Shri Narendra Modi's speech at Sadbhavana Mission at Godhra

Published By : Admin | January 20, 2012 | 20:11 IST

Place: Godhra

Bharat Mata ki Jai! All those who are present on the stage - the State President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr. RC Faldu ji, fellow Cabinet of Ministers, Members of Parliament, Officer Bearers of the Party, Tehsil Panchayat and Zila Parishad, all the members of the Municipal Council and all my dear brothers and sisters of Panchmahal district who have gathered here since morning in thousands! I wanted to give this speech in Gujarati. But since morning; in fact since last night itself, our friends from the media have requested otherwise.. Hence, since I promised them that I’d take care of the situation; they needn’t worry and since they have made this request to me, I have agreed to talk to you in Hindi. My brothers and sisters of Panchmahal District, it’s not difficult for us to understand Hindi. Hence, I am convinced that the message that I want to give you will certainly reach you.

Brothers and sisters, one thing is certain that today the identity of Gujarat in the whole country is very clear to the whole world. The country and the world don’t have any confusion about it. All over India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat is being discussed in one voice. And that voice, that expression, that faith is that of development. Everywhere, there is no dispute about the issue of the development of Gujarat.Gujarat’s claims about the issues related to development have been proven correct on the ground. Gujarat has never claimed about anything more than that. And brothers and sisters, for the first time, in our country, the issue of development is in the centre of discussion. Whether one doesn’t accept this or not; everyone may have some reason for that, everyone may have some compulsions, everyone may have their own agendas, but it may be possible that they don’t have the capacity to accept this truth today.But people will have to accept that it is the 6 crores of people of Gujarat who have forced all the governments of Indian states to discuss the issue of development.There used to be elections even earlier. But earlier, when there used to be elections, they used to be held on the basis of promises. Those who were in power used to make new promises; those who wanted to come in power also used to show new dreams and make new promises to the people.  What was accomplished, how much welfare work was done; no discussion was done on this issue. They used to talk about what they were going to do. Gujarat government has made this environment in the whole country where we will have to give an account of the past work done to the people and the people will elect only these people who are working for the welfare of the people and who have a proven record of working for the people. We have created this situation and we are proud of the fact that we have made development the agenda in India. Everyone has to follow this trend.

Other people have this modus operandi according to which they throw crumbs. If they need 250 votes out of a thousand in order to win election in an area, they take care of only 250 people. They throw some crumbs, make a vote bank of these people and serve their purpose. They are not bothered about what will happen to the remaining 750 people. The entire political game revolves around the equation of vote bank. Development work has also been done only to strengthen their vote bank electorate. If a road has to be constructed, it is constructed only in a village from where they are likely to get votes. Otherwise, the village has to stay without a road for forty years.Everything has been linked to the vote bank and to the election. The result is that the vote bank has flourished, but the country has not flourished.Some handfuls of people have done well, but the common people have not done well. This country has seen this misfortune. Gujarat has given to this country the system where we have finished the politics of throwing crumbs. The activity of serving one’s own interests by enticing and misleading people has been terminated in Gujarat. We have given the priority to the development on ground level.

My old friends from the media who are present here may be aware what the notion of development was earlier. I remember, when I had newly entered political life, famine used to be the common phenomenon in Gujarat. Wherever we toured, people used to come and give us memorandum. They used to give us a letter of demands. And what they used to demand? They used to say that since there was a possibility of famine, there should be relief work in their area too. They should get a job of labourers so that they could survive. They used to have this demand. If a village was more aware, it used to demand that if digging had to take place, then at least the soil should be spread over the footpath in the village, so that they could walk easily to catch the bus. They used to ask for a dirt-track to be built. People didn’t know what development meant. And the governments also regarded building a dirt-track a work of development. The relief-work done during famine and making roads out of that was regarded as great accomplishment. Brothers and sisters, now within last 15 years a great change has taken place. How the situation has changed. Today, people from tribal areas come to meet me. When they come, they say, “Modiji, we want to do some road work.” I tell them that I am touring all the time and I know they have a concrete road in their village. They say that they have a concrete road, but it is good for only single traffic. They want a double-traffic road. In some places they say they have a double-traffic road, but now the times have changed and they want a paved road. Today, the Adivasi farmer from Gujarat demands a paved road;this is the model of development. This is an example of how the development takes place, how it change the conditions.

I had gone to a district in this Sadbhavana mission. There, some people from the Banjara community came to see me. They offered me a plastic toy JCB. I asked them why they had brought it. They said they had brought it after considering thoughtfully. I asked them how. They said they used to keep donkeys earlier and they used to carry soil on donkeys. But after the coming of my government, they don’t keep donkeys now, but they keep JCB. They had come to gift me this symbol of their progress.

