English rendering of text of Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on All India Radio
My dear countrymen, greetings to you all. This is the twelfth episode of “Mann Ki Baat” and in a way it means that we have completed one year. Last year on 3rd October I had an opportunity to conduct my first ever “Mann Ki Baat”. “Mann Ki Baat” – one year, many thoughts. I am not sure of what you gained, but I can certainly say that I gained a lot.
In a democracy the power of the people is of great significance. This thought has been fundamental to my thinking and that is why I have immense faith in the power of the people. But with Mann Ki Baat whatever I was taught, whatever I was explained and the experiences I had, made me realize that the power of the people is limitless and it far exceeds our thinking. Our ancestors would say that there is a divine element in each individual. My experience of “Mann Ki Baat” made me realize that the thinking of our ancestors was very powerful and had great authenticity in them as I have myself experienced them. I asked for suggestions for “Mann Ki Baat” and yet could touch upon just 3-4 of them. But people continued to contribute actively in lakhs. This in itself is a great power. I did not feel that anyone got disheartened thinking that I wrote a letter to the PM or posted on mygov.in, yet my suggestions were not accepted even once.
Yes …. these lakhs of letters did teach me something more. I became aware of very minute problems associated with governance. I would like to congratulate Akashwani for not treating these suggestions as mere bits of paper but considered them as expectations of the people. They conducted programmes after that. They called in various departments and put across them the issues that the people had raised. They tried to get certain problems resolved. The various departments of the government analyzed these letters and segregated them as the ones related to policy matters, others to personal issues, some others as pointers that the government was not even aware of. Many things arose from the grass root level and reached the government. It is true, the basic principle of governance is that information should percolate upwards from bottom and guidance should percolate from the top to the bottom. Who would have thought that the “Mann Ki Baat” will become a source of information? But this has happened.
In the same way “Mann Ki Baat” became a platform to express the power of society. I had just casually mentioned about selfie with daughter and what a movement it became. The whole world was amazed. Lakhs of people, perhaps from all the countries of the world posted a selfie with their daughters. What dignity did it lend to our daughters? Anyone who clicked this selfie not only boosted their daughter’s confidence but also made a commitment to themselves. Whosoever saw it realized that they will now have to give up the indifferent attitude towards daughters. This was a kind of a silent revolution.
I had casually mentioned to my fellow citizens, keeping in mind the tourism industry of India to send me good pictures of the destination they travel to on the lines of Incredible India so that I can also see them. People sent pictures in lakhs from every corner of India. Neither the Government of India nor the state tourism departments were aware of such heritage. All things were brought together on a platform and the government did not have to spend a single penny. The people themselves took the task forward.
In October last year, I did my first “Mann Ki Baat”. In that edition I had mentioned about Gandhi Jayanti. I told people that we are celebrating Gandhiji’s birth Anniversary on 2nd October. There was a time when there was Khadi for Nation? Isn’t it the need of the hour that there be Khadi for fashion? I requested the people to buy Khadi and to do their bit. Today, I can say with great satisfaction that in the past one year the sales of Khadi have almost doubled. Now see, there was no government advertisement. Nor were lakhs and crores spent. A simple feeling and realization by the people has brought this change.
Once I had mentioned in Mann Ki Baat” about the problem of poor families, how their children cry due to the pollution when the wooden stove are lit. Shouldn’t they be getting gas cylinders? And I had requested the affluent to surrender their gas subsidy. Just think……………..today I can say with great pride that 30 lakh families have given up their gas subsidy and these are not the rich people. I saw on T.V, a retired teacher, a widow lady standing in a queue to give up her subsidy. The common people from the society belonging to the middle and lower middle class have difficulty in giving up subsidy. But then they did give up their subsidy. Isn’t it a silent revolution? Isn’t it a demonstration of the people’s power?
The governments too will need to learn a lesson that there lies a powerful society which has tremendous capabilities, energy and the determination beyond the realms of their administration. There is more likelihood of the government being a catalytic agent of change if it is better connected to the society. “Mann Ki Baat” has turned my faith into belief and reverence and once again I would like to salute this immense power of the people through this platform. They took up every small cause and made it their own and tried to contribute to the welfare of the country. Can there be a bigger satisfaction than this?
