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Hello, my young friends. Today probably the entire day you must have been preoccupied with the ongoing cricket match. On the one hand you have exams and on the other this world cup, you might be asking your younger sister to tell you the score of the match from time to time. Sometimes you must be elated about the fact that Holi is around the corner and then suddenly you would be feeling disappointed that even Holi festivities will go in for a toss. Why? Because the exams are approaching and I am sure you must be feeling this way. But friends, I am there with you in your moment of crisis. This is an important occasion for you; hence I am there to offer my support. I am not here to lecture you; I intend to have some light conversations with you.

You have been studying hard and you are tired. Mother scolds you and so does your father and teachers. God only knows what all you have to hear day in and out. Keep the phone, switch off the TV, entire day you are glued to the computer- everyday you must be hearing the same things. Be it the class X or the class XII, the whole year long you might be getting to hear the same things. And you might be sincerely wishing that sooner the exams finish better it will be, isn’t it? I understand your mental condition and hence I am here to share Mann ki baat with you. But this topic is a little difficult.

As far as today’s topic is concerned, the parents might be wishing that I touch those issues that they cannot discuss with their children. Teachers must be wishing that I say the right things to the kids and the students might be wishing that I say things which might ease the pressure at home. I do not know who will benefit from my conversation but I will have the satisfaction to know that I was there with my young friends in the most important occasion of their life, that I was sharing my inner feelings with them. This is my idea behind the conversations. I do not have the right to guide you on how to write a paper or how to pass the exams well. I cannot guide you on the tricks to obtain better marks because I consider myself an average student on such issues. I have myself never scored well in any exams in my life. I was a very average student and on top of that I had a very bad handwriting. So I think that most of the time I passed the exams as the teachers could not comprehend my handwriting. Well so much for the light talks.

But today I want to definitely tell you something important. How you approach exams goes a long way in deciding the results of your exams. There are many people I have seen who view this as the most important challenge of their lives and they believe that a failure here means failure for life. But friends, this is not so, and so don’t take undue stress.  Yes, you must be determined to get good results. The determination should be strong and the motivation high.  But the exams should not be a burden. This is not the exam which is going to test your performance in life. So do not bother much about it.

Sometimes, don’t you think we tend to make exams a huge burden and the reason behind this is that if we have friends and relatives who have children studying in the same class as your child, if your child and your relative’s child are also in class tenth, then there is constant comparison? There is a feeling that our child should fare better than everyone else’s child, even your friend’s child. And it is this constant comparison that creates a pressure on your child. You feel that your child earns a name amongst the family and friends. But is it really his name or your own prestige that you are worried about? Don’t you feel that you are the one responsible for making your child a part of an undue competition? Can’t we associate him to larger vision and greater meaning of life? How does he cope with the competition to be same as your neighbor’s friend circle? And is this really what you want? Just give s thought on it? Just think, in trying to compete with others, how you have belittle your own child’s life. Is it fair? When you talk to children, talk about big dreams, talk of greater heights that can be achieved and you will see a change happening.

Friends, there is something that always bothers us. We always measure our success in comparison to others. Our entire energy is spent in useless competition. There are many points in life where competition is necessary but for self development competition with others might not be a good motivator but competing with oneself each day should be the primary motivation. So start competing with yourself, compete with yourself to do better, to do faster, to do more and to reach new heights. Concentrate on compete with yourself to make today better than the past. And you will find that this spirit of competition will give you such a lot of joy and satisfaction that you yourself can’t imagine. We remember the athlete Sergei Bubka very fondly. This athlete broke his own records over 35 times. He would test himself only. Every time he would set himself a new challenge and scale new heights. You also follow the same and then see that nothing can stop you from achieving success.

Dear friends, even students are of different types. Some people, irrespective of the exams they may face, they are always happy about it, while some just collapse under the burden of exams. And some keep hiding behind the books in some corner of the house. But despite the type, exams are still exams and it is necessary to pass in them and I also wish that you pass well. But sometimes you must have noticed that we are seeking some causes externally. We seek reasons outside when we are confused about ourselves. We do not have faith in ourselves as if we are giving some exam for the first time. If someone is watching TV and the pitch is loud, we get irritated. If the mother calls for food we are irritated, but at the same time if our friend calls up, we end up chatting for an hour. Don’t you think that you have some confusion about yourself?

Friends it is important for you to identify yourself. Just keep doing simple things; you do need to go far. If you have a sister or your friend has a sister and who is appearing in X or XII standard exam, just observe them. You will see, whether it is X or XII, the girls will definitely help the mothers in the household chores. Have you ever thought that how do they manage to do work and yet score well in exams. Nowadays the girls are far ahead of boys in examination results. Just observe this around you.

