My dear countrymen, Namaskar! We recently lost 18 brave sons of our country in a terrorist attack in Uri Sector in Jammu and Kashmir. I salute these valiant soldiers and pay my tributes to them. This cowardly act has shocked the entire Nation. There are strong emotions of widespread grief as well as anger across the country. And, this is not only a loss for the families who have lost a son, a brother or a husband. In fact, it is a national loss. And, therefore, I will just reiterate to you, my countrymen, what I had said that very day, that the guilty will certainly be punished.
My dear countrymen, we have full faith in our armed forces. They will foil with their valour every such conspiracy, and they are the ones to reach the pinnacle of bravery so that we, their 1.25 billion fellow countrymen, can live peacefully and be happy. We are proud of our army. We politicians have many opportunities to speak our mind and we do speak. But, the forces do not speak, they take action.
I also wish today to specially talk to those living in Kashmir. Kashmiris are now beginning to recognize well the true face of the anti-national forces. And as they understand the truth better, they are now separating themselves from such elements and have started moving on the path of peace. Every parent wants the schools and colleges to be functioning properly at the earliest. Farmers also feel that their ripened crops and fruits should reach markets across the country. Economic activities too should be back on track. And during the last few days there has been a movement towards restoration of trading activities. We all know that peace, unity and harmony are the only way to solve our problems and also the way to our progress and development. We have to scale greater heights of development for the sake of our future generations. I am very sure that by sitting together we shall definitely find solutions to our problems, find ways to move ahead and also pave a better path for future generations in Kashmir. Providing security to people in Kashmir is the responsibility of the administration. The government has to take some steps to maintain law and order. I shall also tell the security forces that all our capabilities, power, laws, rules and regulations are basically meant to maintain law and order in order to provide a life of peace and happiness for the common people of Kashmir. We shall strictly abide by this. At times, people thinking differently from us also provide new ideas. These days I get to learn quite a lot through social media. I get an opportunity to know and understand views of different people from all corners of the country and this actually adds to the strength of our democracy. Recently, Harshvardhan, a young student of Eleventh Class has put before me a different type of thought. He has written – “I was very much distressed after the Uri attack and strongly felt like doing something. But, I did not know how to go about it as what could a young student like me possibly do. So, I was trying to find some way to be of some service to the nation. And I have resolved that I would devote three more hours daily towards my studies. I shall become a capable citizen so that I can serve the country well.
Brother Harshvardhan, I am happy to know that despite this atmosphere charged with anger, you are able to think in a healthy manner at such a young age. But, dear Harshvardhan, I shall also like to add that the anger in the hearts of our countrymen is of a very high value. It symbolises our national consciousness. This anger has the resolve to do something. Yes! You have presented that with a constructive approach. But, you must be aware that during the 1965-war, Lal bahadur Shastri Ji was leading us and then also similar feelings of rage, anger and patriotic fervour were sweeping the nation. Everyone wanted that something must happen, must be done. Then, Lal Bahadur Shashtri Ji had very aptly tried to touch the emotional universe of the country. He gave the mantra-“Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” which inspired the common people of the country to work for the nation. Lal Bahadur Shashtri Ji showed that even amidst the deafening sounds of gunfire and bombardment, there existed an alternative way for every citizen for expressing patriotism. During the freedom movement, Mahatma Gandhi also used to mount highly successful experiments to divert the strong energy of that movement towards constructive social work, whenever a lull was needed amidst the extreme intensity in that movement. Now, if all of us, that is, our armed forces, people in the government, fulfill our respective responsibilities sincerely, and all of us countrymen, each citizen make some constructive contribution imbued with the feeling of patriotism, our country will most definitely scale greater heights.
My dear countrymen, Shri T.S. Kartik has written on NarendraModiApp that our athletes who participated in the Paralympics have created a new history and their performance is a triumph of the human spirit. Shri Varun Vishwanathan has also written on NarendraModiApp that our athletes did a commendable job and that I should talk about this in ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Not only the two of you but each one of our countrymen has felt an emotional attachment with our athletes who participated at the Paralympics. Perhaps going beyond sporting achievements, these Paralympics and the performance by our athletes have transformed our attitude towards humanity, towards specially-abled, DIVYANG people. And, I shall never be able to forget what our victorious sister Deepa Malik had to say. When the medal was awarded to her, she said – “Through this medal I have actually defeated the disability itself.” There is great strength in this remark. This time 19 athletes, including three women, took part in Paralympics from our country. Compared to normal sporting activities, when the DIVYANG play, in addition to physical ability and sporting skills, what are needed even more are will power and resolve.
