From Rio to Kashmir: PM Modi's Mann ki Baat touches base with what ails India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 23rd Mann Ki Baat address on Sunday, spoke to the nation on various issues from India's performance in Rio Olympics 2016 to Kashmir and India's foreign relations with its neighbours, without mentioning anyone (read Pakistan).

At the start of his address, Modi started by commenting on the sheer number of requests he had received on the Narendra Modi app to take up development of sports in his monthly address. He payed tributes to the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand and said that he was a live example of “sportsman spirit and patriotism”.

“Tomorrow (Monday) August 29 is legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand's birth anniversary which is celebrated as national sports day. I pay him tributes and want you all to remember his contribution,” Modi said in his radio address.

“Major Dhyan Chad was a live example of true sportsman spirit and patriotism. He helped India in securing gold medals in Hockey in three olympic games in 1928, 1932 and 1936,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that great players other games like Cricket used to praise Dhyan Chand for his legendary games.

“Great cricket player Don Bradman had said that Dhyan Chand scores goals like runs,” Modi added.

Modi also congratulated the Indian sportsmen for their performance in the Olympics.

He hailed the girl power as he referred to medal winners — shuttler P V Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi. He also hailed gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who missed a medal by a narrow margin.

But the Prime Minister also pointed out that although India's daughters have made it proud, our overall performance lacked at many fronts. Modi said that the Indian sportsmen could not even achieve their national bests at the global state, adding that it needs to assessed and improved upon. Reiterating the importance of sports, he urged the state governments should also form panels to develop sports at the grassroots level.

In this context, he referred to his recent announcement to form a Task Force under which the government will "go deep" into the subject, study the best practices in the world and prepare a roadmap for the next three Olympic Games in 2020, 2024 and 2028.

Modi also talked about the Ganesha festival and Durga Puja and said how many citizens have flagged environmental concerns on the celebration of these festivals. Modi appealed to the people to go back to the clay idols. He said that an "eco-friendly" Ganesha festival is also a form of social service.

Modi also payed rich tributes to the former Indian president Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, whose birth anniversary is celebrated as Teacher's Day in the country.

The Prime Minister also encouraged the students to share selfies with their teachers on the Narendra Modi app. He also suggested that children should share inspiring stories about their teachers on the app.

The Prime Minister also focused on the Kashmir crisis in his monthly interaction with the citizens.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said "Ekta" (unity) and "Mamata" (love) are the basic mantras for addressing the Kashmir problem even as he slammed those pushing children to create unrest, saying they will have to give answers to those "innocent" kids some day.

He emphasised that if any life is lost in Kashmir, whether of any youth or any securityman, "that loss is ours, of our own country". Speaking on the unrest in the valley in his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', Modi said, "From the interactions I had with all parties on Kashmir, one thing emerged from those, which can be put in simple words as 'Ekta' and 'Mamata'. These two things were the basic mantra."

He said all the political parties had spoken in one voice on Kashmir, sending out a "message to the world as well as separatist forces" besides conveying "our sentiments to the people of Kashmir".

He equated it to the passage of landmark GST Bill by Parliament for which all the parties came together. "It is the view of all of us, the view of 125 crore people from a pradhan of a village to the Prime Minister, that if any life is lost in Kashmir, whether of any youth or any securityman, that loss is ours, our own country," Modi said.

At the same time, he slammed "those people who push small children to try to create unrest in Kashmir", saying "some day, they will have to give answers to these innocent children".

The Prime Minister's remarks came a day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief MInister Mehbooba Mufti met him and presented a "three-pronged action plan" that includes dialogue with all stakeholders.

"This country is very big, full of diversities. To keep it united, it is the responsibility of all of us, as individual citizens, as a society and as a government, to strengthen the unity as much as we can, highlight it as much as we can. Only then can the nation achieve its bright future. I have confidence in the power of 125 crore people of the country," Modi said.

During the 35-minute programme, the Prime Minister also spoke about the upcoming event to grant sainthood to Mother Teresa on September 4 which will be attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

He also talked about teacher-student relationship in the context of upcoming Teacher's Day on 5 September, efforts to clean river Ganga, Swacch Bharat abhiyan, eco-friendly Ganesh 'visarjan' and the recent launch of Akashvani Maitri under which content will be shared in Bengali by West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Modi also made a mention of an 84-year-old retired woman teacher, who had written to him, mentioning about her giving up LPG subsidy and donating Rs 50,000 for women who still use firewood. He talked about floods in various parts of the country and said efforts are being made by local authorities as well as the central government to provide help to the victims.

In the context of Teacher's Day, he showered praise on P Gopichand, a renowned badminton player and coach of P V Sindhu, saying he is a shining example of a good teacher who gets deeply involved in his pupil's performance. He said he would not be able to participate in Teacher's Day events this year as he would be travelling for G-20 Summit in China.

With inputs from IANS and PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 28, 2016 15:18:42 IST

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