This will make you realize that issues that bother you are not external. Sometimes the reasons are internal. If you are in self doubt then confidence cannot help. And that is why I say that as confidence dips, blind faith starts to envelope us and we then start seeking excuses outside.  Some students are such that we call them Aarambhishura. Everyday a new thought, everyday a new desire, everyday a new resolution, and then this resolution dies an early death and we are left where we started. I clearly believe that these ever changing desires are called whims by the people. Friend, family and relatives make fun of you and hence I would suggest that you have fixed desires. These desires in turn will become resolutions. And resolutions can never be futile. Resolutions are accompanied by goals. And when goals and action come together, resolutions are achieved. That is why I say Desire + Stability = Resolution. Resolution + action = achievements. I have complete faith that in your life too achievements will be at your feet if only you dedicate yourself. Dedicate yourself to your commitment and keep it positive. Don’t be bothered about defeating others. Think of taking yourself further from where you already are. And so test yourself everyday against your own limits, so that however big a challenge in life comes, we will not have any problem. And why should someone else take our exam?  Make it a habit to take your exam yourself. Each day we will test ourselves. We will see if we have progressed from where we were yesterday. Have I reached further than yesterday, have I achieved more than what I achieved yesterday. Each day, every moment, keep testing yourself.  Then such tests will bother you no more in life. Every exam will be an opportunity to test and regulate oneself and someone who can regulate himself knows to face challenges boldly. And so who sets himself challenges of life finds these classroom exams very small.

Sometimes we far exceed our own expectations. Just try and remember the good works that you have done. You will be surprised at your own achievement. Last year you were sick and yet you got good marks. Last year your uncle got married, one full week got wasted but still you managed to score very well. Earlier you would sleep for six hours and then last year you decided you will sleep for only five hours and you did it. What advice can Modi give you? You become your own advisor and as Lord Buddha said Uppa Deepo Bhavahah.

It is my belief that one should recognize one’s inner light, recognize one’s potential. Those who set themselves a new limit each time are the ones who scale greater heights. Secondly, sometimes we are busy thinking about the distant future.  Some people live in the past. Don’t do so during your exams. During examinations it is better to be in the present. Does a batsman anytime try and recall when he was out for a duck. Or does he think whether we will win this entire series or not. Once he enters a match does he think that I will come out only after hitting a century? Not really. In my opinion a good batsman is focused on the ball he is facing. He does not think of the next ball or of the match, or of entire series. You also fix your mind in the present. To win there is only one formula. Live in the present, connect with the present. Victory will be yours.

My dear friends, do you think exams are meant to exhibit your capacity. If this is what you think then you are wrong. Who do you have to show your capacity? Who do you need to demonstrate it to? You should think that these exams are not to demonstrate your capacity but to realize your own potential. If you make this basic mantra your calling, your confidence will get a new boost. Once you realize your potential and understand yourself, then you yourself will keep fostering your strengths this strength will translate into a new potential and so don’t take exams as a medium of exhibition, take it as an opportunity. This is an opportunity to know oneself, to explore oneself and to be living with oneself. So live on, my friends.

Friends I have seen that there are many students who become nervous during exams.  Some go to the extent that look today was my exam and Mama did not even wish me. Uncle did not wish me and elder brother did not wish me. And probably this issue is debated for an hour or two in the family- who did not wish, who called up to wish, did he send flowers or not. Friends rise above all this, do not get involved in all this. Think about all this when exams are over. If you have faith in yourself then such things will not arise. I have seen that many students become nervous. I know that some people have the tendency to become nervous. Some families have such an environment. I believe that the reason for nervousness is the lack of faith in oneself. How do you get this faith in yourself- if you gain mastery in your subject, you have worked hard and have done multiple revisions. If you have the confidence that you have mastery in some subject, you will see that out of the 5-7 subjects there are only 2-3 topics for which you are never worried. Nervousness is about some one or two topics. If you have mastered the subject you will not be nervous.

All the hard work that you have done in the past year, all those books that you have studied through the night they will not go waste. It will be there somewhere in your mind. As soon as you sit on your examination desk it will come back to you. You should trust your knowledge, your information. Have the faith that all the hard work you have done will certainly bear fruit and secondly be confident about your strengths. You should have the faith that however difficult the exam is, you will crack it successfully. However lengthy the exam is, ‘I will successfully complete it’. You should be confident about the timing, be it a two hour or a three hour paper that you will finish it before time. I still remember, maybe you have been told too, our teachers instructed us to do easy questions first and tackle the difficult ones later. I believe someone must have told you the same and I believe that you will follow it.

Friends, I have received many suggestions and experiences on MyGov.in. I will pass them on to the education ministry but I would like to mention a few things here.

Arnav Mohta writes from Mumbai, Maharashtra that some people make these exams an issue of life and death. As if entire world will finish if one fails these exams. Vinita Tiwari writes from Varanasi that the news of children committing suicide on the declaration of these results saddens her. You too must be hearing such news, but I have got good response from it from another gentleman. Mr. R Kamath has send in some good words. He has asked the students not to become worriers but warriors. Really we should not sink in worries but should be a warrior in the battlefield. I believe that we should not drown in our worries; we should march ahead with the belief that victory will be ours. Life is very long. There are ups and downs but one should not perish with them. Sometimes, unwanted results are an indication to move forward. They give us the opportunity to find new strength.