Friends, there was a time when the people of Dahod and Godhra used to migrate to the towns immediately after the rains stopped, without waiting for Diwali.In order to ensure that your vehicle stayed fit and you get a proper road to drive on, my tribal brother used to stand in the heat of 45 degrees and work as labours to make tarred road and the rich people of the city used to drive their vehicles on it. Today if you go to Panchmahal, you won’t find a labourer to work on the road. If you ask, he says he is a contractor now. Earlier he used to work as a labourer, but now he takes contracts. If you are willing to give him a contract, he can come. Now the days of manual labour have gone. We have proven the model of development.

There was a time when someone asked for water, there was an arrangement to send a tanker in Gujarat. Common people used to ask for water every year. As soon as January-February came, here would be a scarcity of water and immediately all government officials and political leaders used to plan about sending tankers. Their relatives used to take loans from the banks and buy tankers. They used to get work from the government. Water supply used to be partial. Some tankers used to be bought. But bills used to bepaid for all water and tankers. This was the business going on then. When you gave me the responsibility of this land of Gujarat, there were 4000 villages in Gujarat where water was supplied through tankers. There were about 30% villages in this state, where water was supplied through tankers. And supplying water through tanker meant that there was a big game of corruption being played here. And they were pleased with this. If twice a week water was supplied through tankers, they told the people that the government was working a lot for them. This was their model for development. If someone demanded water more strongly, they would dig hand pump. Their farthest thinking went up to hand pump. Giving water meant installing a hand pump. They didn’t have a map of development in their mind that went beyond hand pump. They had never thought how the people could get drinking water. Even the condition about hand pump was that if its washer stopped working, in a week the hand pump would stop working. Then, it would take 2 years to get the new washer. People could only see this iron stump outside their house.It was a memorial of their governance. This was the model of development. Brothers and sister, today we have arranged to supply water through pipelines. We have supplied water to all the villages of Gujarat, and do you know how bigthe pipeline is? You can drive a Maruti car inside this pipeline. We have supplied water to the villages of Gujarat with pipelines of this size.

You will be surprised to know – I don’t know if ten years ago our friends in the media reported about this –in 2001, in our tribal belt from Umar Village to Ambaji, amongst the tribal households, there were only 4% villages, where water supply came from the tap. Brothers and sisters, we have made efforts in last ten years to eradicate the problems of last fifty years and we have reached the level of providing tap water in 75% households. In coming times, we will be successful in providing tap water to 100% tribal households. This country is not going to be deluded by people who consider hand pump as a symbol of development. We took development to new heights.

There was a time when at Ankleshwar, Vapi and Valsad, some factories were established. And these people were walking around congratulating themselves about Golden Corridor.If some factories were established on the sides of a fifty kms highway, it was called the Golden Corridor and it was regarded as the development of Gujarat. They were celebrating this. How could Gujarat be called an industrialised state just on the strength of some factories on a 50 kms highway? Friends, today, you may go to any district of Gujarat. We have brought some industry to every district. If you come out of Godhra and go till Baroda, the entire route is filled up with industries. No one had thought that industries could come here in every region, in every district here. We have changed the definition of industrial development.

We want to develop all areas and all sections of the society. Earlier our farmer used to cultivate land. Friends, what was the condition of agriculture? He used to wait for the rainfall. If it rained, the crops came up. He could earn his living. Otherwise, for eight months he used to wait for labour opportunities. Water used to flow into the sea, but it could not be used properly.When it rained, the water used to flow away. We made arrangements for rain water harvesting. We gave importance to water. And what is the result today? I challenge my friends from the Congress, if they have love in their hearts for the farmers, if they want to engage in the welfare of Indian villages, then I invite the Central Government in Delhi to take up the challenge. They are not able to develop the agriculture of India beyond 3%. They can’t deny this truth. We have crossed the level of 11% in agricultural development of Gujarat.

Today I was watching the exhibition here. You too may have seen it. I met the farmers of Sangrampur. They said they were growing
Parwal using modern methods. And it is possible for us to earn 2-5-3 lakhs of rupees in an acre of land. I asked them where they were going to sell so many
Parwals. They know everything. They said their
Parwal would go to Bombay and from there to foreign countries. They are working following the ambition that their
Parwal will be sold in the international market. Friends, things can be change. They didn’t know about this kind of development. They were engaged in playing small games. We generated this great situation.

Brothers and sisters, today when people talk about development, they talk about Gujarat. When they talk about Gujarat, they talk about development i.e., these are two sides of the same coin. Gujarat and development; development and Gujarat are being discussed everywhere. And you may be aware, if you have gone to any part of India. If you have gone to Haridwar, Rishikesh or to meet some relative, if you have gone to attend a marriage party or are travelling in train.If you meet a person from outside Gujarat,if he knows that you are from Gujarat, he will immediately hold your hand firmly and will not leave it, because he thinks he can get some new energy by holding your hand. This happens all over the country. No one can deny this. Friends, if because of some political reasons, someone tries to suppress this truth, then we should ask his soul, in the life of every person present here, if you have met a person from another state, you must have had this experience. I can say this with challenge. This has not happened easily. We have worked very hard for this. For ten years, we have strived very hard for development. We have engaged the entire administration for this single purpose. We have strengthened the power of the society.