This time I thought of conducting a new experiment through Mann Ki Baat. I had requested the citizens to call up telephonically and get their suggestions or queries recorded. I told them that I will take it up in Mann Ki Baat. I am happy that we received more than 55,000 calls from across the country - be it Siachen, Kutch or Kamrup, be it Kashmir or Kanyakumari. There is no part of India from which I did not receive a phone call. This is a pleasant experience in itself. People of all age groups have sent messages. I listened to some message personally and I liked them. My team is working on the others. You must have spent just a minute or two but for me your phone calls are very important. The entire government will work on your suggestions.
But there was something which surprised me and made me equally happy. It feels as if there is negativity all around us. But my experience was different. These 55,000 people expressed themselves in their own way. It was frank interaction where they could say anything but I am surprised that all the things were in the shadow of Mann Ki Baat. They were totally positive, suggestion oriented and constructive. Just see how the citizens of the country are moving with a positive attitude, this is the nation’s greatest wealth. There were serious complaints in about 1-2% phone calls. But more than 90% things were energizing and pleasant.
Another thing came to my mind, for the specially–abled. And among them especially from the kin of visually impaired, they made quite a number of phone calls. The reason may be that they are not able to watch T.V, but they must definitely be listening to the radio. This made me realize how important the radio is for the visually impaired people. I am seeing a new aspect and they put forth such good suggestions that they are enough to make the governments more sensitive.
Pawan Acharya form Alwar, Rajasthan has sent me a message. I believe that all of you should hear it and follow it. Please hear what he wants to say-
“My name is Pawan Acharya and I belong to Alwar, Rajasthan. I want to give the message to Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji to request all the people of India through his programme “Mann Ki Baat” to use as much earthen lamps (diya) as they can this Diwali. This will not only help the environment, but will also provide employment to many potter families. Thank you.
Pawan, I believe that this sentiment will definitely reach every corner of India. It is a good suggestion and the soil is priceless. So the earthen lamps will be valuable too. It is important from environmental point of view and it is made in a poor man’s home. Poor people earn their living this way. I request the citizens to follow Pawan’s advice in the coming festivals. If we do so then the lamp may well be lit not only in our homes but it will illuminate the house of the poor.
My dear countrymen, on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, I had the privilege of spending 2-3 hours with the jawans of the armed forces. The jawans from our Army, Navy and Air force guarding our land, waters and skies. We have completed 50 years of our war with Pakistan in 1965. To commemorate this event an exhibition named “Shouryanjali” had been organized near India Gate. I saw it with immense interest. I went there for half an hour but when I came out it was more than 2.5 hours and I felt like seeing more. What was it that was not there? The entire history has been brought to life. From aesthetic perspective it was excellent, from historical perspective it was very educative and if we see it from inspirational point of view from the perspective to serve the motherland then there can be no greater inspiration than this. At that time there was not much photography or videography but still those proud moments of war, those tales of valour and sacrifice of our great soldiers, which we had heard can all be experienced here through this exhibition.
Whether it is the battle of Haji Pir, Chaminda or Asal Uttar and the visuals of our victory near Haji Pir, we feel thrilled and immensely proud of our soldiers. I had the opportunity to meet the brave families, families of those who had sacrificed their lives and also those who had participated in the war who are in the twilight years of their lives. They too had come and when I was shaking hands, it was filled with great energy was very inspiring. If you want to create history, then it is necessary to understand the nuances of the past. History binds us to our roots. If we are detached from our history then the possibilities of creating history comes to an end. This exhibition on valour and gallantry helps us to experience our past. It gives us knowledge about our history. And this is an opportunity to inspire people to sow seeds for creating a new history. This exhibition will last a few days. I request you and your relatives living in Delhi and nearby areas to definitely visit it. And do not be in haste like me. I came back in 2-2.5 hours but you will need 3-4 hours, do see it.
Look at the power of democracy, a young kid has ordered the Prime Minister, although the kid forgot to tell his name in a hurry. I do not have his name with me but what he said is worth giving a thought, not only should the Prime Minister think about what he said but every Indian citizen should listen to what this child has to say:
“Prime Minister, Modi ji, I want to tell you that, for the Swachhta Abhiyan (Cleaniness Drive) that you started, you should get dustbins installed in every street and every corner”.
