New Delhi, Aug 27, 2017: My dear countrymen, Saadar Namaskar. When on the one hand, a sense of festivity pervades the land, and on the other, news of violence comes in, from one part of the country, it is only natural of be concerned. Ours is the country of Buddha and Gandhi, it is the land of Sardar Patel who gave up his all for the unity of the nation. For centuries, our forefathers have imbibed community values, nonviolence, mutual respect – these are inherent to us. We have been hearing and saying Ahimsa Parmo Dharmah from our childhood. In my address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, I had said that violence in the name of faith will not be tolerated, whether it is communal belief systems, whether it is subscribing to political ideologies, whether it is allegiance to a person or customs and traditions. No one has the right to take the law into one’s own hands in the name of one’s beliefs. In the Constitution given to us by Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar there is every provision for ensuring justice for each and every person. I want to assure my countrymen that people who take the law into their own handsand are on the path of violent suppression – whether it is a person or a group –neither this country nor any government will tolerate it. Each and every person will have to abide by the law; the law will fix accountability and the guilty will unquestionably be punished.
My dear countrymen, our country is a land of diversities – these diversities are not limited to our cuisine, life style and attire. We observe diversity in every walk of life. Even our festivals are replete with diversity. Ours is arich cultural heritage, spanning thousands of years – when we look at our cultural traditions, social customs, historical events, there would hardly be a day left in the year which is not connected with a festival. You would have noticed, that all our festivals follow the almanac of nature. There is a direct connect with nature. Many of our festivals are linked straightaway with farmers and fishermen.
Speaking about festivals today, I would first like to wish you all michhamidukkadam. The Jain community celebrated the Samvatsari Parva yesterday. In the month of Bhadra, ParyushanParva is celebrated by the Jain Community. The last day of ParyushanParva is observed as Samvatsari. This is indeed a remarkable tradition. The festival of Samvatsari is symbolic of forgiveness, non-violence and brotherhood. It is also known as the KshamavaniParva, and on this day, people traditionally greet each other with, ‘michhamidukkadam.’ We have been hearing in our shaastras, our holy texts, “KshamaVeerasya Bhushanam”, that is, forgiveness is the adornment of the brave. The one who forgives is valiant. And Mahatma Gandhi always said, that forgiveness is the quality of great men.
Shakespeare in his play, “The Merchant of Venice”, while explaining the importance of forgiveness, has written, “Mercy is twice blest, It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,” meaning, the forgiver and the forgiven both stand to receive divine blessing.
My dear countrymen, Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated with great fervor all across the country. When we speak of Ganesh Chaturthi, it is but natural to talk about Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav, that is, community celebrations of the Ganesh Festival. This tradition was established by Bal Gangadhar Tilak 125 years ago, and it was 125 years ago that Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav became a symbol of India’s struggle for freedom. And after Independence, this festival has become a vehicle of raising social and educational awareness. Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day festival. This Mahaparva, mega-festival stands for unity, equality, integrity and honesty. My heartiest greetings to all of you on the occasion of Ganeshotsav.
The festival of Onam is being celebrated in Kerela. Of the numerous colourful festivals of India, Onam is a prime festival of Kerela. This festival is known for its social and cultural significance. This festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. It gives the message of love and harmony – awakens new hopes and aspirations, and gives new confidence to the people. Our festivals are now becoming great attractions for tourism. And I would like to mention to my countrymen, that festivals like Navaratri in Gujarat, or Durga Utsav in Bengal are tremendous tourist attractions. Other festivals of our country too, provide an opportunity to attract foreign visitors. We should think about what more can be done in this direction.
In this series of festivals, Eid-ul-Zuha will be celebrated in a few days from now. Heartiest felicitations and best wishes to all countrymen on the occasion of Eid-ul-Zuha. Festivals are of course symbols of faith and belief; in the New India, we should transform them into symbols of cleanliness as well. In individual households, festivals and cleanliness are linked together. In fact, preparations for festivals always begin with cleaning. This is nothing new for us, but it is important to convert it into a social character. Public cleanliness must be insisted upon not just in our homes but in our villages, towns, cities, states and in our entire country – Cleanliness has to be inextricably linked to our festivals.
