My dear countrymen, Namaskar. On the 3rd of October, 2014, the pious occasion of Vijayadashmi, we embarked upon a journey together through the medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. This journey has reached its 50th episode today. Thus, this Golden Jubilee Episode is indeed gilt-edged in every sense of the term. Your letters and phone calls this time pertain mostly to these 50 episodes. Anshu Kumar & Amar Kumar from Delhi on Mygov, Vikas Yadav from Patna; on similar lines Monica Jain from Delhi, Prosenjit Sarkar from Bardhaman, West Bengal and Sangeeta Shastri from Nagpur converge in asking a shared question. They are of the view that broadly speaking, their Prime Minister being associated with the latest in technology, Social Media and Mobile Apps; WHY did he choose radio as a medium to connect with his countrymen? Your curiosity is but natural; in this age when Radio was fading into oblivion, why did Modi opt for the airwaves? Let me quote an incident.
The year was 1998. I was then a party worker with the Bharatiya Janata Party organization in Himachal. It was the month of May; and I was travelling to a certain place. Evenings tend to get cold in the hilly terrain of Himachal Pradesh, and I stopped by at a wayside tea stall and placed an order for tea. It was a tiny joint; there was only one person who would make & serve tea. He was not even adequately clad; it was a standalone kiosk on the edge of the road. He first picked up a Laddoo from a glass container, offered the sweetmeat to me & said, “Sir, eat this before the tea get ready”. I was taken aback and asked him “What is the matter? Is it in celebration of an occasion like a wedding?” He replied, “No brother, nothing like that! Don’t you know? It’s a momentous, joyous occasion”. On seeing his rather jubilant exuberance, I asked him, “But what exactly happened?” And he replied, “India has exploded the bomb today!” I exclaimed, “India has exploded the bomb! I don’t get it!” Said he “Sir, just listen to the radio”. Indeed, that exactly was the topic of discussion on the radio. It was then that he elaborated on how on the day of the nuclear test, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced to the Media and how he broke into a dance on listening to it on the radio. It was matter of great intrigue to me to see a lone tea seller in a remote, snow – clad hilly place, who possibly kept listening to the radio the entire day… watching that particular effect of the news on radio led me to realize & internalise that this was a medium that was truly connected with the masses… and that it was a mighty means of getting across.
In terms of the reach & depth of communication, radio has been incomparable. I have been nursing that feeling ever since, acknowledging its power & strength. Hence when I became the Prime Minister, it was natural for me to turn towards a strong, effective medium. And in 2014, when I took charge as the Pradhan Sevak, Principal Servant, it was my wish to reach out to the masses with the glorious saga of our country’s unity, her grand history, her valour, India’s diversity, our cultural diversity, virtues embedded in our society such as Purusharth, Tapasya, Passion & sacrifice; in a nutshell, the great story of India. From remote villages to Metro cities, from farmers to young professionals … the array just prompted me to embark upon this journey of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
Every month, we would read letters to the tune of lakhs, listen to phone calls, watch comments on the App & Mygov. Weaving a common thread comprising them all into a fabric of informal conversation, we have been able to travel together, over this rather long distance of 50 episodes. Recently, All India Radio got a survey done on ‘Mann Ki Baat’. I came across some feedback that is very interesting. Out of the designated sample in the survey, 70% of respondents on an average happen to be listeners who regularly tune in to ‘’Mann Ki Baat’. Most people believe that the greatest contribution of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has been the enhancement of a feeling of positivity in our society. The medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has promoted many a mass revolution. #indiapositive has been the subject of quite an extensive discussion. This is an exemplary glimpse of the feeling of positivity, innate to our countrymen. People have shared their experiences, conveying the rise of selfless volunteerism as a consequence of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It is a change where people are increasingly willing to contribute for the sake of service to society. I am overjoyed on account of the fact that through ‘Mann Ki Baat’, radio is rising as a popular medium, more than ever before. But it’s not about just radio… people are connecting with this programme and ensuring their participation through T.V., FM Radio, Mobile, Internet, Facebook Live; along with periscope, through the NarendraModiApp too. I express my gratitude to the entire family of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for being a part of it & trusting it wholeheartedly.
