English Rendering of Prime Minister’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ address on All India Radio
Namaskar, My Dear Countrymen!
Last time in Mann ki Baat I had requested you to send me memorable pictures if you go out on a vacation anywhere in India and if you happen to find them, kindly post them under the ‘Incredible India’ hashtag. When Isaid that, I had never imagined that it would get such an immense response. Lakhs of people have posted photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I can say that India is full of diversities and I was able to witness so many magnificent scenes in those pictures; be it of architecture, art, nature, waterfalls, mountains, rivers or seas. Government of India had never thought that in terms of tourism you all could contribute in such a massive way. I liked some pictures so much that I re-tweeted them. And as I understand, if some one would not have posted the picture of Belum caves in Andhra Pradesh many people would have never come to know that something like that exists in our country. Madhya Pradesh’s Orcha Fort is another example of that. We assume Rajasthan to be a state with scarcity of water, but when someone sends a photo of Menal waterfall, it is a matter of great surprise. Really, a tremendous work has been done. We will promote and also continue doing such work and the entire world will watch it, entire nation will watch it and our new generation will also watch it.
My beloved countrymen, though you have elected me as the Prime Minister of the country but at times, the human in me shuns all posts and prestige associated with it and submerges oneself within it. I can say that 21st June, the International Yoga Day affected me in the same manner. At that time, when I proposed the International Yoga Day, it was just an idea. But the scene that was witnessed on 21st June was such that wherever the sun dawned, wherever its rays reached, there was not a single landmass wherein it was not welcomed by way of Yoga. We can say with conviction that the sun never sets in the world of Yoga practitioners.
The way Yoga was received and was welcomed with open arms around the world, there would not be any Indian who would not be proud of it. I too got delighted. And when the people of France chose River Seine and Eiffel Tower in which they take pride to do Yoga, they gave an equal status to it as River Siene and Eifel Tower. In New York people did yoga at Times Square. If we think about Sydney, Australia then the picture of Opera House comes to our mind. The citizens of Australia gave equal respect to yoga and did yoga at the Opera House. Whether it is North America, Silicon Valley or Milan’s Duomo Cathedral it is a matter of great pride for us. On 21st June when I saw Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General doing yoga at UN Headquarters, I was really delighted. Similarly, UN Peace Keeping Force did a spectacular display of Yoga. In India, our soldiers too were doing yoga in Siachen on white sheet of snow and on sea too, wherever our naval ships are posted, the yoga program was being carried out by Indian Navy. Delhi made it to the Guinness Book of World Records . Rajpath turned into the Yogpath that day. I am thankful to India and the rest of the world and can say that the International Yoga Day was not for namesake. It seemed as if that from every corner of the world, there was a new inquisitiveness, new joy, new hope and new connection.
Few days back, when I tweeted a photo of a Vietnamese child doing yoga, it was such a sweet photo that it got a lot of attention from the entire world. Everybody, be it men-women, old-young, village-city, developed or developing countries, everybody got connected with it. Yoga in true terms, became the core reason to connect the entire world. I do not know how the intellectual class, elites of the world would analyze this event. But I can feel and every Indian can experience that the whole world is very curious to know more about India. Curiosity towards India has increased. The world wants to know about the values, the rituals and the heritage of India. It is our responsibility that without any artificiality we share our legacy and introduce ourselves to the world. We can only do this when we ourselves are proud of our traditions.
At times, we are so familiar with our values that we don’t feel there is anything new in them but we ourselves do not know that our family values are considered to be a big thing in the entire world. Why don’t we familiarize the outside world with our family values? The world would be very surprised to know about them. I am sure, they would be intrigued. There are many things that our forefathers have given to us which are the best and the entire world also has the right on those things. The success of International Yoga day has brought in a new responsibility along with it. It is our responsibility that we gift supreme Yoga teachers to the world. It is our responsibility that we can see the entire tradition of Yoga on one platform from the Universe.
I request the youngsters, especially the IT professionals, that all of you should come together to create an Online Yoga Activity program. We all should come to know about all the Yoga organizations, Yoga teachers and all the necessary information about the Yoga from this online program. One database must be prepared and I believe you can do it. One must start from somewhere and it would surely turn out to be a great power. I have seen and learnt from the perspective of recent occurrences that a government that works and the government that is action-oriented can bring in results if the targets are set. We should not forget that the only voice that could be heard one year ago was that nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens.
