Mann Ki Baat : Touching the Chord with aDifference
Prof Rajvir Sharma
The programme—Mann ki Baat completes three years of its life. It gives us an occasion to look back to know the purpose it was started with and the extent to which that purpose is achieved. Prime Minister Modi began this initiative to be in touch with the people of India continually to interact and share his views with them. It was also conceived perhaps to usher in a new strategy to change the ways of looking at the matters, problems and opportunities differently than how we looked at them in the past. In fact it may be taken as a new initiative for change with the use of psycho- social-cultural and spiritual tools. Though it requires efforts of a research scholar to collect all the contents of Mann ki Baat held 36 times so far and engage in content analysis, but it can be asserted that Modi has undeniably tried to activate the heart and soul of every Indian, specially the youth. In other words he has been trying to bring out the human side of a man and arouse the sense of nar seva, narayan seva at every level of the community from city to the village with exhortation to millions of them to think and act accordingly.
Reshaping the Social Fabric
Spritualising the solutions to poverty, hunger and other social challenges, he thinks, can go a long way in reconstructing a new society, a new economy and a new India finally. Such a behavioural change, in his opinion, can bring a sea change in the socio-economic arena of the country. He is trying to remind the nation of its cultural and spiritual heritage wherein helping the helpless and sharing the blessings of God in the form of richness of resources and capabilities with anyone for the welfare of the mankind is the greatest act of worship. He knows the impact of such exhortations may not be quick and hundred per cent, but if that could change the behaviours of even a friction of India’s people, it can serve as a model for reshaping the social fabric of India. Not long ago, and in some parts of rural India even now, the gifted sections of the village people used to pool their resources, singularly and collectively both, to share the expenditure of the marriage of the daughter of a poor villager, specially
belonging to the lower strata of the society. Modernism and modernisation has affected that relationship quite adversely. Modernisation has come to mean individualism in all respects from market to home. A visible shift from WE to ME in thought and action gave rise to selfishness, crime, greed, corruption and decline in the overall value system established and nurtured so well by our ancestors. It is for this reason; one may think that many a time the Prime Minister insists on humanising the society and polity of the nation.
Modi has referred to his Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao campaign many times in his Mann ki Baat in order to appeal to the conscience of the nation and establish the need for gender justice and for removal of gender
discrimination in the centre of the social psyche if India wants not merely to claim its old heritage to value and
honour woman where the place of worship of woman was considered the place of deities along with many other such references available in the scriptures of India. He is certain that democracy will not move away from its formal character to be substantive one without the empowered and dignified life of women and the weak. Peace and progress are envisioned by him as integral to ensuring equal and just environment for the women of India.
Vision of Strong India
The episode that encouraged me to write this piece was the Mann ki Baat broadcast on September 24. Without going into the details of the entire address, it is to recall two of the components of his address. One, he referred to the valiant Veerangnas-Nidhi and Sweta, if remembered correctly, who after the martyrdom of their husbands in the fight against terror, decided to join Army and serve the nation to redeem the dreams that their
husbands saw. He gave two messages to the nation at the same time. One that women are no where behind in the spirit of sacrificing for the nation and two that woman of India are capable of undertaking any responsibility including the hard ones as of the Army. In fact, these examples were there not to inspire any one section, but the whole of the nation,
specially the youth of the country to engage themselves in whatever field of activity they are to keep the nation first.
The second most important aspect of the talk of the Prime Minister was his frank views on social and national unity when he said Anekta Mein Ekta should not be a ritualistic exercise with the leaders-social, political, cultural or others. He was right in saying that vividhta mein ekta (unity in diversity) should not become a mere tool to gain power or to retain it, it should become an integral part of our daily life. Prime Minister was emphatic in clarifying what he meant. He explained that one should go to different parts of India not for the sake of change or entertainment only but to understand the geographical, social, cultural and economic characteristics of the people over there. Go there as a student and not just as a tourist, he appealed to feel the diversity, experience the anekta and appreciate and document that diversity. Share your learning and knowledge with others when back home the qualities of the blossoming garden that is India. In the end, he said vividhta mein ekta should come of its political avtar but make that a part of life to make one India, strong India and peaceful and developed India.
To conclude, Modi is the Prime Minister with a difference even at the risk of being termed as Bhakta by the Modi baiters.
(The writer is Senior Consultant, IGNOU)