In his address to the nation through Mann ki Baat, PM Narendra Modi on Sunday asked countrymen to light lamps for soldiers on the border even as he asked people to go vocal for local while shopping during the festival season.
“We have to remember our soldiers who are on the borders during these festivities, protecting Bharat Mata. We must light a lamp in the honour of these sons and daughters of Bharat Mata. I want to tell our brave soldiers that you may be at the borders but the whole nation is with you,” Modi said.
The statement comes in the backdrop of tens of thousands of Indian soldiers locked ina confrontation with Chinese forces in Eastern Ladakh since May.
Greeting the nation on the occasion of Dussehra, Modi urged the nation to celebrate festivities with restraint in the wake of Covid and to go for local products.
“When you go shopping during these festivals please remember we have to give priority to local products. …Today when we are going vocal for local, the world is also becoming a fan of our products. Many of our local products have the potential to become global. Today Khadi is regarded as an eco-friendly fabric. It is not only becoming a fashion statement but is also being manufactured across the world,” Modi said.
Giving the example of Ohaka in Mexico, where he claimed Khadi is manufactured, Modi narrated an anecdote of how Khadi reached there after a Maxican became influenced by a film on Mahatma Gandhi.
The PM also reminded people not forget the class of people who keep our lives going and to accord them respect.
“We must remember the period of lockdown. During this period we have been able to closely understand those friends from our society without whom our life would become very difficult. We have understood the important roles that Safai karmchari, domestic helps, local vegetable seller, the milkman and security guards play in our lives. In our hour of difficulty, they stood by us. Now during the festivities, we have to keep them with us. I urge you to include them in your festivities like a family member. You will feel very happy,” Modi said.
In reference to Covid, he said that Dussehra was as much a festival of victory of patience over crises as it was of victory of truth over evil. But it is also a festival of.
“All of you are today living with a lot of restraint and celebrating the festival within the limits. So in the battle we are fighting, the victory is certain,” he said.
The PM said the scenes in Durga Puja pandals are not the same as earlier when there would be massive crowds. He said the Dussehra grounds are also not witnessing massive fairs as earlier and there are restrictions on Ram Leela as well.
“More festivals are coming. There is Eid, Sharad Purnima, Valmiki Jayanti, Dhanteras, Diwali, Bhai Dooj, Chhat and Guru Nanak Jayanti. During the Pandemic, we have to exercise restraint. Stay within limits,” Modi said.
In a reference to government’s farm bills which have seen opposition from certain quarters in the country, Modi suggested that the new laws would revolutionaise the farm sector. To drive home his point he said, “A company in Maharashtra bought maize from farmers and gave them a bonus over the price. The farmers were pleasantly surprised. The company said that the new laws related agriculture brought in by the government have enabled farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country and they are getting paid well. So the company thought that this extra profit should be shared with farmers. This shows how the farm laws have the potential to revolutionise the sector.”
Modi also spoke about South Kashmir’s Pulwama district which has often been in the news for terror incidents. The PM, however, spoke about how it was the largest manufacturer of pencils in the country.
“Pulwama is playing an important role in educating the country. If children across the country are doing their homeworks and filling up their notebooks, it is also because of the hard work of people from Pulwama. The Kashmir Valley fulfils 90% of the demand for pencil and slate in the country. A large part of this comes from Pulwama. There was a time we would import wood for pencils. But now our Pulwama is making us self-reliant in this sector,” Modi said.
He added that the wood from Chinar trees in the Valley carry a lot of moisture and are very suitable for pencil manufacturing. “This identity of PUlwama has been established after the people of Pulwama decided to do something new and completely committed themselves to it,” Modi said.
He spoke about one Mazoor Ahmed Alai from Pulwama who rose from making apple boxes to pencil manufacturing.
He also spoke about a hair dresser from Tamil Nadu, Pon Mariappan, who has converted a part of shis sloon in Thuthukodi into a library. Modi spoke to Mariappan over the phone in Tamil during the programme. He also asked people to read Thirukural.
He spoke about similar efforts in Madhya Pradesh, Bhavnagar, Chandigarh and Arunachal Pradesh by ordinary people and organisations.
He spoke about how Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a great sense of humour and Mahatma Gandhi highly appreciated it. He said in times of crises like this, it is important to retain our sense of humour. “Today, through our words, behaviour and deeds, we have to strengthen such things that unite us. Something that produces the feeling of comfort and brotherhood among people. Our ancestors have made these efforts for centuries,” he said adding that from Shankaracharya to Bhimrao Ambedkar, everyone has made such efforts.
He also paid tribute to Indira Gandhi and spoke about Maharshi Valmiki.
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