Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon people to observe the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year by striving to make India plastic-free and exhorted municipalities, NGOs and the corporate sector to take measures for safe disposal of accumulated plastic waste before Diwali.
The Prime Minister, in his monthly radio address “Mann ki Baat”, asked people to participate in the annual “Swachhta Hi Seva” campaign, which will begin on September 11. “This year, on October 2, when we celebrate Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary, we shall not only dedicate to him an India that is open defecation-free but also shall lay the foundation of a new revolution against plastic,” he said.
The Prime Minister said, “Whenever we talk about nature and wildlife, we only talk about conservation. But now we have to move beyond conservation and think about compassion. Our scriptures have provided guidance on the issue.”
Quoting scriptures, he said that if there are no forests, tigers are forced to venture into the human habitat and are killed and if there are no tigers in the forest, man cuts the forest and destroys it. “So, in fact, the tiger protects the forest and not that the forest protects the tiger. Our forefathers have explained this truth. Therefore we need to not only conserve our forests, flora and fauna, but also create an environment wherein they can flourish properly,” he said.
Referring to the recent release of the tiger census, he said India now has 2,967 tigers. A few years ago, the figure was half of what we have today, he said. At the Tiger Summit of 2010, the Prime Minister pointed out, it was resolved that the number of tigers worldwide would be doubled by 2022.
Modi also referred to the ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ (nutrition campaign) to be held next month and urged people to convert it into a mass movement. He said National Sports Day, on August 29, will mark the launch of the “Fit India Movement”.
Referring to the conversation with adventurer Bear Grylls in the special episode of Man Vs Wild, he said, “Whenever I spoke, it was instantly translated into English. Bear Grylls had a small cordless instrument in his ear. So I spoke in Hindi and he heard it in English… the communication became very easy. This is an amazing aspect about technology.”
The Prime Minister advised people to visit sites associated with nature and wildlife. “You must visit the Northeast,” he added. Referring to the festival of Janmashtmi, which was observed on Saturday, he said, “Can anyone even imagine the greatness of his (Krishna’s) personality, that even after thousands of years, the festival comes along with renewed novelty, a new inspiration, with fresh energy?”
“Krishna could get lost in Raas, play with shepherds among cows, play on a flute, it was a life full of pluralities….And on the battlefield, despite possessing such greatness, accepting the role of a charioteer; sometimes lift a rock or leaf-plates; one feels a sense of newness in whatever he does.”