Brothers and sisters, we have two very clear pictures before us.There are two very clear political cultures before the country. Thiscountry has to decide which political culture is going to bring welfare to the country and which political culture is destroying the country. One political tendency believes in divide and rule. Make as many fragments of the country as possible. Another political culture believes in unity of all and development for all. This mantra has not emerged in a vacuum. It has emerged from hard work. The reason is that the vote bank politics has destroyed the country. Gujarat has shown to the world the strength of peace, unity and brotherhood. Brothers and sisters, different people evaluate in different ways the reasons behind the new heights of development that we have crossed today. Some people feel that the Chief Minister is good, that’s why there is development. Some people feel this government is good, that is why there is development. Some people feel that the administrative machinery is functioning now, that is why there is development. Some people feel that their BDO is good, that is why good works are being done. Some feel their TDO is good that is why good work is being done. Some people feel their village worker is good, that’s why work is being done. All people see different reasons for this. They see reason in their experiences. But brothers and sisters, I can see more than this from where I am sitting. I have more opportunities to see things in larger perspective. And hence, if anyone deserves the credit for making Gujarat reach great heights of development; it is my 6 crore brothers and sisters of Gujarat. This has been made possible because of you. This has happened because of you. What is that force because of which this has happened?

People will say, if not 6 crore, there were about 5 crore people even earlier, so why didn’t it happen earlier? Your question is legitimate. Why didn’t it happen before? Because earlier, all castes used to fight with all other castes regularly.Someone used to talk about segments and beating and killing other communities. Someone else used to bring another kind of politics and wanted to kill another community. Even amongst the Adivasi brothers and sisters, there were segments based on their differences.They used to create dissensions among them. They used to make castes fight against each other. If a farmer grew crops and the crops were ready for harvest and another caste had some animosity against him, they would go and burn the crops in the night. Sometimes the crop was harvested and stored in the fields to be taken to the market the next day. But before that someone else would come and steal the crops in the night. There were conflicts between castes and villages were divided along caste lines. The poison of casteism was destroying us. On the other hand was the poison of communalism. Gujarat was the place for communal riots. Since 1736, this was the norm. Every other year during the Jagannath Chariot festival there were riots. There were riots during Muharram, during Ganesha festival procession, during flying kites, while riding the bicycle if one hit another person. We used to find opportunities to have riots. This had become the norm in the country. And in Gujarat there was always curfew in force. Godhra also has a history. In 1985 there was curfew for 300 days in this Godhra. It is true that for most of this period, setting aside 40-50 days, the curfew was in force in the night. But it’s not a small matter to have curfew for 300 days. There was curfew for 300 days in this town. Riots were the order of the day. Beating, killing, shedding blood, burning someone’s auto rickshaw or someone’s betel leaf shop, using weapon; this is what used to happen in those days. It was the poor man who died. Thereused to be destruction. Gujarat was in such a state, where when a child was born, s/he didn’t know how to pronounce Mummy or papa, but s/he understood the meaning of curfew. S/he knew how to pronounce curfew. A child who is 10 yrs old today doesn’t even know what curfew is.Those days are gone; there was a time when a child didn’t know his/her own uncles, but s/he knew very well the police uncle.This was because outside the society, the residential area, outside the slums, some or other policeman was always standing with a baton in hand. He used to stand there round the ear and the children knew him as police uncle, but they didn’t know their own uncle. We have seen those days.

Ten years have passed. All these things have vanished from Gujarat.The environment created by unity, peace and brotherhood has generated the force for development.The basis for development is our unity, peace and brotherhood.We experience this. Sometimes when our mother cooks a nice meal at home, we enjoy it. But we are not aware what all effort Mother has made to cook this food. In the same way, we are enjoying the fruits of this development, but we have not thought about the depth of force that went in making this development possible.Through my Sadbhavana fast, I have come here to make you realise your own strength. I have chosen this medium of fast so that you show to the world what you have achieved.This is why I have chosen this route of penance. It is not meant to get something. It is not against anyone. Nor do I waste my energy in working against anyone. I have so much work to do for my 6 crores of people, that even six births would be insufficient for that. I don’t want to waste my time against anyone. My time is for you and I want to use it for your welfare; this is my resolve.