Thank you very much for your phone call. Your apprehension is not misplaced. The fact is, if a leader gets hold of a microphone with assured listeners to the tune of millions, what else does he need? Significantly, some young friends have attempted a study on the myriad subjects touched upon, over the many episodes of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. They did a lexical analysis of all the episodes to calculate the frequency of occurrence of particular words; whether there were some words that were oft-repeated! One of their findings was that, this programme has remained apolitical. When ‘Mann Ki Baat’ commenced, I had firmly decided that it would carry nothing political, or any praise for the Government, nor Modi for that matter anywhere. The greatest bulwark in ensuring adherence to my resolve; in fact my highest inspiration, have been YOU. As a run up to each episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the expectations & aspirations of listeners through their letters, online comments & phone calls are crystal clear. Modi may come and go, but this country will never let go of its UNITY & permanence, our culture will always be immortal. These minute stories encompassing a 130 crore countrymen will always stay alive. This new inspiration & zest will keep taking her to greater heights. At times, when I look back, I am taken aback. Sometimes people who write in from different corners of the country say, “We should not haggle beyond limits with marginal shopkeepers, auto drivers, vegetable sellers et al”. I read a letter & then try to weave it with the essence of a similar letter. I would like to share a couple of personal experiences with you … who knows how soon these will reach our families; who knows when social media will circulate them to usher in a revolution!. The stories that you’ve sent across in the context of cleanliness, myriad examples of common folk… you never know where a tiny brand ambassador of cleanliness comes into being in various homes; someone who reprimands elders at home; or even admonishingly orders the Prime Minister through a phone call!
Who would have imagined that a small campaign “selfie with daughter” starting from a small village in Haryana would spread not only throughout the country but also across other countries as well. Every section of the society including celebrities joined in to ignite a process of transformation in a new modern language of change that the present generation understands and follows. At times Mann Ki Baat is also sneered at but 130 crore countrymen ever occupy a special pleace in my heart. Their hearts and my heart beat to the same rhythm. Mann Ki Baat is not about the Government it is about the society. Mann Ki Baat addresses an aspirational India, an ambitious India. Politics or Political Power are not intrinsic to the Indian ethos; on the contrary social values and society are. In fact, Politics is one of the numerous other aspects of social life. Making politics an all pervasive, powerful factor is not an effective way for a healthy society. At times, political developments and political people assume such overriding prominence that other talents and courageous deeds get overshadowed. For ensuring a bright future for a country such as India, it is our collective responsibility to acknowledge and honour the common man’s talent and deeds and Mann Ki Baat is a humble and modest effort in this direction.
Many thanks for your phone call. In a way your question were the a personal, amiable touch. I believe that the biggest achievement of the 50 episodes of Mann Ki Baat is that one feels like talking to a close acquaintance and not to the Prime Minister, and this is true democracy. If I reply to the question asked by you straightaway then I will say that I do not make any preparation. Actually, Mann Ki Baat is a very simple task for me. Every time before Mann Ki Baat, letters are received from people; people share their ideas and view points on Mygov and Narendra Modi Mobile App and there is also a toll free number – 1800117800; and by calling on this number, people record messages in their own voice. My effort is that I read the maximum number of these letters and comments myself before Mann Ki Baat. I listen to many phone calls too. And as the episode of Mann Ki Baat draws closer, I read ideas and inputs sent by you very minutely while travelling.
My countrymen stay in my heart every moment and that is how the writer’s situation and ideas expressed in the letter become part of my thought process. That letter does not remain a mere a piece of paper for me. As it is I have spent close to 40 to 45 years as a travelling mendicant and have been to most of the districts in our country including the remotest once where I spent a lot of time. That is why I am able to relate myself to the place and context of the letter. Then, I note down facts like the name of the village and of the person. Honestly speaking, Mann Ki Baat carries my voice but the examples, emotions and spirit represent my countrymen, I thank every person contributing to Mann Ki Baat. There are lakhs of persons whose names I have not been able to include in Mann Ki Baat but without any disappointment, they continue to send in their letters and comments. I firmly believe that your ideas and your views will continue reaching me in even greater numbers and will help make Mann Ki Baat more interesting, effective and useful. An effort is also made that the concerned department should pay attention to such letters and comments which, somehow, could not be included in Mann Ki Baat. I also thank my colleagues from All India Radio, FM Radio, Doordarshan, other TV Channels and the Social Media. It is due to their hard work that Mann Ki Baat reaches maximum number of people. The team from All India Radio prepares each episode for broadcast in a number of regional languages.
