As Mann ki Baat completed its 50th episode on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at length about the programme and how it had made him a part of everyone’s family. He also spoke about building the Kartarpur corridor for facilitating easy pilgrimage to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. The announcement has been seen as a sign of thaw in Indo-Pak relations.
Modi thanked the media for popularising Mann ki Baat and spoke about the power of youth even as he expressed concern over dwindling communication between parents and children.
The Prime Minister said he was inspired to start a radio show for communicating with the nation when in 1998 he had a conversation with a tea-seller who had heard about India’s nuclear explosion 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 realise and internalise that this was a medium that was truly connected with the masses. and that it was a mighty means of getting across,” Modi said.
He said due to Mann ki Baat, the popularity of radio was increasing. He said he had ensured that Mann ki Baat remained apolitical and that people’s “aspirations and expectations” expressed through phone calls and online comments had helped him keep to the path.
“Modi may come and go, but this country will never let go of its unity and permanence, our culture will always be immortal. …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,” Modi said.
Interaction with the people through Mann Ki Baat, he said, had given campaigns like Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Selfie With Daughter new energy.
Modi also thanked the media. “No political person is ever happy with the media, he feels that he is getting very little coverage or the coverage 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 turned into campaigns,” he said.
The Prime Minister spoke about the upcoming 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and said it would be celebrated in a grand way. He said all states and Union territories had been requested to do so. He said a train would be run connecting all places associated with Guru Nanak.
“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,” Modi said.
Talking about youth, he said when people say youth do not have patience, it was not true. Rather, they have no time to waste, he said. He expressed concern over poor communication between parents and children.