I want to tell the world that I have borne stiff opposition and I don’t care whether anyone supports me or not. And I don’t have any complaints about it. Let problems come my way. We are ready to regenerate ourselves from that heat itself. Today people were blessing me profusely. Someone was blessing me for becoming something; someone was blessing me to do something. I said to everyone that if they wanted to bless me, they should not bless me to become something. They should not bless me to do something. They should bless me that no matter how many injustices I face, my tolerance level should not go down.They should give me this blessing and after that the game is in my hands. My tolerance level will rise as injustices on me will grow. I have emerged from purity; I make God my witness while doing any work. That’s why I have got the strength of tolerating injustices by the blessings of my people. I’ll keep on tolerating injustices and will keep on serving Gujarat with truth and honesty.Friends, I know how problematic my government in Gujarat for those who have enjoyed power for 40-50 years and whose flags flies in Delhi. In any case, if a small child has a toy in his hand, a pen in his pen and if you need to write so you take the pen away from the child, you know how much the child screams in the house. Even a small child creates a scene for two days if you take his pen away from his hand. As compared to this, these people have lost everything. That’s why I can understand their problem. You must have seen a, a lizard. If its tail gets dismembered, it keeps on jumping around. It keeps on jumping for a long time. It doesn’t have any chance to get it back, but it keeps on jumping. So, this jumping around is a normal way of life.

Brothers and sisters, about reaching the heights of development,those who like Gujarat say that they want to be like Gujarat and those who don’t like Gujarat, say that in their work they have surpassed Gujarat.If there is an index for comparison, it is Gujarat. If they want to do good work, they want to copy Gujarat and if they have done well, still they compare with Gujarat and say that they have achieved this.But nowadays, whatever happens in Gujarat, something else happens elsewhere.See, the postal department of the Government of India has brought out an envelope today. It is surprising that the postal department of the Government of India should bring out an envelope on the Sadbhavana Mission.  I don’t know what will happen to these officials, because recently, an IT conference was held. It was an All India Conference and a IT official from the Delhi government was present there.And in goodwill, he spoke some nice words about Gujarat that in IT sector Gujarat has done well. As soon as he reached there, he was transferred. He had committed only one mistake that he had praised Gujarat.

Brothers and sisters, today a special envelope has been brought out by the postal department and they have brought it out on Sadbhavana Mission, on the land of Godhra. If there is a message about peace, unity and brotherhood, this is one example of it. See another example. Recently, an election meeting was held in Punjab. Elections are going on in Punjab. In the election meeting of Punjab, the ex-Chief Minister of Congress and who is leading the election process, Captain Amarinder Singh has publicly given a speech, in Punjab elections, in order to seek votes from the people, the Congress leader has said that if people vote for him, he will take Punjab forward like Gujarat. He has said this. This means that even in Punjab they are thinking about working along the lines of Gujarat model. Friends, this is not only a matter of this place. All over India if the Congress leaders have to say anything to the people, they have to refer to Gujarat. So, what to speak of these people and why I should say anything. If I have to say anything, I have to say it only to my 6 crore people of Gujarat that Sadbhavana is the only path that has taken Gujarat forward and it can take other states also forward. They think that if they imitate Modi, they can manage, if they implement some plan of Modi in their own name, they can manage. It’s possible that to some extent they can reform the situation. But if they want to take their states to great heights of development, then I would like to request these honourable people that they should not only imitate the schemes of Gujarat.They should recognise the force of unity, peace and brotherhood that lies behind the 6 crore people of Gujarat. They should understand how Gujarat has librated itself from the poison of casteism. They should understand how communalism has been buried in Gujarat.And having understood all this, if they are willing to use it in their states, then those states can even surpass Gujarat. If they want to do something, they should do this. This is the remedy, which I want to reveal to the country.Because of this, I have begun this endeavour of fast of Sadbhavana.

Brothers and sisters, I am grateful to the media that they have come here. No matter what he show, what they say, but they will have to show this, I can say this with certainty. This is a penance, which no one can deny. Brothers and sisters, nowadays, whatever swear words exist in the dictionary and whatever swear words exist outside the dictionary, all of them are being used on me. They are calling me names with full strength. Psychologists say that after the anger passes, the mind feels relieved. Some people use swear words and feel relieved. Hence, because of  whatever swear words they are using and whatever peace of mind he experiences, this too is an example of my goodwill. And I request them that if they feel a sense of relief by heaping criticisms at me as much as they like, they should without hesitation keep on swearing at me. Because if some good happens to them and their mind feels relaxed, this too is an achievement for my 6 crore Gujaratis.Because I want to see all 6 crore Gujaratis happy. This is my goodwill for them.

Brothers and sisters, I had said it in my first speech that I make staircase with the stones that are thrown at me and I take Gujarat to great heights through that staircase. The country can’t be run by criticising others. And I request my friends from the Congress, or even you can ask them if you get an opportunity, that if they are going after Modi so much, whythey don’t discuss the schemes of the Indian Government; that would be good. Modi is talking about his plans, they should talk about theirs, but they don’t talk about their plans. For example, they may have built a national highway of 50 kms, or built 10 bridges, or they may have built four new railway tracks, or have built two new airports. But they don’t speak because they have not done anything.