Some of them very aptly narrate in a voice and style resembling that of Modi’s. In this way for those 30 minutes they become Narendra Modi. I congratulate and thank those persons for their talent and skills. I would request all of you also to kindly listen to this programme in your regional language as well. I sincerely thank from the core of my heart my friends in the media who regularly telecast Mann Ki Baat on their channels. No political person is ever happy with the media, he feels that he is getting a very little coverage or the coverage given to him is negative. But many issues raised in Mann Ki Baat have been adopted by the media. Issues such as cleanliness, Road safety, drugs free India, selfie with daughter have been taken up by the media and turn into campaigns. TV channels made it the most watched radio programme – I sincerely thank and congratulate the media. Without your contribution and cooperation, this journey of Mann Ki Baat would have been incomplete.
Nidhi ji, many thanks for your phone call! To tell you the truth, I have no such secret. What I am doing must be happening in families as well. In simple words, I may say that I try to cast myself into the mould of that young man, and put myself under his conditions and try to adjust and match the wave length accordingly. There are old baggage’s of our own lives and when they do not come in the way, it becomes easier to understand others. Sometimes our inhibitions or prejudices become a big hurdle in communication. I prefer to understand the other man’s point of view rather than going through the process of acceptance, rejection and reaction. My experience has been that by adopting this approach, the other side also tries to come to our wave length rather than arguing or creating pressure in order to convince thereby removing the communication gap and both sides become co-travelers in our journey of idea-sharing. None of the two even realizes that how and when one other’s has abandoned its idea and accepted and owned the idea of the other side.
Today’s youths have this special quality that they won’t do anything which they do not believe themselves and whenever they believe in something, they follow that leaving everything else. People generally talk of a communication gap between the elders and teenagers in the family. In fact, the scope of discussion with teenagers is quite limited in most of the families. Most of the time these talks remain limited to studies, habits or life style and the “do’s” and “don’ts”. An open discussion without any expectations is gradually on the decline and this too is a matter of concern.
Communication will be more effective if we “accept” instead of “expect” and “discuss” instead of “dismiss”. My effort is to have a continuous dialogue with the youth in various programmes or through social media. I try to learn from whatever they are doing or whatever they are thinking. They are storehouse of ideas. They are extremely energetic, innovative and focused. I try to share the efforts and achievements of the youth as much as possible through “Mann Ki Baat”. There is a general complaint that the younger generation asks too many questions. I say it is good that the youth ask questions.
It is good as it shows that they want to analyse everything from its very root. Some people say that the youth do not have patience but my belief is that the youth do not have any time to waste- this is the point which helps the present day youth become more innovative because they want to accomplish things quickly. We feel that the youths are very ambitious today and they plan big. I feel it is good, dream big and achieve bigger successes; after all, this is “the New India”. Some people say that the younger generation wants to accomplish a many things at a time. I say what is wrong in it. They do so because they are adept in multitasking. If we just look around, we find that it is the youth who are bringing in transformation of society in a big way, may it be social entrepreneurship, start-ups, sports or any other field. Those youth who have dared to ask questions and have had the courage to dream big. If we put these ideas of our youth into practice and provide them conducive environment to express themselves, they surely will bring about a constructive and a positive change in the country- they are already doing so.
My dear countrymen, Vineeta ji from Gurugram- has posted on MyGov that in Mann Ki Baat I should talk about the “Constitution Day” which falls on the 26th November. She says that this day is special because we are going to enter into the 70th year of our Constitution adoption. Thank you very much for your suggestion Vineeta ji.
