My Dear Fellow Countrymen,
Today I have this great opportunity of interacting with you again. You must be wondering why a Prime Minister should be interacting the way I am doing it. Well, first and foremost, I am a less of your Prime Minister and more of a Pradhan Sewak (serving the people). Since childhood I have been hearing that by sharing, our intensity of pain become less while the intensity of our joys grow manifold. Well I think, this is the guiding thought behind Mann ki Baat. It is an opportunity for me to sometimes share my concern and sometimes my joy. Sharing my deepest concerns with you makes me feel light hearted and sharing my joy just doubles my happiness.
Last time, I mentioned my concern about the youth of the country. It is not because you chose me as the Prime Minister but because I feel concerned as an individual. Sons and daughters of many families are caught in the trap of drugs. It just does not destroy the person involved, but his entire family, the society and the Nation at large. Drug is such a grave menace which destroys the most powerful individuals.
While serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, my officers with good records would often come to ask for leave. Initially they would hesitate to spell out the reasons, however on insisting they revealed that their child had fallen into the drug trap and they now need to spend time with their kids and rehabilitate them. I could see the bravest of my officers struggling to control their tears. I met suffering mothers too. In Punjab I had the chance to meet some mothers who were very angry and yet concerned about their children who had fallen into the trap of drugs.
We have to work together as a society to tackle this menace. I understand that the youth who fall into this drug trap are often blamed. We blame these youth as being careless and irresponsible. We perceive that the victims are bad but the fact is that the drugs are bad. The youth are not wrong; it is this addiction which is wrong. Let us not blame and wrong our kids. Let us get rid of this habit of addiction and not victimize our kids. Blaming the kids would push them further into addiction. This is in fact a psycho-socio-medical issue and let us treat it as such a problem. This menace needs to be handled carefully as its solution is not limited to medical intervention only. The individual concerned, his family, friends, the society, the government and the legal system all have to work in tandem to tackle this menace. Each one of us have to contribute to get rid of this menace..
A few days ago, I had organized a DGP level conference in Assam. I expressed my concern over this issue and my displeasure at the non-serious attitude of the people concerned. I have asked the police department to seriously discuss this issue and come out with relevant solutions. I have suggested the department to launch a toll free helpline. The families often feel ashamed to come out in open about the addiction problem of their children. They have no one to confide in. Parents from any part, any corner of the country can freely approach the police if their children have fallen a victim to addiction. The department has taken this suggestion seriously and working towards its fulfillment.
The drug menace brings about the Three D’s. These Three D’s are not the ones related to entertainment but I am talking about the Three D’s related to the three vices.
First D is Darkness, the second D is Destruction and the third D is Devastation.
Drugs lead a person to a blind path of destruction. There is nothing left in its trail but devastation. This is a topic of great concern and demands total attention.
I had mentioned this topic in my last address in Mann ki Baat. We received more than 7000 letters on our Akashvani address. Some letters were received in the government offices. We received responses on government portal, Mygov.in, online and through e-mails. Lakhs of comments were received on twitter and facebook. Hence, a deep rooted concern in the society’s psyche has found a voice.
I am especially thankful to the media of our country for carrying this concern forward. Many channels conducted hour long programs. These programs were not just meant to criticize the government. They were forums for open discussion, a concern and an effort to come out with workable solutions. These initiatives created background for healthy discussions. The government was also sensitized to its responsibilities in this direction. The government can no longer remain neutral to these concerns.
There is a question I want to ask these youth caught in the drug trap. I want to ask these youth that when for three or four hours they are in a state of intoxication, they might be feeling free of all concerns, free of all tensions and in a different world altogether. But have you ever lent a thought to the fact that when you buy drugs where does this money go to? Have you ever thought about it? Just make a guess. What if this drug money goes to the terrorists? What if this money is spent by the terrorists to procure weapons? And with this weapon the very same terrorist might be pumping bullets in the heart of my soldiers. The soldier of my country gets martyred. Have you ever thought about our soldiers- a soldier who is so dear to his mother, the treasured son of Mother India, the brave son of the soil is hit by a bullet probably funded by the money spent on purchasing drugs. I know and firmly believe that you too love your motherland and have tremendous respect for our soldiers. Then how can you support a habit which funds drug mafia and the terrorists.
Some people feel that when a person is in despair, faces failures and when he is directionless, he is an easy prey to drugs. But I feel that people who lack ambition, do not have any set goals and targets, who have a deep vacuum in their lives, are the ones where drugs will have an easy access. If you want to avoid drugs and save your children from this menace then foster ambition in them, give them dreams to pursue and make them individuals with a desire to achieve something in life. Then you will see that they will not be easily distracted. Their aim then will be to achieve something in life.