You will be pleasantly surprised to learn that our sportspersons put up their best ever performance this time and won 4 medals including two gold, one silver and one bronze. Brother Devendra Jhajharia won the gold medal in Javelin throw and repeated his gold winning performance after 12 years. One gets older over a period of 12 years and after having won the gold medal once, the passion for the same is also somewhat reduced. Yet, Devendra displayed that physical condition and increasing age could not dent his strong determination and he successfully claimed his second gold medal after a gap of 12 years. And, he was not born a DIVYANG. He lost one of his hands due to suffering electric current shock. Just think about the perseverance and the huge effort put in by him in repeating the feat of winning a second gold medal at 35 years of age 12 years after winning the first one at 23. Mariyappan Thangavelu won a gold medal in High Jump. Thangavelu had lost his right leg when he was just 5. Even poverty could not come in the way of his resolve. He is not from a big city, he does not come from a middle class or rich family. Yet despite facing all sorts of difficulties and physical challenges, at the age of 21, through his unwavering determination he won the medal for the country. As far as Athlete Deepa Malik is concerned, she has won laurels many a times by emerging victorious repeatedly.
Varun C. Bhati won a bronze medal in High Jump. Medals in Paralympics have a significance of their own, but going beyond that these medals have made a very big contribution in transforming the attitude towards our DIVYANG brothers and sisters in our country, our society and our neighborhoods. These have not only inspired our empathy but also changed the way of looking at the DIVYANG people. Only very few people might be knowing as to what stupendous feats were performed by these DIVYANG people in the Paralympics this time. Olympic Games were held at the same venue only a few days ago. Can anyone ever imagine the DIVYANG athletes breaking a record set during the general Olympic Games? It happened this time. In the 1500 meter race, Abdellatif Baka of Algeria set a new record by completing the 1500 meters race taking 1.7 seconds less than the time taken by the gold medalist in the same event at the general Olympics. Not only this, what really surprised me was the fact that the athlete, who finished fourth in this event amongst DIVYANG persons and thus missed winning any medal, actually took less time than the gold medalist of general category in completing the race. I once again congratulate all our Paralympic athletes and India is progressing in the direction of preparing an effective plan for developing our athletes and also the facilities for the Paralympics.
My dear countrymen, last week I had many wonderful experiences in Navsari, Gujarat. It was a very emotional moment for me. Government of India had organized a Mega Camp for DIVYANG persons and a number of world records were established that day. A visually challenged little girl child Gauri Shardul, hailing from far flung forest area in the Dang District, can recite the complete Ramayana epic as she has learnt it by heart. She rendered certain portions before me and when I presented her performance before other persons there, everyone was amazed. I got an opportunity to publicly release a book that day wherein success stories from the lives of some DIVYANG persons had been compiled. These were very inspiring incidents. Government of India created a world record in Navsari which I believe to be very important. The task of fitting hearing aids to 600 hearing impaired DIVYANG people in just eight hours was completed successfully. This deed found a mention in Guinness Book of World Records. Three world records in a single day by DIVYANG people is a matter of great pride for our countrymen.
My dear countrymen, we had launched ‘Swachha Bharat Mission’ two years ago on 2nd October, the birth anniversary of our revered Bapu. That day too I had said that cleanliness should become our nature, a duty for every citizen and there should be an atmosphere harbouring a sense of revulsion against filth. Now it is going to be nearly two years on 2nd October and I can confidently say that one hundred and twenty five crore people of the country have now become more aware about cleanliness. I had said ‘one step towards cleanliness’ and today we can say that each one of us has definitely tried to take one step further. This means that the country has taken 125 crore steps in the direction of achieving cleanliness. This affirms that the direction we have taken is correct and also fruits of the action are very sweet. It has also been seen as to how much can be achieved through making small efforts. Everyone, be it a common citizen, an administrator, in Government offices or roads, bus stops or railways, schools or colleges, religious places, hospitals, from children to old persons, rural poor, farming women- everyone is contributing something in achieving cleanliness. Friends in the media have also played a constructive role. I also know that we still have to go much farther. Yet, the beginning has been good so far. Whole-hearted efforts have been made and a conviction has now set in that we shall indeed succeed. This conviction is important. If we talk of rural India, so far 2 crore 48 lakh or say about two and a half crore toilets have been constructed and we intend to build another one and a half crore toilets in the coming one year. From the point of view of sanitation and keeping in mind the dignity of our citizens, especially the dignity of our mothers and sisters, it is necessary to put an end to the habit of defecating in the open. And, with this in view ‘Open Defecation Free’ or ODF Campaign has been launched. A healthy competition towards achieving liberation from the habit of defecating in open has started at the levels of states, districts and the villages. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala will achieve very soon cent percent ODF targets. I visited Gujarat recently and the officers there informed me that Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, will achieve the target of total ODF on 2nd October, 2016. My congratulations to those who have made it possible, and best wishes to those who are trying to reach the target. I appeal to all of my countrymen that to maintain the dignity of our mothers and sisters and for the sake of health of our children, our country needs to get rid of this scourge. Let us forge ahead with a strong resolution. I specially want to suggest a scheme to my young friends who are currently technology savvy. Every citizen has a right to know about the status of the cleanliness mission in his city and the Government of India has provided a dedicated telephone number – 1969 for this purpose. We know that Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869. In 1969, we celebrated his birth centenary and in 2019 we are going to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. By dialing this number 1-9-6-9 you will be able to know the progress of construction of toilets in your city and will also be able to submit an application for construction of a toilet. You must avail this facility. Not only this, a cleanliness, that is Swachchhata App has been launched for people to lodge complaints concerning cleanliness and also to know about the progress in resolving these complaints. Please make full use of this facility; especially the younger generation must utilize it optimally. Government of India has also appealed to the corporate world to come forward in this endeavour. They can sponsor young professionals willing to work for Swachchhata Mission. They can also be sent to various districts as Swachchha Bharat Fellows.
