Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on November 25 addressed his the 50th episode of monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and discussed how the idea of the programme came into being. We are giving heighlights of the programme for our esteemed readers:
• On the 3rd of October, 2014, the pious occasion of Vijayadashmi, we embarked upon a journey together through the medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. This journey has reached its 50th episode today. Thus, this Golden Jubilee Episode is indeed gilt-edged in every sense of the term. Your letters and phone calls this time pertain mostly to these 50 episodes. Anshu Kumar & Amar Kumar from Delhi on Mygov, Vikas Yadav from Patna; on similar lines Monica Jain from Delhi, Prosenjit Sarkar from Bardhaman, West Bengal and Sangeeta Shastri from Nagpur converge in asking a shared question. They are of the view that broadly speaking, their Prime Minister being associated with the latest in technology, Social Media and Mobile Apps; WHY did he choose radio as a medium to connect with his countrymen? Your curiosity is but natural; in this age when Radio was fading into oblivion, why did Modi opt for the airwaves? Let me quote an incident. The year was 1998. I was then a party worker with the Bharatiya Janata Party organization in Himachal. It was the month of May; and I was travelling to a certain place.
Evenings tend to get cold in the hilly terrain of Himachal Pradesh, and I stopped by at a wayside tea stall and placed an order for tea. It was a tiny joint; there was only one person who would make & serve tea. He was not even adequately clad; it was a standalone kiosk on the edge of the road. He first picked up a Laddoo from a glass container, offered the sweetmeat to me & said, “Sir, eat this before the tea get ready”. 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”. On seeing his rather jubilant exuberance, I asked him, “But what exactly happened?” And he replied, “India has exploded the bomb today!” I exclaimed, “India has exploded the bomb! I don’t get it!” Said he “Sir, just listen to the radio”. Indeed, that exactly was the topic of discussion on the radio. It was then that he elaborated on how on the day of the nuclear test, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced to the Media and how he broke into a dance on listening to it 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 realize & internalise that this was a medium that was truly connected with the masses… and that it was a mighty means of getting across.
• In terms of the reach & depth of communication, radio has been incomparable. I have been nursing that feeling ever since, acknowledging its power & strength. Hence when I became the Prime Minister, it was natural for me to turn towards a strong, effective medium. And in 2014, when I took charge as the Pradhan Sevak, Principal Servant, it was my wish to reach out to the masses with the glorious saga of our country’s unity, her grand history, her valour, India’s diversity, our cultural diversity, virtues embedded in our society such as Purusharth, Tapasya, Passion & sacrifice; in a nutshell, the great story of India. From remote villages to Metro cities, from farmers to young professionals … the array just prompted me to embark upon this journey of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
• Every month, we would read letters to the tune of lakhs, listen to phone calls, watch comments on the App & Mygov. Weaving a common thread comprising them all into a fabric of informal conversation, we have been able to travel together, over this rather long distance of 50 episodes. Recently, All India Radio got a survey done on ‘Mann Ki Baat’. I came across some feedback that is very interesting. Out of the designated sample in the survey, 70% of respondents on an average happen to be listeners who regularly tune in to ‘’Mann Ki Baat’. Most people believe that the greatest contribution of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has been the enhancement of a feeling of positivity in our society. The medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has promoted many a mass revolution. #indiapositive has been the subject of quite an extensive discussion. This is an exemplary glimpse of the feeling of positivity, innate to our countrymen. People have shared their experiences, conveying the rise of selfless volunteerism as a consequence of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It is a change where people are increasingly willing to contribute for the sake of service to society. I am overjoyed on account of the fact that through ‘Mann Ki Baat’, radio is rising as a popular medium, more than ever before. But it’s not about just radio… people are connecting with this programme and ensuring their participation through T.V., FM Radio, Mobile, Internet, Facebook Live; along with periscope, through the NarendraModiApp too. I express my gratitude to the entire family of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for being a part of it & trusting it wholeheartedly.
• Who would have imagined that a small campaign “selfie with daughter”starting from a small village in Haryana would spread not only throughout the country but also across other countries as well. Every section of the society including celebrities joined in to ignite a process of transformation in a new modern language of change that the present generation understands and follows.
• The government has made a very important decision – that of opening Kartarpur Corridor, so that people of our nation can easily go to Kartarpur in Pakistan and visit the sacred place of Guru Nanak Dev.
• Today’s youths have this special quality that they won’t do anything which they do not believe themselves and whenever they believe in something, they follow that leaving everything else. People generally talk of a communication gap between the elders and teenagers in the family. In fact, the scope of discussion with teenagers is quite limited in most of the families. Most of the time these talks remain limited to studies, habits or life style and the “do’s” and “don’ts”. An open discussion without any expectations is gradually on the decline and this too is a matter of concern.
• It is good as it shows that they want to analyse everything from its very root. Some people say that the youth do not have patience but my belief is that the youth do not have any time to waste- this is the point which helps the present day youth become more innovative because they want to accomplish things quickly. We feel that the youths are very ambitious today and they plan big. I feel it is good, dream big and achieve bigger successes; after all, this is “the New India”. Some people say that the younger generation wants to accomplish a many things at a time. I say what is wrong in it. They do so because they are adept in multitasking. If we just look around, we find that it is the youth who are bringing in transformation of society in a big way, may it be social entrepreneurship, start-ups, sports or any other field. Those youth who have dared to ask questions and have had the courage to dream big. If we put these ideas of our youthinto practice and provide them conducive environment to express themselves, they surely will bring about a constructive and a positive change in the country- they are already doing so.