Have you ever followed a sportsman’s life? A sportsman is motivated forever. In the bleak winters everyone feels like sleeping in the warmth of a quilt but a sportsman will still rise at 4 or 5 and go for his workouts. Why? because the goal is set. Similarly, if your child would be aimless, there are chances of him/her to fall prey to menace like drugs.
I remember the words of Vivekananda. These words are very apt for all the young people. Just keep repeating this thought over and over again. “Take a thought, make it your life. Ponder on it and dream about it. Make it an integral part of your dreams. Make it a part of your mind, brain, veins and each and every part of your body and forget everything else”.
This thought of Vivekananda is apt for every young person and that is why I say that each person should have an ambition in life. Having an ambition does not allow your focus on unnecessary things.
Some take it under peer pressure because it looks “cool”, some consider it as a style statement. So sometimes the youth inadvertently fall into this serious trap, due to the wrong mental perception. Addiction is neither cool nor a style statement. In reality, it is a precursor to destruction. So whenever your friends boast about their drug habits, do not applaud and enjoy such conversation. Do not be a mute spectator to such absurdities. Have the courage to stand against such conversations and say NO. Have the guts to despise such a conversation, reject such a conversation and have the guts to tell the person that he is wrong.
I would like to share some views with the parents too. These days none of us have time. All of us are running against time to earn our livelihood. We are racing against time to improve the quality of our lives. But in this blind race, do we have the time to spare for our kids. Do we ever work for our kid’s spiritual progress and discuss it with them, rather we discuss only material progress. How are they doing in their studies, what has been their progress in exam, what to eat and what not to eat, where to go and where not to go – majorly these topics form the core of the entire interactions. Do we share such a relationship that our children can bare their hearts to us? I request all of you to do this. If your children share a frank relationship then you can very well know what is going on in their life. Children do not take to bad habits suddenly. It happens gradually and it also impacts the home. Observe the changes that are happening in your home. If you observe closely then I believe that you may be successful in detecting the problem at the very beginning. Be aware of your child’s friend circle and don’t keep your conversations focused just about progress. Your concern should extend to their inner depths, their thoughts, their logic, their books, their friends and their mobiles - how and where are they spending their time. These need to be taken care of. I believe that no one else can do what a parent can for their kids. Our ancestors have left us certain pearls of wisdom and that is why they are known as statesmen. A saying goes like this:
Paanch Varsh Laaw Lijiye
Dass Laaw Tadan dei
Paanch Varsh Laaw Lijiye
Dass Laaw Tadan dei
Sut Hi Solah Varsh Mein
Mitra Sarij Gani Dei
This means that till 5 years of age a child should grow in the loving and tender care of his parents, by the time he is 10 the values of discipline should be inculcated in him. Sometimes we see that an intelligent mother gets angry and does not speak with her child throughout the day. This is a big punishment for the child. The mother punishes herself but the child too gets punished in turn. The mother just has to say that I will not talk and the 10 year old will remain worried the whole day long. He changes his habit and by the time he is of 16 years then the relationship should turn like a friend towards him. There should be an open conversation with him. This is a brilliant advice which has been passed on by our ancestors. I would like to see this inculcated in our family life.
Another thing brought to our notice is the role of the pharmacists. Some of the medicines lead to addiction. So such medicines should not be distributed without a doctor’s prescription. Sometimes a simple thing like a cough syrup can trigger addiction. It becomes the starting point for addiction. There are quite a few things that I would not like to raise from this platform. But we will have to follow and accept this discipline.
These days many children from villages go to city for higher education and start living in a hostel or a boarding school. I have heard that sometimes these avenues become the entry point of such addiction. For this the education system, the society and the security force will have to act as a vigilante. Each one will have to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. The government will fulfill the responsibilities on its end. We should constantly strive to fulfill our obligations.
I would also like to mention about the letters we have received. Some of them are interesting, some are filled with grief and some are inspiring. I cannot mention all, but I would like to mention one. There was a certain Mr. Dutt. He was deep into addiction .He was also jailed where he had several restrictions. Then later his life changed. He studied in jail and then his life was transformed. His story is very famous. He was in Yerawada Jail. There might be many such inspiring stories. Many people have been victorious in their fight against addiction. We too can come out of such habits and so we should definitely try. We should make efforts for de-addiction and rehabilitation. I would ask celebrities to be a part of this initiative - be it from the field of cinema, sports or someone concerned with public life. Be it the cultural or spiritual world, we should use every possible platform to create awareness. There should be constant messages in public interest. They will certainly have an effect. Those active on the social media, I would request them to create a continuous online movement by joining #DrugsFreeIndia hash-tag. This is more relevant because most of the addicted youth are a part of the social media. If we take this #DrugsFreeIndia hash-tag movement forward then we will do a great service for public awareness and education.