They had made one promise that within a hundred days they would bring the inflation rate down. These people had come to you for votes and had said that if you let them form a government in Delhi, they were going to bring the inflation rate down in a hundred days. Please speak loudly, did they say this? Yes. Did they inflation rate come down? No. Did the inflation rate rise? Yes. They should give an answer for this. People are asking them this question. The poor people can’t light the stove in their house.

Recently, the Prime Minister expressed his anguish. He said that the country’s condition because of lack of nutrition is a matter of embarrassment for us. If he had been a professor and given this statement, we could understand. But he is not a professor, he is a Prime Minister. He should not get away by just giving a statement; he should take the responsibility and suggest the solution for this. Friends, I’m surprised. The Prime Minister of India is seated in such a high position. He is a scholarly person and the most part of his life has been associated with the power structure. He is acknowledged as an economist. How is it that in 2012 he came to know that there is problem of nutrition in the country? Brothers and sisters, I want to talk about how Gujarat thinks. In 2001 a Census was conducted. In 2004 its full report came out. When I read the full report in 2004, my attention was drawn towards the aspect of malnutrition. I called a meeting of officials.I said that this report of the Census was worrisome and we should think about it. And you’ll be surprised to know that while the Prime Minister is talking about it in 2012; we began the fight against malnutrition in 2005. We spent a budget of one thousand crores on malnutrition, because poor people’s children should not suffer from malnutrition. If a pregnant woman is malnourished, her child will be born malnourished, handicapped and mentally underdeveloped. This will be a cause of worry for the society. We began this work in 2005. Such a great person didn’t even know about it till 2012; we can imagine what may happen to this country.This is a shameful matter. Malnutrition is a cause for worry. But to get away by just saying that it’s a matter of shame is not the way to run a country. They get votes in the name of the poor. They should think about the poor at least to some extent. They should worry about the poor. But they are not willing to do this.

There is a poor people’s 20-point welfare programme. And every three months the Indian Government makes an analysis of it. And in last 10 years, not a single Congress has been able to come in the first five ranks. These ranks are occupied by either BJP-ruled states or their NDA allies. Hence, the Indian government, instead of improving the performance of its own states, stopped making the survey itself. You can see their love for the poor. They stopped making the survey and bringing out the report, because the BJP-ruled states used to be ahead of them on this 20-points programme and this was a matter of embarrassment for them. Is this the way to uplift the poor? Brothers and sisters, political speeches are alright. During elections someone may engage in it; we have no problem. But one aspect is clear. We have wasted 60 years of this country. Now the people of this country are not ready to wait anymore. Every person wants a change. Every person wants development and change in his/her life. And Gujarat government has tried to bring this change. The country is also waiting for this. The country also wants change. It wants liberation from this serious condition.

Brothers and sisters, pace, unity and brotherhood through Sadbhavana Mission is our strength. We have to keep this strength intact. We have to make this strength grow. We have to embrace each other no matter what paths we follow and we have to follow the path of that idea that India is our Mother, Gujarat is our region and this village is ours. I have begun my journey for this purpose. I have toured more than half the districts of Gujarat, but I never saw this kind of massive human gathering. Friends, I have been travelling through districts for last 25 years. I have seen religious programmes, social programmes and political programmes, but it is a wonder in itself that people should come in lakhs only to meet someone. This is not something that political pundits can understand. They can’t understand what this is about. I can understand what this is about. I can feel what power is driving them. People from every walk of life – today a person came to see me – his child is 3 years old. He said to me that this child had resolved since yesterday to fast unto death. A mere child of 2.5-3 yrs old is fasting at home. Friends, this power can’t be the subject for understanding of any political pundit. Mothers and sisters come here, who are not very educated. But the feeling with which they bless can’t be judged by political index. This is popular feeling associated with penance. This popular feeling has a different force. It’s not possible to understand it from the political perspective. This is the occasion for a social revolution. Gujarat wants to show how powerful we can become be becoming united and the country should understand this.In the family if there is unity, the family progresses. If there is unity in the village, the village progresses forward. If there is unity in the state, the state progresses forward. If there is unity in the country, the country progresses forward. And I said this on the first day that this Sadbhavana Mission has come to kill the vote bank politics. Vote bank politics should b finished in this country. Everyone should be united; everyone’s welfare should be done – this should be the resolve. This country has been destroyed by the business of throwing crumbs for electoral benefits.Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (All together, growth for all), this is the only path for us. Hence, brothers and sisters, come let’s go forward. And for the welfare of the society, for the welfare of all sections of the society – no one should be left out; no one should be left behind. The society can be healthy only when all the sections of the society are powerful. Let’s go forward with this mantra. Today lakhs of people have blessed me. I salute the land of Panchmal. I also greet those who have fasted with me.

