agriculture and Horticulture Department set up stalls where knowledge about govt. schemes was disseminated. In this manner, this programme became a festival celebrating development, a festival of people’s participation and a festival of people’s awakening! .
The people of Kashmir open heartedly became equal stakeholders in this festival. The most heartening aspect of ‘Back to village’ programme is the fact, that it was organized in such remote villages, where even officials had to traverse difficult terrain and climb mountains while walking on foot over a period of day or day and a half. These officials also reached the panchayats on the border which live under the shadow of cross-border firing, not only this the officials reached the sensitive villages in the districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag, without any fear. Some officers were so overwhelmed by the reception they received, that they decided to extend their stay upto two days in these villages. The organizing of Gram Sabhas in these villages, wherein the people participated in large numbers and chalked out schemes for themselves is something that is an extremely pleasant experience. A new resolve, a new fervor and grand results. Programmes like these and people’s participation or stake holding indicates that our brothers and sisters in Kashmir want good Governance and proves the dictum that the power of development is stronger than the might of bullets and bombs. It is clear that those who wish to spread hatred en route to development, pose hurdles will never succeed in their sinister plans.
My dear countrymen, Shriman Dattatraya Ramchandra Bendre, gyanpith laureate and poet has described the significance of the month of Sawan in this manner- in his poem.
होडिगे मडिगे आग्येद लग्ना | अदराग भूमि मग्ना |
Meaning that the relationship between drizzling rain and stream of water is wondrous and earth gets bedazzled by such spectacle! In entire India, people of different cultures and languages, celebrate the onset of rainy season in their own fashion. Whenever we look around us in this season it appears as if earth has draped itself in a sheet of greenery! There is generation of renewed energy all around us. In this pious season many devotees perform the Kanwad Yatra and many proceed on the Amarnath pilgrimage, many observe fasts and eagerly wait for festivals like Janamasthmi and Nag Panchmi. It is during this season that the festival of Raksha Bandhan symbolizing the bond between a brother and sister also falls.
While we are talking of the month of sawan, you will be glad to learn that the number of pilgrims in the Amarnath Yatra this year has been the greatest in the past 4 years. A total of 3 lakh pilgrims have had the darshan of the holy Amarnath shrine from 1st July till now. In 2015, the number of devotees who performed this pilgrimage over 60 days has been crossed over by the number of pilgrims in mere 28 days this year!
I would especially like to thank the hospitality of the people of Jammu- Kashmir while referring to successful organization of Amarnath Yatra. Those who return after performing this pilgrimage become imbued with the feelings of warmth and kinship displayed by the people of the state. These are portents of booming tourism in the future. I have been told that within a span of a month- and- a half of the commencement of Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand this year, more than 8 lakh devotees have had the darshan of Kedarnath Shrine. This is a record number of pilgrims post the apocalyptic events of 2013.
I appeal to all of you to visit those tourist spots within our country whose scenic beauty is to behold during the monsoon. There are no better ways to witness this nation’s beauty and people’s sentiments and no better teachers than tourism and pilgrimage.
I extend my felicitation to you all, that may this beauteous and lively month of Sawan fill all of us with new energy, new hopes and new expectations. The month of August also brings the memories of ‘Quit India’ movement. I wish that all of us celebrate 15th August with special preparations and find out new ways to observe this festival of freedom with greater participation of masses. You must ponder over the fact how 15th August could be celebrated as a folk-festival and also as a people’s festival? On the other hand, heavy rainfall in many parts of the country has resulted in countrymen suffering due to floods. Floods wreak havoc at various levels. I assure all the citizens affected by floods, that the Centre in tandem with State govts. is working at lightning pace to provide relief and succour. On television, we witness just one aspect of monsoon- floods everywhere, water logging and traffic jam! The other picture of monsoon- the overjoyed farmer, chirping birds, gurgling waterfalls and earth wrapped under a green cover, to witness this you will have to step out along with your family. Rains bring freshness and happiness with them, my heartiest wish is that the monsoon keep on bringing happiness to you and you all enjoy best of health.
My dear countrymen, where to begin ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and where to end it, is a difficult task! But there is a time limit! I’ll be back after a month’s wait and meet you again. You’ll have lots to tell me after a month’s interval and I’ll incorporate the information in the next episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and let me remind my young friends that do not forget to participate in the quiz competition, do not forgo the opportunity to visit Sriharikota at any cost. Many thanks to you all. Namaskar.