I want to take this concern forward. I would request all those who have successfully come out of this addiction to share their stories. I touched this topic because like I said in the beginning grief becomes less on sharing. This is a topic of national concern and I am not here to sermonize. And neither am I entitled to preach. I am just sharing my grief with you. Those families who are suffering from this menace, I want to share their pain as well. I want to create a responsible environment. There can be difference of opinions but let us make a beginning somewhere.
Like I mentioned before, I want to share happiness. Last week I had the opportunity to meet the Blind Cricket Team. They had won the world cup. What joy and excitement, they were exuding great self confidence. God has given us everything, eyes, hands, legs i.e. we are totally capable yet we lack this kind of determination and passion which I could see in the blind cricketers. What zeal and enthusiasm, really it was contagious. I felt super charged after meeting them. Such incidents bring great pleasure in life.
In the past few days there was yet another important news. The cricket team from Kashmir defeated Mumbai on their home ground. I do not view it as a matter of someone’s victory and other’s loss. I view it differently. All the stadiums in Kashmir have been inundated after the floods. Kashmir is passing through a tough phase. The circumstances have been extremely grim with these boys not standing any chance to practice. But the Team Spirit shown by these boys, their conviction and determination is awe inspiring. These boys have shown us that one can overcome the most trying and testing circumstances if one remains focused on our goals. This news gave me immense pleasure and I take this opportunity to congratulate all these players on their victory.
Two days back, the United Nations has decided to celebrate June 21st as International Yoga Day. It is a matter of great pride and honour for India. Our ancestors developed a beautiful tradition and today the entire world is associated with it. It does not merely benefit one personally but it has the potential to bring all the people together globally. The entire world came together on the issue of Yoga in the UN and a unanimous resolution was passed just two days back. 177 countries became the co-sponsors. In the past when it was decided to celebrate the birthday Mr. Nelson Mandela, 165 countries became co-sponsors. Before that efforts were on for International Toilet Day and 122 nations became co-sponsors to that initiative too. For celebrating Oct 2nd as Non Violence Day 140 Countries became co-sponsors, before that. But 177 countries co- sponsoring Yoga is a world record of sorts. I am thankful to all the countries that have come out in support and have honored the sentiments of the Indians and decided to observe World Yoga Day. It is now our duty that Yoga reaches out to the masses in its true essence.
Last week I had the chance to have a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all the states. This tradition has been going on for the past 50-60 years. This time it was organized at the Prime Minister’s residence. We started it as a retreat program with no papers, no files and no officers. It was a simple interaction where the Prime Minister and Chief Minister were all the same, seated together like friends. For an hour or two, matters of national concern were seriously discussed in a friendly atmosphere. Everyone just poured their hearts out. There was no political agenda involved. This too was a memorable experience that I wanted to share with you.
Last week I had the chance to travel to the North East. I had been there for three days. Many a times youth express their desire to see the Taj, Singapore or Dubai. But I would urge all the nature lovers, all who want to experience the divinity in nature, to take a tour of the North East. I had gone earlier too. This time when I went as the Prime Minister, I tried to explore its potential. Our North east has tremendous potential and possibilities. It’s a land of beautiful people and beautiful surroundings. I was filled with immense joy visiting that place. Sometimes people ask Modi ji don’t you get tired? I want to say that whatever little fatigue I had, well the North East took it away completely, I am thoroughly rejuvenated. Such is the pleasure that I derived from that visit. The love and respect accorded by the people there is something that will stay with me forever. The kinship and affinity showed by the people of the North East touched me deeply. I will also tell you, it is not a joy for only Modi to enjoy, it is there for you to enjoy too. So do travel to the North East and enjoy.
The next edition of Mann Ki Baat will happen in 2015. This is probably my last program in 2014. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I would like to wish all the very best of New Year hes in advance. It gives me immense pleasure to know that this program Mann Ki Baat is broadcast in regional languages by the Local Radio stations that same night at 8 pm. And it is surprising to know some of the regional voice-over artists also speak in the voice very similar to me. I am surprised at the brilliant work being done by the artists associated at Akashvani and I would like to congratulate them. I consider this as an effective medium to connect to the masses. We have had tremendous response. Seeing the response Akashvani has devised a new method. They have taken a new Post Box number. So now if you wish to write into me you can write on this Post Box number.
Mann Ki Baat
Post Box no 111, Akashvani
I will be awaiting your letters. You do not realize that your letters become my inspiration. Some suggestions penned down can do good to the entire nation. I am thankful to you all. We will meet next in 2015 and on some Sunday morning we will again have our own Mann Ki Baat.
Thank you very much.