This child is absolutely right. We should adopt cleanliness as a habit and should make provisions for cleanliness. I got great satisfaction from this child’s message. On the 2nd of October, I declared this cleanliness drive and I think something like this has happened for the first time after Independence because even in the parliament, cleanliness is being discussed for hours these days. Our government is criticized as well. I even have to listen to a lot of things; people say things like “Modi ji used to talk big about cleanliness, but what really happened?” I don’t get offended by all this. I look at the positive side of it, which is that even the parliament of the country is discussing about the issue of cleanliness in India.
Look at the other side, on one hand the parliament and on the other hand this child of the country, both are talking about cleanliness, a country cannot be more fortunate than this. This ongoing movement of thoughts, the environment that’s building against filth, there has been an awareness towards cleanliness. This will also compel the governments to work. The self-governing regional bodies, be it Panchayats, municipal corporations, municipalities, municipal corporations of metropolitan cities, central government or state government - everybody will have to work on this. We will have to take this movement forward despite its shortcomings and when in India in 2019, when we celebrate the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, we should aspire to work in the direction of fulfilling his dream.
Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi used to say? He once said, “if I have to choose between freedom and cleanliness, I will choose cleanliness first and freedom later”. Cleanliness was more important for Gandhi than freedom. Come let us all follow what Mahatma Gandhi said and take a few steps towards fulfilling his wish. Mr. Gulshan Arora from Delhi has left a message on MyGov.
He has written that he wants to know about the birth centenary of Dindayal ji.
My dear fellow citizens, the lives of great men will always inspire us. It is not our responsibility to figure out the ideology of these great men. Everyone who lives and dies for our nation inspires us. In the coming days, we will get to remember a lot of these great men. 25th September we shall remember Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya, Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on the 2nd of October, Jai Prakash Narayan ji on 11th October, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel on 31st October and there are innumerable names, I have mentioned just a few because our country has an unending list of such gems.
You pick any date, you will certainly find a name of one or the other great personality from the kaleidoscope of history. We must all try to remember these great personalities in the coming days, take their message to every house and we should try to learn something from them ourselves.
I would like to request you for 2nd October specially. It’s the birth anniversary of Honorable Bapu Mahatma Gandhi. I had told you last year as well that you all must have all kind of fashionable clothing, all kinds of fabric, a lot of things, but you must also own Khadi. I am saying it again, that Khadi begins a discounted sale from 2nd October onwards for one whole month. You must all avail this sale. Along with Khadi, handloom must also be given equal importance. Our weavers put in a lot of hard work. If we, 1.5 billion Indians buy a handloom product or Khadi for even Rs. 5, 10 or Rs. 50 then ultimately that money will reach the poor weaver. It will reach the poor widow who weaves Khadi and this is why we must all spare some place for Khadi at our homes and on our bodies this Diwali. I just have this small request, I do not insist that you only wear Khadi. But have a few collection.... this is my only request. Look, last year we almost doubled the Khadi sale. A lot of the poor have been benefitted. Advertisements worth crores, by the government, cannot achieve what has been achieved through your help. This is the power of the masses and this is why I request you to come forward and help once again.
Dear countrymen, my heart is filled with joy because of this one thing. I wish to share this joy with you as well. I visited Kolkata in the month of May and the family members of Subhash Chandra Bose came to meet me. His nephew Chandra Bose had organized everything. I got the opportunity to spend quality time with Subhash babu’s family members. That day I decided to invite his great family to the Prime Minister’s residence. Mr. Chandra Bose and his family members were in the process of organising this and last week I received the confirmation that around 50 members of the Bose family are coming to the Prime Minister’s residence for a meeting.
You can imagine how happy I must have been on hearing this news. Netaji’s family members, probably, must have been invited together to the Prime Minister’s residence for the first time. More than that, I feel honoured to realize that this opportunity that I will get in October must be a one of a kind opportunity for the Prime Minister’s residence to offer its hospitality. More than 50 family members of Subhash babu’s family who stay in different countries are specially coming down to attend this meeting. It is going to be a joyous moment for me. I am very excited to welcome them and feel extremely happy.
I received a message from Bhargavi Kande and after listening to the way she speaks, her voice, I felt she is a leader herself or she is going to be a leader probably.
