Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat, a national conversation that helps him connect with the people, that for him it was “a matter of faith, of worship” and an offering (“thaal of prasad”) to the feet of the divinity “in the form of Janata Janardan”.
“It is not me, but you are its Sanskar Sadhana,” Modi said as the nation listened attentively. Union Ministers and BJP leaders took the lead in commemorating the historic event, which drew large crowds across the country and beyond.
When he moved to Delhi in 2014 to assume the position of prime minister, he said, “Something felt different, there was an emptiness” in a conversation with changemakers in which nostalgia and emotions were not held back.
“The very nation men who are everything to me… I could not survive without them. Mann Ki Baat provided me with a solution to this problem, a means of communicating with the common man. The position and protocol remained within the confines of the system, while public opinion, along with billions of individuals, became an integral part of my inner universe. Every month I read tens of thousands of communications from the people of the country, and every month I am privy to one or more wonderful expressions of the nation’s citizens. I perceive and sense the severity of the nation’s penance and sacrifice. I simply do not feel even remotely distant from you.”
Mann Ki Baat is a matter of faith, worship, or vrat for me; it is not a programme. Similarly, when people go to worship God, they carry a thaal of prasad with them. Mann Ki Baat is, for me, a thaal of prasad placed at the feet of God as Janata Janardan, the people. Mann Ki Baat has become a spiritual voyage of my being… a journey from the individual to the group… myself to us. You are its Sanskar Sadhana, not I,” he explained.
“Imagine, for forty-odd years, some of our compatriots have been planting trees on desolate hills and barren land, and for thirty-odd years, many have been digging stepwells and ponds for water conservation and cleaning them. Some have taught underprivileged children for twenty-five to thirty years, while others assist in the treatment of the impoverished. I became emotional while repeatedly mentioning them in Mann Ki Baat. Friends from AIR were required to record it multiple times. Today, many memories from the past are surfacing before my gaze. “The efforts of my fellow countrymen have inspired me to persevere,” he said.
“All the individuals mentioned in Mann Ki Baat are our heroes who have brought this programme to life. Today, on the occasion of the 100th episode, I would also like to revisit all these heroes to learn more about their adventures.
The first caller to join the Prime Minister on the programme was Sunil Jaglan, who initiated the ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign in Haryana, a state with an imbalanced gender ratio. “The fourth battle of Panipat that you began in our state to bring smiles to the faces of the daughters, and that the entire country has tried to win under your leadership, is very important to me, to every father of a daughter, and to those who love daughters,” said Jaglan.
Soon after being mentioned on the programme, ‘Selfie with Daughter’ became a global campaign, Modi stated, and the gender ratio in Haryana has improved as a result of many such efforts.
The prime minister also mentioned others who have been working on issues near to his heart, including the environment, water conservation, education, health, and the empowerment of women.
In reference to the pencil slates of J&K that became popular after being featured on the show, Manzoor Ahmed stated, “Since then, business has increased significantly and I’ve been able to hire over 200 people.” Ahmed stated that he intends to expand the business and employ an additional 200 individuals.
Vijayashanti Devi from Manipur, who creates garments from lotus fibre, stated that she currently employs 30 women and will increase that number to 100 this year. She stated that she also intends to export eco-friendly fibre to the United States. According to the Prime Minister, Vocal for Local is now Local for Global.
Pradeep Sangwan, who leads the Healing Himalayas cleanliness campaign, also discussed his work.
The Prime Minister mentioned the global relevance of the programme. He recalled that the then-president of the United States, Barack Obama, had participated in one of the episodes and that the director general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, would appear in the 100th episode.
Azoulay inquired as to how India, with the largest population in the world, intends to attain the goal of education for all by 2030 and place culture and education at the top of the international agenda.
Modi stated that education and cultural preservation have been Mann Ki Baat’s most popular topics. “The work the nation is doing in this area today is truly commendable. Whether it’s the National Education Policy, the option to study in a regional language, or the integration of technology in education, you’ll observe a number of such initiatives,” he said.
“I am unwavering in my belief that collective endeavour can bring about the greatest change. This year, as we move forwards in the Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal, we also hold the G20 presidency. This is also one reason why our determination to enrich diverse global cultures through education has grown,” he said.
He concluded the episode with a Upanishads mantra: Charaiveti Charaiveti Charaiveti (move, move, move).