Can you imagine that there is a department under Government named Ayush. Nobody has paid attention towards this department. The only mention Ayush in some corner of the newspaper being a small department is once in 2 to 5 years. But it led on the International Yoga Day. It was this small department that organized this event in the entire world. Therefore, this is an example that if there is an aim then even a small department can do a supreme job.
In the last few days, the world saw how we saved people from Yemen to Afghanistan. In a few hours-, we reached Nepal and helped people over there. When people wanted to open an bank account under the Government’s new scheme of Jan Dhan Yojana, how the people working in bank helped them to do so and connected millions of Indians to the bank.
On 15th August last year, when I appealed from the Red Fort for toilets in schools, I had said that by next 15th August we have to complete this task. The work which could not be completed in last 60 years was promised to be completed by the end of one year. The promise was really daring. Almost four and half lakh toilets were to be built but I can say it with satisfaction that though 15th August is still far off, the work of constructing toilets by the people is on the verge of completion.
This means that the Government, people and Government workers, all want to work for the country. If we pledge to work in an unselfish manner “Welfare for All, Happiness for All” then the Government will also work efficiently. The people who are a part of the government will also work efficiently and the people of the nation will welcome them with open arms.
I have experienced this. This is the true strength that drives a nation forward. Last month, we had launched three Insurance schemes. I had launched them from Kolkata and it has received such a commendable response in such a short span of time. There have been very few steps which have been taken from the perspective of social security but by way of these three schemes we are taking a big leap. In such a short time span more than 10 crore people have become a part of these schemes but we have to take it further. I have a thought which I want to put forth before you. Rakshabandhan comes in the month of August. Can’t we start a massive movement before this festival and make every women, be it our mother or sister, a part of this, thereby giving benefit to them under this Insurance program. Be it a sister who is a domestic help in your home or your own sister why can’t we gift them a Rs. 12 or Rs. 330 scheme on Rakshabandhan for their entire life. This can be a big gift for a sister from their brother. Why can’t we set the eve of rakshabandhan as a target and in a number of 2 crore, 5 crore, 7 crore and 10 crore … try to reach the sisters so that they can reap the benefit of this scheme. Let’s come together and try to work together towards the completion of this pledge.
Whenever I hold a Mann ki Baat session, many people send me suggestions. This time many people have suggested that I say something about the monsoons. Yogesh Dandekar from Nagpur, Harshvardhan ji from Mysore, Praveen Nadkarni ji, Divyanshu Gupta ji have all asked me to say something about the monsoon in this session of Mann ki Baat. They have sent in some really good suggestions. And this is a season of happiness. And each one of us, whatever the age is… definitely tempted to enjoy the first showers of the monsoon. I am sure, you too might be enjoying the rains with bhajiyas, pakoras, corn and a hot cup of tea. Just as the rays of the sun give us life, similarly rainfall provide us life and sustenance. Every drop of water is precious. As a responsible citizen and as a member of the society, we will have to cultivate the habit of conserving every drop of water. It should be our pledge that water from the villages stays in the villages and water for the cities remains available for them. If the rain water does not flow away, it goes into the earth , then the aquifers get recharged and the year long water woes get resolved. Rain water harvesting is not a new concept. It is being practiced over the centuries. Be it check dams, watershed development, small lakes or the small ponds in fields, we need to save the precious waters everywhere. I always tell people, that if you go to Porbander, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, you will be able to see a two hundred year old underground water tank which got directly recharged with the rain water. You can still see it. If you ever go there, do visit the place. And you will find that even after two hundred years it is still functional, brimming with water and the water does not even stagnate. Porbander is a coastal city, so potable water was collected through the rains for the entire year. Even in those times such a lot of care was taken. We can too do the same. This should in fact become a mass movement. Each and every village should have the facilities for rain water harvesting.