Yes, tomorrow is the Constitution Day. A day to remember those great personalities who drafted our Constitution. Our Constitution was adopted on 26th November, 1949. The Constituent Assembly took 2 years 11 months and 17 days to accomplish this stupendous task of drafting the Constitution. Just imagine, these luminaries gave us such a comprehensive and detailed Constitution within a period of just less than 3 years. The extraordinary pace at which they drafted the Constitution is an example of Time Management and productivity to emulate even today. This also inspires us to accomplish our responsibilities within a record time. The Constituent Assembly was an amalgamation of the great talents of the country, each one of them was committed to provide a Constitution to the country which empowers the people of India and enriches even the poorest of the poor.
The unique point in our Constitution is that the rights and duties have been very comprehensively detailed. A balance between these two in the lives of our citizens will take our nation forward. If we respect the rights of others, our rights will automatically get protected and similarly if we fulfill our duties, then also our rights will get automatically protected. I still remember that in 2010 when 60 years of the adoption of the Constitution were being celebrated, we had taken out a procession by placing our Constitution atop an elephant. This has been a memorable incident to increase awareness about our Constitution among the youth and to connect them to the various aspects of the Constitution. In the year 2020, we shall complete 70 years as a Republic and in 2022, we shall enter 75th year of our Independence.
Let us all take forward the values enshrined in our Constitution and ensure Peace, Progress and Prosperity in our country.
My dear countrymen, while talking about the Constituent Assembly, the contribution of that great man cannot be forgotten who played a pivotal role in the Constituent Assembly. This great man was none other than our revered Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar. His death anniversary or mahaparirvan divas falls on 6th December. I, on behalf of all countrymen, pay my homage to Baba Saheb who gave the right to live with dignity to crores of Indians. Democracy was embedded deep in Baba Saheb’s nature and he used to say that India’s democratic values have not been imported from outside. What is a republic and what is a parliamentary system- are nothing new to India. He had made a very moving appeal in the Constituent Assembly that we have to safeguard our hard fought democracy till the last drop of our blood. He also used to say that we, Indians may be from different background but, yes, we shall have to keep the national interest above all the other things. “India First” was the basic doctrine of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Once again my humble tribute to revered Baba Saheb.
My dear countrymen, two days back on 23rd November, we all celebrated Shri Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti and next year in 2019 we shall be celebrating his 550th Prakash Parv. Guru Nanak Dev Ji always envisaged the welfare of entire humanity. He always showed the path of truth, work, service, kindness and amity to the society. The country will observe Guru Nahak Dev Ji’s 550th birth anniversary in a grand way, its soothing colours will not only spread in India alone but will get sprinkled the world over. All states and Union Territories have been requested to celebrate the occasion in a grand manner. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Prakash Parv will be celebrated in a similar manner in all the countries of the world as well. Besides, a train will be run on a route joining all the holy places connected with Guru Nanak Dev ji. Recently, while holding a meeting in this regard I remembered about of Lakhpat Saheb Gurudwara. This Gurudwara suffered severe damage due to the devastating earth quake of 2001 in Gujarat. But, the manner in which the local people joined hands with the state Government in renovating it, is an example even today.
The Government of India has taken a significant decision of building Kartarpur corridor so that our countrymen could easily visit Kartarpur in Pakistan to pay homage to Guru Nanak Dev Ji at that holy sight.
My dear countrymen, we shall meet once again in the next episode after this 50th episode of Mann Ki Baat and I am sure that in this episode of Mann Ki Baat today I got an opportunity for the first time to talk to you about the spirit behind this programme because of your questions. But our journey shall continue. The more you connect with us, our journey will gain greater depth, providing, satisfaction to one and all. At times a question arises in the minds of people’s as to what I achieved through Mann Ki Baat. I would like to say today that of the feedback of this programme, one of the points that touches my heart most- is when people tell me that when we sit with all our family members to listen to Mann Ki Baat, we feel that the head of our family is sitting with us and sharing his ideas with us.
When I heard this comment in a larger circle, I felt satisfied to know that I am yours, I am one amongst you, I am with you, you elevated me and in a way, and in this way I will continue to remain connected with you as a family member through Man Ki Baat. Your joys and sorrows are my joys and sorrows too; your expectations are my expectations also; your ambitions are my ambitions.
Come on, let us take this journey further.
Many many thanks.
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