Brothers and sisters, when I started, I had said I would fast alone. But in ever district thousands of people are sitting on fast. Small children say that Modiji has not broken his fast and they don’t eat when they go back home.I had some very bad experiences in two or three districts. I request all of you to go home and definitely break your fast this programme ends. My fast will continue till tomorrow morning. That is why I don’t end it here. But in your family children are involved in this fast and you are involved in this fast. My request to you is to go home and end this fast and eat with your family. That will also be a blessing for me. Once again, I am very grateful to you. I have to say one more thing to you. I talk about development and I have come to Panchmahal district. In Panchmahal district, we had made a plan. According to that plan, welfare works worth about 1100 crores are already being implemented in the district. Friends, there was a time the entire budget of the whole state government was not this much. Today, in on district of yours, welfare works worth 1100 crores are being done. They are progressing. Each of these works is progressing to be completed.But today I have come here and I offer at the feet of this Panchmahal district about 1490 crores of rupees i.e., about 1500 crores of rupees. In this 2012 itself, this money will be used for your development, whether it is village development, urban development, water supply or drainage arrangement, for hospitals and schools, making water supply better organised, for all these purposes, I offer 1490 crores or 1500 crores for the development of Panchmahal district. Say loudly because you have got 1500 crores, Hail to the glorious Gujarat! Hail to mother India! Those who want to see me; I’ll be here and will go only after greeting all of you.


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“Role of newspapers is very important in the journey to Viksit Bharat in the next 25 years”
“The citizens of a country who gain confidence in their capabilities start achieving new heights of success. The same is happening in India today”
“INS has not only been a witness to the ups and downs of India’s journey but also lived it and communicated it to the people”
“A country’s global image directly affects its economy. Indian publications should enhance their global presence”

महाराष्ट्र के गवर्नर श्रीमान रमेश बैस जी, मुख्यमंत्री श्रीमान एकनाथ शिंदे जी, उप मुख्यमंत्री भाई देवेंद्र फडणवीस जी, अजित दादा पवार जी, इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी के प्रेसिडेंट भाई राकेश शर्मा जी, सभी वरिष्‍ठ महानुभाव, देवियों और सज्जनों!

सबले पहले मैं इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी के सभी सदस्यों को बहुत-बहुत बधाई देता हूं। आज आप सभी को मुंबई में एक विशाल और आधुनिक भवन मिला है। मैं आशा करता हूँ, इस नए भवन से आपके कामकाज का जो विस्तार होगा, आपकी जो Ease of Working बढ़ेगी, उससे हमारे लोकतंत्र को भी और मजबूती मिलेगी। इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी तो आज़ादी के पहले से अस्तित्व में आने वाली संस्‍थाओं में से एक है और इसलिए आप सबने देश की यात्रा के हर उतार-चढ़ाव को भी बहुत बारीकी से देखा है, उसे जिया भी है, और जन-सामान्‍य को बताया भी है। इसलिए, एक संगठन के रूप में आपका काम जितना प्रभावी बनेगा, देश को उसका उतना ही ज्यादा लाभ मिलेगा।


मीडिया केवल देश के हालातों का मूकदर्शक भर नहीं होता। मीडिया के आप सभी लोग, हालातों को बदलने में, देश को दिशा देने में एक अहम रोल निभाते हैं। आज भारत एक ऐसे कालखंड में है, जब उसकी अगले 25 वर्षों की यात्रा बहुत अहम है। इन 25 वर्षों में भारत विकसित बने, इसके लिए पत्र-पत्रिकाओं की भूमिका भी उतनी ही बड़ी है। ये मीडिया है, जो देश के नागरिकों को जागरूक करता है। ये मीडिया है, जो देश के नागरिकों को उनके अधिकार याद दिलाता रहता है। और यही मीडिया है, जो देश के लोगों को ये एहसास दिलाता है कि उनका सामर्थ्य क्या है। आप भी देख रहे हैं, जिस देश के नागरिकों में अपने सामर्थ्य को लेकर आत्मविश्वास आ जाता है, वो सफलता की नई ऊंचाई प्राप्त करने लगते हैं। भारत में भी आज यही हो रहा है। मैं एक छोटा सा उदाहरण देता हूं आपको। एक समय था, जब कुछ नेता खुलेआम कहते थे कि डिजिटल ट्रांजेक्शन भारत के लोगों के बस की बात नहीं है। ये लोग सोचते थे कि आधुनिक टेक्नोलॉजी वाली चीजें इस देश में नहीं चल पाएंगी। लेकिन भारत की जनता की सूझबूझ और उनका सामर्थ्य दुनिया देख रही है। आज भारत डिजिटल ट्रांजेक्शन में दुनिया में बड़े-बड़े रिकॉर्ड तोड़ रहा है। आज भारत के UPI की वजह से आधुनिक Digital Public Infrastructure की वजह से लोगों की Ease of Living बढ़ी है, लोगों के लिए एक स्थान से दूसरे स्थान तक पैसे भेजना आसान हुआ है। आज दुनियाभर में हमारे जो देशवासी रहते हैं, खासकर के गल्‍फ के देशों में, वो सबसे ज्यादा रेमिटेंस भेज रहे हैं और उनको जो पहले खर्च होता था, उसमें से बहुत कमी आ गई है और इसके पीछे एक वजह ये डिजिटल रेवेल्यूशन भी है। दुनिया के बड़े-बड़े देश हमसे टेक्नोलॉजी और हमारे implementation model को जानना-समझने को प्रयास कर रहे हैं। ये इतनी बड़ी सफलता सिर्फ सरकार की है, ऐसा नहीं है। इस सफलता में आप सभी मीडिया के लोगों की भी सहभागिता है औऱ इसलिए ही आप सब बधाई के भी पात्र हैं।