Similarly, we find greenery so pleasing to our eyes. We all like greener surroundings. Gardens and trees bring in an element of freshness in our lives. This monsoon season, there should be mass plant sowing campaigns conducted by youth and social organizations. And I can take a leaf from my personal experience and offer you a suggestion which has been very successful. This is an intensely rural technology. Whenever you sow a plant, place an earthen pot near it. You just need to fill it once or twice in a month. You will see how fast the plant grows into a lush green tree. I have even been telling the farmers to plant trees on the boundaries of their fields instead of putting barricades. These will become your biggest asset in the long run.
It is true that rains are enjoyable and bring in a lot of fun at the same time. It is also true that rains also bring in many diseases. Doctors get to see so many patients that they hardly get the time to breathe. We all know that rains cause many water borne diseases. Increased moisture in the environment leads to bacterial growth and so, keeping the environment clean becomes important. Cleanliness is very important in monsoons. It is often requested to consume safe drinking water. Most of the people boil and drink water during this season. It has its own benefits. And this is true that the more care we take, healthier we would be. We need monsoons and we need water but we also need to stay healthy.
Dear citizens, we have recently launched three schemes for the people in the cities. We have around 500 small cities. Our policy is ‘Waste to Wealth’. We can earn from waste too. Garbage can be recycled to make fertilizers, bricks and even electricity. Contaminated water can be recycled to make it clent and be used for irrigation in the fields. We have to take this movement forward.
In the Amrut scheme, we have launched a massive campaign and taken up initiatives to improve the quality of life in our cities. We should become a country which is able to match the living standards of the world. We should have smart cities, comparable to world standards. And yet at the same time, the poorest of poor person should have an accommodation of his own and that too complete with water, electricity, sanitation and access to a school. In 2022 when India celebrates its 75 years of Independence, we wish that every Indian has a house of his own. Keeping all this in mind, we have launched three major schemes. I am positive that these schemes will bring about a qualitative difference in the lives of the urban people.
I am myself connected to you via the social media. I keep getting many new suggestions and new ideas and also good and bad information about our government. And sometimes it so happens that a small comment from an individual in some remote village in India conveys something that just touches our hearts. You are aware that the government has launched “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” programme. But you can’t imagine the force that is lent to the programme when a village or a society adopts it. A few days back a Sarpanch in a small remote village of Haryana, Sri Sunil Jaglan ji launched ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign. Such an environment was created that every father wished to click a selfie of himself with his daughter and post it on the social media.
I liked this idea, and that too for a special reason. In Haryana, the number of girls in comparison to boys is dismally low. Around another 100 districts in the country have a similar dismal situation of skewed sex ratio. But it is the worst in Haryana. In that very same Haryana, if a Sarpanch of a small indistinct village lends this meaning to the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” programme, then I certainly get overwhelmed. It makes me so happy and it gives me a new hope and I do express my happiness. I request you all to take a selfie with your daughter and post it on #selfie with daughter. And do not forget to post a tagline around the theme of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” with it, whatever be the language it can be in Hindi, English, your mother tongue or your native language. And I promise to re-tweet the most inspirational tagline with you and your daughter’s selfie. We can turn “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” into a mass movement. I urge you all to take forward the programme launched by Sri Sunil in Bibipur village of Haryana. I request you all to post on #selfie with daughter. Lets us all enjoy the rising honour and prestige of our daughters and see how joyful this entire experience of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” becomes. Let us all rid ourselves of this bad name that we have for not respecting our daughters.
So my best wishes to you for the coming monsoon season. May all of you enjoy the rains. Make our country clean and green. And remember, the International Yoga day was not a single day initiative. Continue practicing Yoga, then see what difference it makes to you and your life. And I say this from my experience. Please take this forward. Make Yoga a part of your life. And that initiative regarding Incredible India, do keep posting a picture of whichever part of the country you go to. The country and the world will awaken to our diversity. I felt that the handicrafts did not receive due attention. Do make it a point to post the handicrafts of the local region you visit. There are so many things that people around you might be making, the poor as well as the skilled might be creating. Do keep posting their pictures regularly. We have to expand our reach to the world and make India known to the world. We have an easy medium at our disposal and so we will all do it.
My dear countrymen, that is all for today. I shall meet you again in the next edition of Mann ki Baat. Many people expect me to announce some huge schemes during this programme. But I am working day and night towards those. This is my time for some light conversation with you all. This gives me immense pleasure.
Thank You Very Much!