‘Yoga will be helpful for young friends in maintaining a healthy lifestyle’

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed his radio Programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ on All India Radio on October 29. The following are excerpt of his address:rime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed his radio Programme ‘Mann ki Baat’ on All India Radio on October 29. The following are excerpt of his address:

• The mega festival of Chatth, celebrated 6 days after Diwali, is one of those festivals which are celebrated in accordance with strict rituals & regimen. In everything associated with it like cuisine or attire, traditional norms are adhered to. The unique festival Chhath Pooja is deeply linked with nature & worshiping nature. Surya & Jal –The Sun & Water are central to the veneration in Chhath, whereas utensils made of bamboo & clay and tubers are an essential part of the Pooja articles. In this mega festival of faith, veneration of the rising sun and worship of the setting sun convey a message that is replete with unparalleled Sanskar. The world respects & venerates those who rise; the Chatth Pooja bestows upon us the sanskaar to respect & revere those whose setting, whose dusk is imminent. The expression of the significance of cleanliness in our lives is intrinsic to this festival. Before the advent of Chatth, people come together to clean up their homes, and along with that cleansing of rivers, lakes, pond banks and pooja locations, that is ghats, with utmost enthusiasm & fervour. Sun worship or Chhath Pooja is a festival of protecting the environment, ushering in wellness and discipline.

• Usually, people shy away from borrowing from others. But in Chhath Pooja, it is specially customary to ask for Prasad after the morning Arghya ritual. It is believed that the rationale behind this tradition is that, it destroys his ego that proves to be an impediment in one’s path of progress. It is natural for each one of us to feel proud of this great tradition of India.

• ‘Mann – Ki – Baat’ has garnered accolades; it has also attracted criticism. But whenever I look at the overall outcome of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, it reinforces my belief, that it is intrinsically, inseparably woven into the warp & weft of our common citizens’ lives, cent per cent. Take the examples of Khadi and handloom. On Gandhi Jayanti I have always advocated the use of handloom and Khadi. What has it led to? You will be glad to know that on the 17th of this month on the day of Dhanteras, the Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan store in Delhi witnessed a record sale of Rupees one crore, twenty lakhs. You too must be feeling happy with a sense of satisfaction at this mega sale in just one Khadi & Handloom store. During Diwali, Khadi gift coupon sales recorded an overwhelming 680 per cent rise. Compared to last year, the total sales of Khadi & Handicrafts have risen almost by 90%. One can clearly see that today, the youth, the elderly, women, in fact every age group is taking to Khadi & handloom.

• It is said that Bhagini Nivedita was the inspiration. Bhagini Nivedita ji also helped the great scientist Jagdish Chandra Basu. She helped publication of Basu’s research and publicity through her articles and conferences. This is India’s unique beauty that spirituality and science complement each other in our culture. Sister Nivedita and Scientist Jagdish Chandra Basu are a powerful testimony to this. In 1899, plague broke out in Calcutta and hundreds of people lost their lives in no time. Sister Nivedita, without caring for her health, started cleaning drains and roads. She was a woman who could live a luxurious life but she dedicatedly worked for the poor. Getting inspiration from her sacrifice, people came forward and joined her. Through her work, she spread the message of the importance of cleanliness and service to mankind. And, it is inscribed on her grave – “Here reposes Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India”. Undoubtedly, she did so. There cannot be any other befitting tribute to this great soul than every Indian taking a lesson from her life and emulating her.

• In earlier times, such diseases were known as ‘Raj-Rog’ which means diseases that used to afflict only the rich or those who lived a life of luxury. Such diseases were very rare in young people. But our lifestyle has changed. Today these diseases are known as ‘lifestyle disorders.’ One of the main reasons for being afflicted with such diseases at a young age is the lack of physical activity in our lifestyle and the changes in our eating habits. I would like the family to consciously try to inculcate in children the habit of playing in open grounds. If possible, we can make the elder family members accompany these children to the playground and play with them. The children can be made to take the stairs instead of taking the lift. After dinner, the entire family can go for a walk with the children. Yoga for Young India. Yoga will be helpful for especially our young friends, in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and protecting them from lifestyle disorders.

• After hockey, good news for India also came in badminton. Badminton star Kidambi Srikanth has filled every Indian’s heart with pride by clinching the Denmark Open title with his excellent performance. After Indonesia Open and Australia Open, this win has completed the triad of the super series premiere title. I congratulate our young friend, Kidambi Srikanth for this feat and enhancing the prestige of India.

• A few days ago I received a very detailed report highlighting the story of transformation of Chandrapur Fort in Maharashtra. An NGO called Ecological Protection Organization launched a cleanliness campaign in Chandrapur Fort. In this campaign lasting for two hundred days, people performed the task of cleaning the fort, non-stop, without any fatigue and with team-work. Just think Two-hundred-days of continuous labour! They sent me photographs with a caption- ‘Before and After’! I was overwhelmed on seeing these and whoever will see these photographs, no matter how upset he is on witnessing the filth around him, and wondering how the mission of cleanliness will be fulfilled – then I have to tell such people that you can see for yourself the toil, resolve and determination of the members of the Ecological Protection Organization, in these living pictures.