मीडिया की स्वाभाविक भूमिका होती है, discourse create करना, गंभीर विषयों पर चर्चाओं को बल देना। लेकिन, मीडिया के discourse की दिशा भी कई बार सरकार की नीतियों की दिशा पर निर्भर होती है। आप जानते हैं, सरकारों में हमेशा हर कामकाज के अच्छा है, बुरा है, लेकिन वोट का गुणा-भाग, उसकी आदत लगी ही रहती है। हमने आकर के इस सोच को बदला है। आपको याद होगा, हमारे देश में दशकों पहले बैंकों का राष्ट्रीयकरण किया गया था। लेकिन, उसके बाद की सच्चाई ये थी कि 2014 तक देश में 40-50 करोड़ गरीब ऐसे थे, जिनका बैंक अकाउंट तक नहीं था। अब जब राष्ट्रीयकरण हुआ तब जो बातें कही गई और 2014 में जो देखा गया, यानी आधा देश बैंकिंग सिस्टम से बाहर था। क्या कभी हमारे देश में ये मुद्दा बना? लेकिन, हमने जनधन योजना को एक मूवमेंट के तौर पर लिया। हमने करीब 50 करोड़ लोगों को बैंकिंग सिस्टम से जोड़ा। डिजिटल इंडिया और भ्रष्टाचार विरोधी प्रयासों में यही काम हमारा सबसे बड़ा माध्यम बना है। इसी तरह, स्वच्छता अभियान, स्टार्टअप इंडिया, स्टैंडअप इंडिया जैसे अभियानों को अगर हम देखेंगे! ये वोट बैंक पॉलिटिक्स में कहीं फिट नहीं होते थे। लेकिन, बदलते हुए भारत में, देश के मीडिया ने इन्हें देश के नेशनल discourse का हिस्सा बनाया। जो स्टार्ट-अप शब्द 2014 के पहले ज्यादातर लोग जानते भी नहीं थे, उन्हें मीडिया की चर्चाओं ने ही घर-घर तक पहुंचा दिया है।


आप मीडिया के दिग्गज हैं, बहुत अनुभवी हैं। आपके निर्णय देश के मीडिया को भी दिशा देते हैं। इसलिए आज के इस कार्यक्रम में मेरे आपसे कुछ आग्रह भी हैं।


किसी कार्यक्रम को अगर सरकार शुरू करती है तो ये जरूरी नहीं है कि वो सरकारी कार्यक्रम है। सरकार किसी विचार पर बल देती है तो जरूरी नहीं है कि वो सिर्फ सरकार का ही विचार है। जैसे कि देश ने अमृत महोत्सव मनाया, देश ने हर घर तिरंगा अभियान चलाया, सरकार ने इसकी शुरुआत जरूर की, लेकिन इसको पूरे देश ने अपनाया और आगे बढ़ाया। इसी तरह, आज देश पर्यावरण पर इतना ज़ोर दे रहा है। ये राजनीति से हटकर मानवता के भविष्य का विषय है। जैसे कि, अभी ‘एक पेड़ मां के नाम’, ये अभियान शुरू हुआ है। भारत के इस अभियान की दुनिया में भी चर्चा शुरू हो गई है। मैं अभी जी7 में गया था जब मैंने इस विषय को रखा तो उनके लिए बड़ी उत्सुकता थी क्योंकि हर एक को अपनी मां के प्रति लगाव रहता है कि उसको लगता है कि ये बहुत क्लिक कर जाएगा, हर कोई कह रहा था। देश के ज्यादा से ज्यादा मीडिया हाउस इससे जुड़ेंगे तो आने वाली पीढ़ियों का बहुत भला होगा। मेरा आग्रह है, ऐसे हर प्रयास को आप देश का प्रयास मानकर उसे आगे बढ़ाएं। ये सरकार का प्रयास नहीं है, ये देश का है। इस साल हम संविधान का 75वां वर्ष भी मना रहे हैं। संविधान के प्रति नागरिकों में कर्तव्य बोध बढ़े, उनमें जागरूकता बढ़े, इसमें आप सभी की बहुत बड़ी भूमिका हो सकती है।


