Mann Ki Baat’s 100th episode serves up education and culture, with a side of nostalgia

The programme was his way to keep connecting with the common man after leaving Gujarat for New Delhi on becoming PM in 2014, Mr. Modi said, in the episode aired at UN HQ, women’s prisons and U.P. madrassas.

Updated - April 30, 2023 08:01 pm IST

Published - April 30, 2023 11:21 am IST

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi on April 30, 2023, addressed the nation for the 100th episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ today.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi on April 30, 2023, addressed the nation for the 100th episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ today. | Photo Credit: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a historic 100th episode of the Mann Ki Baat radio programme on Sunday, in which he said that the preservation and promotion of education and culture have been an ancient tradition of India, adding that the country was working towards that through various means like the National Education Policy and the option of studying in regional languages.

The special radio programme was telecast live at the UN Headquarters in New York and across all Raj Bhavans in the country. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised four lakh venues for people to hear the programme. Union Home Minister Amit Shah heard the special episode at a function in Vile Parle in Mumbai, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar joined members of the Indian community in New Jersey to listen to the programme.

The first episode of Mann Ki Baat was aired on October 3 in 2014.

Connecting with people

The Prime Minister said that just like the occasion of Vijay Dashami — the festival of Dusshera — when it was first aired, Mann Ki Baat had become a festival of goodness and positivity. He added that the radio programme was his way of connecting with the people of the country since he came to Delhi as PM in 2014.

When he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had many opportunities to meet and interact with the common people there, Mr. Modi said. But after coming to Delhi in 2014, he found that the nature of work was different. “…the responsibility is different, one is bound by circumstances, the rigours of security and time limits,” the PM said.

“In the initial days, something felt different, there was an emptiness. Fifty years ago, I did not leave my home just to find one day it would be difficult to contact the people of my own country. The very countrymen who are my everything... I could not live separated from them. Mann Ki Baat gave me a solution to this challenge, a way to connect with the common man,” he reminisced.

Education, culture focus

In Mann Ki Baat, people from every corner of the country, people of all age groups joined in, whether it was about the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign or the Swachh Bharat movement, love for khadi or for nature, Mr. Modi said. He recalled the special episode with U.S. President Barack Obama, which he said was discussed all over the world.

On the special 100th episode on Sunday, UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay was the special guest. She wanted to know how India planned to ensure quality education for all its people by 2030, now that it was the world’s most populous country, and how it intended to put education and culture at the top of its agenda.

Replying to her question, the Prime Minister said: “Whether it is about education or culture, whether it is about its preservation or promotion, this has been an ancient tradition of India. The work that the country is doing in this direction today is really commendable. Be it the National Education Policy or the option of studying in a regional language, or technology integration in education, you will notice many such efforts.”

Unsung heroes

Mr. Modi cited the efforts made by his government to check dropout rates, as well as some initiatives by individuals who have contributed to teaching those in need. In a year when India was presiding over the G-20, its resolve to enrich diverse global cultures along with education has become stronger, he added.

Walking down memory lane, the Prime Minister said that the people who have been mentioned in Mann Ki Baat over the years have been the heroes who made the programme come alive. He spoke to four of them on the 100th episode: Pradeep Sangawan, who ran a campaign to clean the mountains; Vijayshanti Devi from Manipur, who makes clothes from lotus fibres; Manzoor Ahmed, who makes pencil slates in Jammu and Kashmir; and Sunil Jaglan of Haryana, who had launched the Selfie with Daughter campaign.

The government made elaborate arrangements to mark the milestone, with the Culture Ministry deciding to bring out a series of Amar Chitra Katha comic books on the people mentioned in the radio programme. Special projection mapping shows were held at iconic heritage sites like the Red Fort in Delhi and the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Also in Mumbai, arrangements were made for a special broadcast for the famous dabbawalas (tiffin carriers) and at women’s prisons. In Uttar Pradesh, the radio programme was aired in more than 300 madrassas, a local BJP leader said.

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