My dear countrymen, definitions of being modern are perpetually changing. These days, a new measure to gauge a new dimension, a new parameter, has come in to being. It determines what your upbringing has been, how modern you are, how modern your thinking is. And that measure is your level of environment consciousness. Are your activities ecofriendly, environment friendly or otherwise? It is considered to be unacceptable in society today, of you are not environment friendly. And as a result of this I find that, the ecofriendly Ganpati, in this Ganesh Festival has turned into a huge campaign.If you go on YouTube, you will see that children in every home are making earthen Ganesh idols and are colouring them. Some are using vegetable colours, while some are pasting bits and pieces `of paper. All sorts of experiments are being carried out in every family. This is probably the first of its kind, the most widespread experiment in environment consciousness. Media houses too, are making a great effort in training people, inspiring them and guiding them towards ecofriendly Ganesh idols. What a massive transformation this has been; a pleasant one at that. And as I mentioned, our country is blessed with millions and millions of the brightest of brains. And it is nice to see all sorts of new innovations. Someone told me about a gentleman who is an engineer and who has collected and combined special varieties of clay, to give training in making Ganesh idols. The Ganesh Visarjan or immersion is done in a small bucket of water, where the idol dissolves within no time. And he didn’t stop there. A tulsi, Holy Basil, sapling was sowed in it. The campaign for Cleanliness which was initiated three years ago will be marking its third anniversary on the 2nd of October. And the positive results are now being seen. Toilets have increased from 39% to almost 67% of the population? More than two lakh thirty thousand villages have declared themselves open defecation free.
Gujarat saw devastating floods recently. Many people lost their lives. When the waters receded, there was so much filth everywhere. That is when, in Dhanera in the Banaskantha District of Gujarat, volunteers of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind cleaned twenty-two affected temples and two mosques in a phased manner. They came together and toiled collectively. The volunteers of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hindset a fine, inspiring example of unity for cleanliness. If this committed effort towards cleanliness become inherent to us, our country will certainly take our nation to greater heights.
My dear countrymen, I call upon you to begin a campaign, Swachchata Hi Sewa, Cleanliness is Service, at least fifteen-twenty days prior to Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October – on the lines of the age-old belief, Jal Seva Yahi Prabhu Seva, Service to Water is Service to God. Let’s create an environment of cleanliness in the entire country. Whenever and wherever possible, let’s look for the opportunity. But we must all come together. We could look at this as preparations for Diwali, preparations for Navaratri, preparations for Durga Puja. Do Shramdan, Donate through labor. Come together on Sundaysand Holidays. Go to settlements in your neighborhood, go to nearby villages, but do this in the form of a movement. I urge all NGOs, schools, colleges, social, cultural and political leaders, people in the government, collectors and sarpanches, to begin creating an environment of cleanliness at least fifteen days ahead of Gandhi Jayanti on the 2nd of October so that it turns out to be the 2nd October of Gandhi’s dreams. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has created a section on MyGov.in where after constructing a toilet you can register your name and the name of the beneficiary family, who you helped. My friends from the social media can run a few creative campaigns and thus become a source of inspiration in the virtual world, to see results in the real world. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has organized, the Swachch Sankalp se Swachcha Siddhi Pratiyogita, From the resolve of Cleanliness to attaining Cleanliness Competition comprising an essay competition, a short film making competition and a painting competition. You can write essays in various languages and there is no age limit. You can make a short film even with your mobile phone. You can film a two-three-minute movie that inspires cleanliness. It can be in any language; it could be silent too. The best three participants – three at the district level, three at the state level will be given prizes. I invite one and all – Come, join the Cleanliness Campaign in this manner as well.
I would like to reiterate, let’s resolve to celebrate, 2nd October Gandhi Jayanti this year as Swachch Do Aktoobar, Clean 2nd October. And to this end beginning 15th September let us take the mantra, the message, Swachchata Hi Seva, Cleanliness is Service to each and every home. Take one or another step towards cleanliness. Make your effort to be a part of it. You will see how the Gandhi Jayanti of this 2nd October shines. You can imagine the inner bliss of paying homage to our revered Bapu, with fifteen days of this cleanliness campaign, Swachchata Hi Seva, when we celebrate Gandhi Jayanti on the 2nd of October.
My dear countrymen, I want to specially express my indebtedness to you. I want to thank you from the core of my heart, not because you have been connected with Mann Ki Baat, for such a long time – I want to express my gratitude and indebtedness as millions of people from across the country come together with Mann ki Baat. The number of listeners are in crores out of which lakhs of people write letters to me, send messages, and get their messages recorded on phone, which is a huge treasure for me. This has become a great opportunity for me to understand the hearts and minds of one and all. Much as you wait for Mann ki Baat, I await your messages with greater eagerness. I always look forward with anticipation, because I find so much to learn from all that you share. It is an opportunity to test my endeavors on this touchstone. Even the smallest of your suggestions help me in thinking anew on a wide variety of subjects. I therefore express my heartfelt gratitude for your contributions and also my indebtedness to you. My endeavor always is to see for myself, hear, read and understand your thoughts. All sorts of things come to me. Now take this phone call for example. You will be able to correlate with it. You too would feel that, you would’ve committed the same mistake. Sometimes certain things become a part of our habits, that we don’t even realize that we are doing something wrong.
