‘Nation That is Fit Is Nation That is Hit’: PM’s Feb Mann Ki Baat

Modi gave various examples of Indians who faced challenges head-on and broke barriers in order to succeed.

4 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing people on his radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. (File photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, 23 February, held his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat,' discussing a wide range of topics from Indian traditional crafts, achievements by inspirational citizens to the importance of staying fit and always being open to learning.

The prime minister began by talking the ongoing 'Hunar Haat' exhibition being held at the India Gate lawns. Expressing how celebrating the diversity and culture of India fills him with joy, he spoke about the wide range of crafts, food items and art he experienced at the 10-day long exhibit.

He added how, with over half the craftspeople being female, the exhibit was allowing even those who were disadvantaged to be self-dependent. Giving wings to the dreams of the people, he said, was something we should all support, and urged the citizens to visit the exhibition.

COP Convention in India

The appreciation of nature was a key part of the prime minister's address, and he spoke about how migratory birds, from over 500 species and regions, fly to India during the season. Gandhinagar recently hosted the COP Convention of the UNFCCC, and the PM said that it was a matter of national pride that for next 3 years India would host the meet, and invited citizens to send suggestions bout the matters discussed.

Modi spoke about a new species of fish recently discovered in Meghalaya, that lives only in underground caves there and is the biggest species to live thus without light.

Flummoxing scientists with their existence, the fish were just an example to prove that what we know is little, and the unexplored is so much. He emphasised on the importance of protecting and appreciating the nation’s biodiversity, and to both respect as well as learn more about the natural world.

India's Technological Advancements

A large part of the address was dedicated to talking about the scientific and technological progress of India. The PM highlighted how interest in such topics was on the rise, especially among the youth. He narrated an anecdote of how at the launch of Chandrayaan 2 in Bangalore, he saw enthusiasm in kids about the universe and space research. People at Sriharikota can now watch rocket launches live, with the construction of a digital gallery.

Expanding on the topic of India's advancements, Modi spoke about the historic flight of an AN-32 jet from Leh's Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, one of the highest in the world. The flight used 10 percent Indian bio-jet fuel, making it the first time that it was used in both engines. The fuel is made from non-edible, tree borne oils, bought from tribal areas -thus reducing carbon emissions and also cutting India's crude oil dependence.

Women Empowerment, Fitness and Education

Modi presented various examples of inspirational women who have faced challenges head-on and have broken barriers in order to succeed. One such example was of women from Bihar's Purnia village, who organised themselves into a collective, and now sell sarees made of silk, from the silkworms they rear on mulberry trees.

Other examples of girls breaking old barriers and reaching new heights, is that of 12-year-old Kaamya Karthikeyan, who became the youngest girl to climb Mt Aconcagua, the tallest peak of South America.

Kaamya is now on 'Mission Saahas,' where she will climb the top peak of each continent, and Modi wished her good luck on her endeavour.

He used Kaamya's story to emphasise the importance of fitness, saying that "a nation that is fit is a nation that is hit." India's diverse topography, he added, made it a prime spot for adventure sports in India, something that we should all add to our lives.

Modi also spoke of 105-year-old Bhagirathi Ammam who had to leave school at a young age as she faced various hardships. At the age of 105, she rejoined school, and has done very well in her examinations, becoming a source of inspiration to all.

Modi said that education was imperative, and to progress in life, we need to keep the student within us alive.

Inspiring Stories From Across India

Continuing his narration of inspiring examples from across India, Modi spoke about Salman from Muradabad, who, despite being specially abled, started his own business of manufacturing slippers, and thus helped others walk despite not being able to do that himself. He also gave training to other specially abled people, thus giving them a livelihood of their own, and has now promised to himself to provide jobs to at least 100 more people like him.

Modi also spoke about how in Gujarat's Kutch region, in Ajrak village, many people left after the 2001 earthquake. But Ismail Khatri stayed, and decided to preserve the traditional Ajrak craft, and slowly the entire village joined to keep the art form alive and spread it.

Combining the old craft with modern inputs, the craftspeople have now made Ajrak print a big brand.

Modi concluded by sending his wishes to the citizens of India on the various upcoming festivals, and bid farewell, until the next episode of Mann Ki Baat.

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