एक विषय है टूरिज्म से जुड़ा हुआ भी। टूरिज्म सिर्फ सरकार की नीतियों से ही नहीं बढ़ता है। जब हम सब मिलकर देश की ब्रांडिंग और मार्केटिंग करते हैं तो, देश के सम्मान के साथ-साथ देश का टूरिज़्म भी बढ़ता है। देश में टूरिज्म बढ़ाने के लिए आप लोग अपने तरीके निकाल सकते हैं। अब जैसे मान लीजिए, महाराष्ट्र के सभी अखबार मिलकर के तय करें कि भई हम सितम्बर महीने में बंगाल के टूरिज्म को प्रमोट करेंगे अपनी तरफ से, तो जब महाराष्ट्र के लोग चारों तरफ जब बंगाल-बंगाल देखें तो उनको करें कि यार इस बार बंगाल जाने का कार्यक्रम बनाएं, तो बंगाल का टूरिज्‍म बढ़ेगा। मान लीजिए आप तीन महीने के बाद तय करें कि भई हम तमिलनाडु की सारी चीजों पर सब मिलकर के, एक ये करें के एक दूसरा करें ऐसा नहीं, तमिलनाडु फोकस करेंगे। आप देखिए एक दम से महाराष्ट्र के लोग टूरिज्‍म में जाने वाले होंगे, तो तमिलनाडु की तरफ जाएंगे। देश के टूरिज्म को बढ़ाने का एक तरीका हो और जब आप ऐसा करेंगे तो उन राज्यों में भी महाराष्ट्र के लिए ऐसे ही कैम्पेन शुरू होंगे, जिसका लाभ महाराष्‍ट्र को मिलेगा। इससे राज्यों में एक दूसरे के प्रति आकर्षण बढ़ेगा, जिज्ञासा बढ़ेगी और आखिरकार इसका फायदा जिस राज्य में आप ये इनिशिएटिव ले रहे हें और बिना कोई एक्‍स्‍ट्रा प्रयास किए बिना आराम से होने वाला काम है।


आप सभी से मेरा आग्रह अपनी ग्लोबल प्रेजेंस बढ़ाने को लेकर भी है। हमें सोचना होगा, दुनिया में हम नहीं है। As far as media is concerned हम 140 करोड़ लोगों के देश हैं। इतना बड़ा देश, इतना सामर्थ्य और संभावनाएं और बहुत ही कम समय में हम भारत को third largest economy होते देखने वाले हैं। अगर भारत की सफलताएं, दुनिया के कोने-कोने तक पहुंचाने का दायित्व भी आप बहुत बखूबी ही निभा सकते हैं। आप जानते हैं कि विदेशों में राष्ट्र की छवि का प्रभाव सीधे उसकी इकोनॉमी और ग्रोथ पर पड़ता है। आज आप देखिए, विदेशों में भारतीय मूल के लोगों का कद बढ़ा है, विश्वसनीयता बढ़ी है, सम्मान बढ़ा है। क्योंकि, विश्व में भारत की साख बढ़ी है। भारत भी वैश्विक प्रगति में कहीं ज्यादा योगदान दे पा रहा है। हमारा मीडिया इस दृष्टिकोण से जितना काम करेगा, देश को उतना ही फायदा होगा और इसलिए मैं तो चाहूंगा कि जितनी भी UN लैंग्वेज हैं, उनमें भी आपके पब्लिकेशंस का विस्तार हो। आपकी माइक्रोसाइट्स, सोशल मीडिया accounts इन भाषाओं में भी हो सकते हैं और आजकल तो AI का जमाना है। ये सब काम आपके लिए अब बहुत आसान हो गए हैं।


मैंने इतने सारे सुझाव आप सबको दे डाले हैं। मुझे मालूम है, आपके अखबार में, पत्र पत्रिकाओं में, बहुत लिमिटेड स्पेस रहती है। लेकिन, आजकल हर अखबार पर और हर एक के पास एक publication के डिजिटल editions भी पब्लिश हो रहे हैं। वहाँ न स्पेस की limitation है और न ही distribution की कोई समस्या है। मुझे भरोसा है, आप सब इन सुझावों पर विचार करके, नए experiments करेंगे, और लोकतंत्र को मजबूत बनाएँगे। और मैं पक्‍का मानता हूं कि आपके लिए एक, भले ही दो पेज की छोटी एडिशन जो दुनिया की UN की कम से कम languages हों, दुनिया का अधिकतम वर्ग उसको देखता है, पढ़ता है… embassies उसको देखती हैं और भारत की बात पहुंचाने की एक बहुत बड़ा source आपके ये जो डिजिटल एडिशंस हैं, उसमें बन सकता है। आप जितना सशक्त होकर काम करेंगे, देश उतना ही आगे बढ़ेगा। इसी विश्वास के साथ, आप सभी का बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद! और आप सबसे मिलने का मुझे अवसर भी मिल गया। मेरी आपको बहुत शुभकामनाएं हैं! धन्‍यवाद!