“Pradhan Mantri ji, I am Aparna from Pune. I want to tell you about a friend of mine. She always tries to help others, but one habit of hers amazes me. I went for shopping with her at a mall. She coolly spent two thousand rupees on a sari, and four hundred and fifty rupees on a pizza. Whereas, she haggled for a long time, over merely five rupees, with the auto driver, who took us to the mall. On the way back, we stopped to buy vegetables, and again she haggled with the vendors to save 4-5 rupees. I feel very bad. We spend extravagantly in high places, without a single thought, but when it comes to our hardworking brethren, we quarrel with them over small amounts. We don’t trust them. Please speak about this on Mann ki Baat.”
Now after listening to this phone call, I am certain that you would have been shocked and awakened and would probably have resolved not to repeat such a mistake. Don’t you feel that whenever a vendor comes to your door to sell something, on his rounds, when we come into contact with small shopkeepers, vegetable sellers, auto rickshaw drivers – in fact any person who earns through sheer hard work – we start bargaining with him, haggling with him: “No not so much, make it two rupees less, five rupees less!” And it is us, the same people, who go to dine at a fine restaurant, we don’t even bother to check the bill, we just go ahead and pay the money, without thinking twice. Not just this, when we go to a showroom to buy a saree, we don’t bargain, but when it comes to someone poor, we just cannot resist bargaining. Have you ever wondered what a poor man goes through? It is not a matter of two or five rupees, it hurts him deeply, when he feels that you are questioning his honesty. Two or five rupees make no difference to your life, but have you thought how much heartache this petty habit of yours can cause him. Madam I am grateful to you for calling me with this touching message. I am certain that my countrymen, if they are in the habit of behaving in this way with the poor will now stop doing so.
My dear young friends, the country celebrates National Sports Day on the 29th of August. This is the birth anniversary of the great hockey player, hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand ji. His contribution to hockey was unparalleled. I am reminding you of this because I want the younger generation of our country to take part in sports. Sports should become a part of our lives. If we are a young nation, our youth should get manifested in the field sports as well. Sports means, physical fitness, mental alertness and personality enhancement. What else does one need? Sports, in a way, is a recipe that brings people together. The young generation of our country should come forward in the world of sports – and in today’s computer era I would like to alert you to the fact that the playing field is far more important than the play station. Play FIFA on the computer, but sometimes show your skills with the football out in the field. You must be playing cricket on the computer but the pleasure of actually playing cricket in an open field under the sky is something else. There was a time when the children in the family went out to play, the mother would first ask, “When will you come back home?” Now the times are such that children, when they come home, they either start watching cartoons in a corner, or are glued to mobile games. And the mother has to shout, “When will you go out?” How times have changed! There was a time when the mother would demand to know when her son would be back. And today, she demands to know when he will go out.
Young friends, the Sports Ministry is launching a Sports Talent Search Portal to search for sporting talent and to groom them. Any talented child who has an achievement in sports, can upload his biodata or video on this portal. The Ministry of Sports will impart training to selected emerging players. The Ministry is launching the portal tomorrow. The good news for our young friends is that the FIFA Under 17 World Cup is being organized in India, from the 6th to the 28th of October. Twenty-four teams from all over the world will be making India their home.
Come, let’s welcome the young visitors from all across the world with the festival of Sports, let’s enjoy the sport, and create a conducive sporting atmosphere in the country. I speak about sports today, and just last week, a heartwarming incident took place, which I would like to share with my countrymen. I had the opportunity to meet some young daughters, some of who, were born in the Himalayas, who had absolutely no connection with the sea. Six of these young daughters are in the Navy. Their grit and zeal, is inspiring for all of us. These six young women will embark on a voyage across the seas, in a small boat, INS Tarini. The expedition has been named, Navika Sagar Parikrama. They will circumnavigate the globe and return home, after many months. Sometimes they will spend 40 days on the seas in one go; at times, thirty. Our six daughters riding the waves of the high seas, with courage, is the first instance of its kind in the world. Each and every Indian would be proud of these daughters. I salute their valour and I have asked them to share their experiences with the entire country. I too am making a separate arrangement for their experiences on the Narendra Modi App to ensure that you can read it. For this is a tale of heroism, a tale of personal experiences, and I would be happy to bring you the stories of these daughters. My best wishes and blessings to these daughters.
