Mann Ki Baat
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on November 29 addressed the people of India through his 18th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’. He talked about government of india’s efforts to bring back stolen invaluable Indian heritage like artifacts idols etc. He emphasized use of technology to take cultural heritage to the maximum number of people. Highlights of the address are as follows:
• Every Indian will be proud to know that a very old idol of Devi Annapurna is returning to India from Canada. This idol was stolen from a temple of Varanasi and smuggled out of the country around 100 years ago somewhere around 1913. I express my gratitude to the Government of Canada and to all those for this large heartedness who made this propitious deed possible. Mata Annapoorna has a very special relationship with Kashi. Just like the idol of Mata Annapurna, a lot of our invaluable heritage has suffered at the hands of International gangs. India has also increased her efforts for their return. Because of such efforts, India has been successful in bringing back lots of such idols and artifacts in the past few years.
• National museum is working on introducing around ten virtual galleries- isn’t this interesting! Now, sitting at your home, you can tour National Museum galleries of Delhi. On the one hand it is important to take cultural heritage to the maximum number of people through the medium of technology, the use of technology is also important for the conservation of this heritage.
• For the past few days Internet is full of viral pictures of Cherry Blossoms. You might be thinking that when I am referring to Cherry Blossoms I am talking about Japan’s distinct identity but it’s not like that. These are not pictures of Japan. These are pictures of Shillong of our Meghalaya. These cherry blossoms have further enhanced the beauty of Meghalaya.
• India’s culture and Shaastras, knowledge has always been a centre of attraction for the entire world. Many people came to India to discover & study them & stayed back for ever, whereas some of them returned to their respective countries as carriers of this culture. I got an opportunity to know about the work of Jonas Masetti, also known as Vishwanath. Jonas teaches Vedanta & Geeta to people in Brazil. He runs an institution named Vishwavidya, situated in the hills of Petropolis, an hour’s distance from Rio De Janeiro. Jonas, after studying Mechanical Engineering worked in his stock market company. Later he was drawn towards Indian culture, especially Vedanta. From stocks to spirituality, it has truly been a long journey for him. Jonas studied Vedanta Philosophy in India, staying at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore for four years. Jonas has another specialty- he is using technology to propagate his message. He regularly conducts online programmes. He also does a daily podcast. During the last seven years, through his free open courses on Vedanta, Jonas has taught over a lakh & a half students. Jonas is not only doing great work – he is doing it through a language understood by a large number of people. People are much keen on knowing how this could be of help to them during these times of Corona & quarantine. Through the medium of Mann Ki Baat, I congratulate Jonas on his efforts & wish him well for his future endeavors.
• Friends, similarly, one piece of news might have caught your attention. Newly elected MP in New Zealand Dr. Gaurav Sharma took the Oath of office in one of the ancient languages of the world – Sanskrit. The dissemination of Indian culture on part of an Indian fills us with pride. Through the medium of Mann Ki Baat, I extend best wishes to Gaurav Sharma ji. All of us wish he attains newer achievements in the service of the people of New Zealand.
• From Vancouver to Wellington, from Singapore to South Africa his messages are heard all around. It is mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib –“sevak ko seva bun aayee”, that is the work of a sevak, a servant is to serve. In the past few years at many important junctures we had the opportunity to serve as a Sevak. Guru Sahib awarded us the opportunity to serve. 550th Prakash Parva of Guru Nanak Dev ji, 350th Prakash Parv of Shri Guru Govind Singh ji, next year we will have 400th Prakash Parv of Shri Guru Teg Bahadur ji too. I feel that I have been specially blessed by Guru Sahib that he has associated me very closely with his work.
• Friends , it was Guru Nanak Dev ji who started the tradition of Langar and we saw how the Sikh community all over the world continued the tradition of feeding people during this period of Corona , served humanity – this tradition always keeps inspiring us. I wish we all keep working as a Sevak. May Guru Sahib keep taking services from me and countrymen in the same manner. Once again, many best wishes on Guru Nanak Jayanti.
• Through technology I was able to connect with students of IIT- Guwahati, IIT-Delhi, Deendayal Petroleum University of Gandhinagar, JNU of Delhi, Mysore University and Lucknow University. To be amongst the youth of the country is extremely refreshing and energizing. University campuses in a way are like Mini India. In these campuses on the one hand we see the diversity of India; on the other we also find great passion for changes for a New India. Before Corona when I used to go for a face to face event at any institution, I would urge that poor students from nearby schools to be invited to the function. Those children have been attending the functions as my special guests. When a small child in the grand function watches a young person becoming a Doctor, Engineer, Scientist, sees someone receiving a medal, new dreams awaken in the child- ‘I too can do it’, this self confidence arises. There is inspiration for resolve. Friends, besides this, I am always interested in knowing who the alumni of the institution are, what the arrangements by the institution for regular engagement with its alumni are,how vibrant their alumni network is.
• My young friends, you are a student of an institution only till you study there, but you remain an alumni of that institution lifelong. After leaving school or college, two things never end – one, the influence of your education, and second, your bonding with your school or college. Whenever alumni interact with each other, in their memories of school or college, greater time is given to reminiscing about time on campus and moments spent with friends than about books and studies, and, from these memories, a feeling is bornto do something for the institution.
• What can bring greater happiness than to lend a hand in development of the place where your personality was moulded? I have read certain such efforts, where the former students have given back to their old institutions in great measure. Nowadays, alumni are very active in this. IITians have provided their institutions many facilities like Conference Centres, Management Centres& Incubation Centres set up by their efforts. All of these endeavors improve the learning experience of the current students. IIT Delhi has initiated an endowment fund, which is a brilliant idea. There is a culture of such endowments inrenowned universities across the world, which helps the students. I think that universities of India are also capable to institutionalize this culture.
• The 5thDecember is the death anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. The more we read Sri Aurobindo, greater is the insight that we get. The more my young friends learn about Sri Aurobindo, greater will they learn about themselves, enriching themselves.
• Friends, likewise, Shri Aurobindo’s views on education were very lucid. He did not consider education to be limited only to bookish knowledge, degree and job. Sri Aurobindo used to say that our national education should focus on training of the hearts and minds of our younger generation, that is, scientific development of the mind and Indian ethos residein the heart should also be there, then only a young person can become a better citizen of the country. Whatever Shri Aurobindosaid about national education and expected then, the country is now achieving it through the new National Education Policy.
• My dear countrymen, new dimensions are being added to agriculture and its related activities in India. The agricultural reforms in the past few days have also now opened new doors of possibilities for our farmers. The demands that have been made by farmers for years, that every political party, at some point or the other made the promise to fulfill, those demands have been met. After a lot of deliberation, the Parliament of India gave a legal formto the agricultural reforms. These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also given them new rights and opportunities. In just a short span of time, these new rights have begun to ameliorate the woes of our farmers. You too should know how Jitendra Bhoiji, a farmer from Dhule district in Maharashtra made use of the recently promulgated farm laws. Jitendra Bhoiji had sown corn and decided to sell his produce to traders for a right price. The total cost of the produce was fixed at approximately Rupees Three Lakh thirty two thousand. Jitendra Bhoi even received an advance of Rupees twenty five thousand.