Addressing the 50th episode of his monthly address ‘Mann ki Baat’ on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recounted how the idea for the show came up and why he chose radio as the medium of communication.
In 1998 when he was a BJP worker in Himachal Pradesh, PM Modi said, he once stopped for tea at a small dhaba. When he placed the order, the person manning the counter had instead offered him a ladoo.
“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’,” Modi said.
When Modi enquired the reason behind his exuberance, the man replied, “India has exploded the bomb today!” When pressed, the man turned on the radio when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was talking about the successful nuclear test that India had conducted.
“I was surprised to know that radio can have such an impact on someone who works in a secluded forest, amidst the hills,” PM Modi said. “Since then, I was convinced that radio is for the masses and has immense power.”
“When I became Prime Minister, it was natural for me to turn towards strong, effective medium. And in 2014, when I took charge as Pradhan Sevak, Principal Servant, it was my wish to reach out to masses with the glorious saga of our country’s unity,” PM Modi said.
He also added that when the idea was conceived, he decided that the show will be apolitical. “I had firmly decided that it would carry nothing political, or any praise for Govt, nor Modi for that matter anywhere. Modi may come and go, but this country will never let go of its unity, our culture will always be immortal,” he said.
Addressing the listeners on the “Golden Jubilee” of the programme, PM Modi said: “Mann Ki Baat is about people, not politics.”
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) November 25, 2018
Modi also thanked the media for broadcasting the show on their channels and campaigning for few issues raised during the programme. “Some people wonder as to what I get out of this? Well, it gives me immense satisfaction when people write back to tell me that they listen to the Mann Ki Baat with their family and feel as if a family elder is speaking to them and telling them their own words and thoughts,” he added.
Mann ki Baat is a monthly radio address by PM Modi that began on October 3, 2014. The PM’s speech is aired on All India Radio, Doordarshan and the Narendra Modi mobile app. The YouTube channels of the Prime Minister’s Office, information and broadcasting ministry and allindiaradio.gov.in also air the speech. All India Radio also airs the programme in regional languages immediately after the Hindi broadcast. Toll-free telephone lines have also been introduced to connect with more people during the radio programme. Citizens are also invited to share their suggestions or pitch ideas for the show on NaMo app.