It will not be sufficient to keep this Cleanliness Campaign confined to beliefs and habits. Imbibing cleanliness as a nature is not enough. In this age, just as cleanliness is related to health, connecting cleanliness to a revenue model is also equally necessary. Waste to wealth should also be one of its components. It is, therefore, imperative that we need to move towards ‘Waste to Compost’ along with the Cleanliness Mission. Solid waste should be processed and be converted into Compost and the government has initiated a policy intervention in this regard. Fertilizer companies have been asked to buy the Compost made out of waste. They should supply this to the farmers who are willing to adopt organic farming. This should also be supplied to those farmers who care about the health of their soil and are willing to improve its quality and also to those farmers whose soil quality has deteriorated because of over use of chemical fertilizers. And for this, Shrimaan Amitabh Bachchan Ji is making a significant contribution as a brand ambassador. I invite youngsters to set up new ‘start ups’ also in this ‘Waste to Wealth’ movement to develop the means and processes, to develop the suitable technology and accomplish mass production at an affordable cost. This is a task worth doing. There is also a big scope of employment generation and an opportunity for tremendous economic activity and wealth creation from waste is achievable. This year a special programme ‘INDOSAN’ – India Sanitation Conference is being organized from 25th September to 2nd October. Ministers, Chief Ministers as also Mayors and Commissioners of metropolitan cities will participate in brainstorming sessions on the sole issue of cleanliness. What can be achieved with technology? What can be the financial model? How to mobilize public participation? How can employment opportunities be increased in this sphere? All these topics will be discussed. And I see clearly that the news about cleanliness keeps pouring in. I recently read in a newspaper that students of Gujarat Technological University launched a Jagran Abhiyan (Awereness Campaign) to build toilets in 107 villages. They themselves put in physical labour and contributed significantly in constructing around 9000 toilets. It might have come to your notice some time ago that under the leadership of Wing Commander Param Veer Singh, a team covered a distance of 2800 kilometres by swimming in Ganga from Dev Prayag to Ganga Sagar to spread the message of cleanliness. Government of India has also chalked out an annual calendar for its departments. Each department is to focus exclusively on cleanliness for a period of 15 days. In the coming October month, from 1st October to 15th October, Drinking Water and Sanitation Department, Panchayati Raj Department and Rural Development Department – these three are going to work under a designated roadmap in their respective areas. Then during last two weeks of October from 16th October to 31st October, three more departments, namely – Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Food Processing Industries and Consumer Affairs are going to take up cleanliness campaigns in the concerned areas. I request the citizens also to get involved, wherever they feel that they too can pitch in these programmes. You might have seen that a cleanliness survey campaign is also carried out these days. Earlier, the cleanliness status was presented before the countrymen after conducting a survey of 73 cities. Now, this survey will be conducted in about 500 cities with a population of more than 1 lakh. Each city will imbibe a sense of confidence that, well, we have lagged behind but we will surely perform better next time. In this manner an atmosphere of competition for cleanliness has been created. I expect that all of us citizens should contribute as much as we can in the cleanliness mission. 2nd October is the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri Ji. Swachchh Bharat Mission is completing two years on this day. I keep on urging everyone to buy some khadi items between Gandhi Jayanti to Diwali. This year also I request that each family should buy one or the other khadi item so that the poor may also be able to light an earthen lamp and celebrate Diwali. This year 2nd October is a Sunday so can we involve ourselves in the cleanliness mission in some way? You involve yourself physically for 2 hours, 4 hours with cleaning work and I request you to share your cleanliness drive photo on NarendraModiApp. If it is a video, then share the video. You will see that with our joint efforts, this movement will get a fresh boost, a new dynamism. Let us all remember Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri and take a pledge to do something for the country.