“My name is Bhargavi Kande. I want to request the Prime Minister to make the young generation aware about voter’s registration, which will increase the participation of the young generation in the times to come and in the future the young generation will provide its important contribution in selecting as well as running a government. Thank you”
Bhargavi talked about registering the names in the voter’s list and the voting process. In a democracy, every voter determines the destiny of a country and this awareness is spreading gradually. The voting percentage is also increasing and for this I want to congratulate the Election Commission of India. Up until a few years back we saw that our election commission worked only as a regulator but it has changed a lot in the last few years. Today, our election commission does not work only as a regulator but has become a facilitator, has become voter-friendly and the voter is at the centre of all its policies and its ideologies. It is a great change but we need more than what election commission can do. We must mobilize schools, colleges and societies - we must spread awareness always, not only during the time of elections. The voter’s list must be updated, we must also keep a watch on it. This priceless right that I have, is it safe? Am I using it or not? We must all develop this habit. I hope that all the youngsters who have not been registered in the voter’s list yet, get themselves registered and must vote too. I publically say during elections that one must cast his vote before he eats his food. This is a holy act, everyone must do it.
I have returned from a visit to Kashi, day before yesterday. I met a lot of people and attended a lot of events. I met many people there but these two kids I met have told me something that I want to share with you today. One of the boys, Kshitij, is a student of class 7. He studies in the Kendriya Vidyalaya of Banaras Hindu University. He is a very smart kid with a surprising high confidence level. At such a young age I saw that he was interested in research in the field of Physics. I thought he must be reading a lot books, must be surfing internet, must be watching new experiments. He was talking about things like, how to stop railway accidents, which technology to use, how to save money in producing energy, how to develop feelings in robots and what not. He was an amazing kid. Although I could not follow what he was saying, very closely, but I liked his confidence and his interest in so many things. I want that kids in our country should develop more and more interest in science. Kids should be very inquisitive, why? How? When? A kid should always ask these questions.
Similarly, I met a small girl named, Sonam Patel. She is 9 years old. She is the daughter of Sadavrat Patel, a resident of Sundarpur, Varanasi. Her family is very poor. I was surprised that the girl had memorized the Bhagvada Geeta completely but the most interesting thing was that she kept reciting the shlokas along with its English interpretation and its definition in English as well as Hindi. When I asked, her father told me that she started reciting these shlokas since she was only five years old. I asked where she learned it from. They said, “we do not have any idea.” Then I asked if she only reads Geetha or does she read something else as well? Her father then told me that if she picks up mathematics once, she has everything memorized by the evening. If she picks history, she knows everything by the evening. He told me that the whole family is surprised at this amazing talent the girl has. I was really very impressed. Sometimes, kids become obsessed with celebrities, Sonam did not have any such obsessions. I felt this girl is God-gifted.
Meeting these kids was a very special experience that I had on my Kashi visit. So, I thought I must share it with you. We do a lot of things, other than what you see on the TV and read in the newspapers. Sometimes, we enjoy doing these things as well. Similarly, I will always cherish the memories of this encounter with these kids.
I noticed that a few people get a lot of work for me in ‘Mann Ki Baat.’
Look what Sandeep from Haryana has to say, “Sir, I want you to do ‘Mann ki Baat’ a weekly chore rather than a monthly program because we get very inspired by your words.”
Sandeep ji, what all will you make me do? I have to struggle even to make it to the monthly program, have to make adjustments to my time-table. Sometimes, our friends at Akashwani have to wait for an hour or so. I still respect your feelings. I am thankful to you for your suggestion. For now, we will stick to the one month program only.
‘Mann Ki Baat’ in a way has completed a year. Do you know, how much did Subhash babu use the Radio? He started his own show from Germany and he would constantly update the Indian citizens about the Independence movement through radio. He started the Azad Hind Radio through a weekly news bulletin. English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi Punjabi, Pashto, Urdu, he used to run the radio in all these languages.
I have also completed a year since I started ‘Mann Ki Baat.’ My ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has in the true sense become your ‘Mann Ki Baat.’ I listen to you, I think for you, I look into your suggestions and that triggers a thought process in me which reaches you through Akashvani. I speak, but the words are yours and this gives me immense satisfaction. We shall meet next month again for ‘Mann Ki Baat.’ Your suggestions should keep coming in. The government gets benefited by your suggestions. It helps to initiate improvement. Your contribution is priceless for me.
Once again, many congratulations to all of you. Thank you!