My dear countrymen, we celebrate 5th September as Teacher’s Day. It is the birthday of our former President, Dr. Radhakrishnan ji. He was the President, but all through his life, he saw himself as a teacher. He preferred to live a teacher’s life. He was committed to being a teacher. He was a scholar, a diplomat, the President of India and yet, quintessentially a teacher. I salute him.
The great scientist Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” The most important quality of a teacher, is to awaken in his students, a sense of creativity and the joy of learning. As we celebrate Teacher’s Day this year can we come together and take a resolve? Can we run a campaign in mission mode? Teach to Transform, Educate to Empower, Learn to Lead. Can we move ahead with this resolve? Get someone committed to a five-year resolve. Show him the path of attainment, which he can achieve in five years – so that he can experience the joy of success in life. Such an atmosphere can be created by our schools, our colleges, our teachers, our educational institutions. When we speak about transformation in our country, we must think of our teachers as we do of our mothers. The teacher plays a vital role in transformation. In the life of every teacher, there are incidents of simple efforts that succeeded in bringing about a transformation in somebody’s life. We will play a big role in the transformation of the nation, if we make a collective effort. Come, let’s move forward with the mantra, Teach to Transform.
“Pranam Pradhan Mantri ji, I am Dr. Ananya Awasthi. I am a resident of Mumbai and work for the India Research Centre of Harvard University. As a researcher, I have been specially interested in Financial Inclusion. With reference to the social schemes related to Financial Inclusion, my question to you is: In the backdrop of the Jan DhanYojna launched in 2014, can you say that, do the statistics show that today, three years later, India is financially more secure and stronger, and whether this empowerment and benefits have percolated down to our women, farmers and workers, in villages and small towns. Thank you.”
My dear countrymen, the Pradhan Mantri Jan DhanYojna, financial inclusion, had been a point of discussion amongst Financial Pundits, not just in India, but all over the world. On the 28th of August 2014, we had launched this campaign with a dream in our hearts. Tomorrow on the 28th of August, the Pradhan Mantri Jan DhanYojna will complete three years. Thirty crore new families have been linked to this scheme, bank accounts have been opened. This number is larger than the population of many countries of the world. And today I feel a great sense of fulfilment, that within three years, the last man on the fringes of society has become a part of the mainstream economy of the country. His ways have changed, he has now started going to the bank. He has started saving his money. He feels financially secure. When there is cash in the hand, or in the pocket or at home, one is tempted to indulge in wasteful expenditure. There is now an air of prudence. He is now beginning to understand that the money can be of use for his children. The money can be used productively in the days to come. Not just this, when a poor person sees a RuPay Card, in his pocket, he finds himself to be equal to the privileged – that if they have a credit card in their pockets, I too have a RuPay Card in mind. He feels a sense of dignity.
In the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, almost 65 thousand crore rupees have deposited in banks by our underprivileged brethren. In a way, this is a saving for the poor, this is his empowerment for the future. And those who opened their accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, have received the benefit of insurance as well. Schemes like, Pradhan Mantri Jeewan Jyoti Bima Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna, with a small premium of one rupee or thirty rupees, are giving a new sense of confidence to the poor. For many families, in times of adversity, or on the demise of the head of the family, through the one-rupee insurance, they received two lakh rupees in a matter of days. Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna, Start Up Yojna, Stand Up Yojna – for Dalits, Adivasis, women, educated youth, youth who want to stand on their own feet – for millions and millions through Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna, they have been able to get loans from banks without any guarantee. They have been able to stand on their own feet and have succeeded in giving employment to one or two other people as well. Banks have conducted surveys about how the common man has benefited from Jan Dhan Yojna, from Insurance Schemes, from RuPay Card and Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna. I recently met a few bankers, who shared inspiring stories from their survey. There isn’t enough time today, but I would certainly like request the bankers to upload these inspiring stories, on MyGov.in, so that people can read them and be inspired by how a scheme can bring about transformation in the life of a person, how it can bring a new energy, a new confidence – hundreds of examples have come before me. I will try my best to bring these to you; and the media can also take advantage of these inspiring stories. They too, can interview such people, and inspire the young generation.
My dear countrymen, once again, I wish you “michchami dukkadm.” Thank you very much.