My dear countrymen, one gets a special pleasure in giving, one may not realize it, but the pleasure of giving is divine. I witnessed it some time back when I asked the countrymen to give up their cooking gas subsidy and they responded whole-heartedly. This in itself was a very inspirational event in India’s national life. Now, many youngsters, small groups, people from the corporate world, schools and some NGOs are jointly going to organize ‘Joy of Giving Week’ from 2nd October to 8th October. Under this campaign, food items and clothes will be collected and supplied to the needy persons. When I was in Gujarat, all our workers used to walk the streets seeking donations of old toys from families and then presented these toys to Anganwadis in poor neighbourhoods. These toys provided great pleasure to the poor children, which was a great sight to behold. I feel that we should encourage and help these young people who are organising ‘Joy of Giving Week’ in many cities. This is a kind of a ‘Donation Festival’, a Daan Utsav. I convey my best wishes to all those young persons who are undertaking this mission.
My dear countrymen, today is 25th September, the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Ji and his birth centenary year commences from today. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay undertook the tremendous task of defining and elaborating upon the political ideology being followed by lakhs and lakhs of workers like me. He was a supporter of a political ideology connected with the roots of India, he presented his own soul stirring political philosophy, the EKAATM-MAANAV DARSHAN alongside the ideology to uphold India’s great cultural heritage. The centenary year of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay is commencing from today. ‘Sarvajan Hitay – Sarvajan Sukhay’, the principle of ANTYODAY - these are his gifts to us. Mahatma Gandhi also talked about the last man standing in the queue. How can the poorest of the poor avail of benefits of development? ‘Work for every hand, water to every field’ – through only these two words he presented his entire economic agenda. The country should celebrate his centenary year as GARIB KALYAN VARSH, ‘Year for Welfare of the Poor’. We can alleviate poverty when everyone including society and governments focuses attention on measures to provide benefits of development to the poor. The place where I live was known as Race Course Road since British rule but now in the centenary year of Pandit Deen Dayal Updhyay this has been named ‘Lok Kalyan Marg’. This is a symbolic representation of the ‘Year for the Welfare of the Poor’, the centenary year of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay. I respectfully pay my homage to revered Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who has been a source of inspiration to all of us, and an embodiment of our intellectual heritage.
My dear countrymen, I had started ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Vijayadashmi two years ago. My sincere effort was that ‘Mann Ki Baat’ should not become a programme of praising and highlighting only government’s achievements; Mann Ki Baat should not become a programme of political oneupmanship, allegations and counter allegations. and sometimes passionate advocacy. Despite numerous pressures during these past two years – sometimes being tempted due the surrounding atmosphere, at times with provocations to say something with indignation - overcoming all such impulses over these two years with your blessings, I have moved through these obstacles and earnestly tried to connect with the common man through Mann Ki Baat. How the common man of this country keeps on inspring me all the time? What are the hopes and aspirations of the common man in the country? And this common man, who occupies my mind all the time, always gets projected in Mann Ki Baat. For our countrymen, Mann Ki Baat may be a source of information. For me, Mann Ki Baat has been the means to feel the strength of my 1.25 billion countrymen, to recall their great capabilities and power and to draw inspiration from the same for my own endeavours and initiatives. On completion of two years of Mann Ki Baat this week, I wish to express my sincere gratitude from the core of my heart to all you listeners who appreciated it, who contributed to improving it and thus blessed me. I am grateful to All India Radio also which not only broadcast my views but also put in their best efforts to transmit it in all languages. I am also thankful to those countrymen who knocked on the doors of the government by writing letters and by sending in suggestions and highlighting shortcomings of the government and All India Radio mounted special programmes on these letters by inviting concerned government functionaries and thus provided a platform to address the problems. Thus, Mann Ki Baat became a new opportunity of social transformation rather than just remaining a mere talk show of 15-20 minutes. What can be more satisfying than this for any one? And therefore, I thank everyone and express my gratitude to all who contributed in making it a successful programme.
My dear countrymen, from next week festive season will be ushered in with Navratri and Durga Puja, Vijayadashmi, preparations for Deepavali and all such activities. This is an occasion for praying to SHAKTI, Unity in society is the power or SHAKTI of the country. Be it Navratri or Durga Puja – how can this SHAKTI-UPASANA become the festival of celebrating social unity? How to make it a festival of social bonding? And that would be the true prayer to Shakti, only then can we celebrate together the festival of victory. Let us bow before Shakti, nurture it, march forward with the mantra of unity. Come, let us celebrate Navratri and Durga Puja festivals with peace, unity and harmony to enable our nation to scale newer heights. Let us celebrate victory on Vijayadashmi.
Thank you very much.