I have also witnessed another thing. Students as soon as they are out of the examination hall, they start estimating how they fared. Friends and family too ask the same question. How was today’s paper? Whatever is finished is over, please forget about it. I would also request the parents not to ask such questions. As soon as he gets out say, oh the glow on your face says that you have done well. Ok good…. Let us go and prepare for tomorrow. Create this mood and friends I also tell you… what will be the impact if you calculate and come to know that two questions are wrong and you would lose 6 marks, then tell me will it not impact your performance the other day? So why waste time on this? Why waste your energy on this? After all the exams are over, whatever calculations you want to make you are free to do them. How many marks will be scored, that should not be your concern at the time of exams. After the paper finishes concentrate on the next day’s paper, forget the day’s paper and you will see your burden lessening by 20-25 %.

Quite a few thoughts are rising in my mind. I do not know if they will be useful now that the exams are near. But I would like to tell my educator and academician friends that can’t we celebrate a week long exam festival twice in a year in each term. It should have a sarcastic poetry session, or a cartoon competition, a debate competition. There should be someone to lecture on the psychological aspects of exams so that this tension around the exams gets eliminated. If exams become a celebration then the students would not need to spend time like the way they are doing today in hearing this out. The students will themselves become confident. Also I believe that while teaching the syllabus, a separate lecture should be conducted on topics pertaining to exams. This environment of tension is not conducive.

Friends, I know that whatever I am telling you, you must have heard a lot more than that. Your parents must have lectured you, so must have the teachers. I do not want to confuse you by talking more on this subject. I want to believe that all the sons and daughters of this land who are going to give exams remain happy and joyful and give exams with a free mind.

I am talking to make you happy. You will get good results .You will be successful, make exams a celebration, give exams in a joyful mood, enjoy achievement each day, and change the entire atmosphere. Parents, teachers, and school –all should get together and experience what it is like to challenge the challenges, how wonderful it feels to convert each moment into an opportunity. And remember you cannot please everyone in the world.

I had a penchant for writing poetry, I had written a poem in Gujarati, I don’t remember it fully but I had written in it- if successful then you are worth being envious of, if failed then you are nowhere.”This is the way of the world. Be successful, not to defeat others but to overcome your challenges, be successful for your own pleasure. Be successful for bringing pleasure to the lives of those others living in this world.

I have this faith that you will succeed with happiness in your heart. You will have great success. And then, whether we could celebrate Holi or not, whether we could attend uncle’s marriage or not, whether I could attend friend’s birthday party or not, could see the Cricket World Cup or not- all these things will become immaterial, as for now your dimensions of happiness will be very different. My best wishes to you. Nation’s future is as bright as your own future. India’s future will be defined by India’s youth; it will be defined by you. Be it the sons or daughters, both have to work in tandem to take the country forward.

Come make the exam festival into a celebration. My best wishes to you!!!

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Address by Prime Minister at the inaugural session of Raisina Dialogue 2021
April 13, 2021
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The Covid-19 pandemic has presented us an opportunity to reshape the world order, to reorient our thinking: PM Modi
Humanity as a whole must be at the center of our thinking and action: PM Modi
We must remember that we hold this planet merely as trustees for our future generations: PM Modi

Excellencies!


Friends, Namaskar!

This edition of Raisina dialogue takes place at a watershed moment in human history. A global pandemic has been ravaging the world for over a year. The last such Global pandemic was a century ago. Although Humanity has faced many infectious diseases since then, the world today is under-prepared to handle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our scientists, researchers and industry have answered some questions.

What is the virus?

How does it spread?

How can we slow it down?

How do we make a vaccine?

How do we administer vaccine at a scale and with speed?

To these and many other such questions many solutions have emerged. And no doubt many more are yet to come. But as global thinkers and leaders we must ask ourselves some more questions.

For over a year now, the best minds of our societies have been engaged in battling this pandemic. All the governments of the world at all levels are trying to contain and control this pandemic. Why did it come to this? Is it perhaps because in the race of economic development the concern for welfare of humanity has been left behind.

Is it perhaps because in the age of competition, the spirit of cooperation has been forgotten. The answer to such questions can be found in our recent past. Friends the horrors of the first and second World War compelled the emergence of a new world order. After the end of the second world war, over the next few decades many structures and institutions were created but under the shadow of the two wars they were aimed at answering only one question, how to prevent the Third World War?

Today, I submit to you that this was the wrong question, as a result all the steps taken were like treating a patient symptoms without addressing the underlying causes. Or to put it differently, all the steps taken were to prevent the last war not the next one. In fact while humanity has not faced the Third World War, the threat of violence has not reduced in people's lives. With a number of proxy wars and unending terror attacks, the prospect of violence is ever present.

So, what would have been the right question?
They could have included:
Why do we have famines and hunger?
Why do we have poverty?
Or most fundamentally
Why can't we cooperate to address problems that threaten the entire Humanity?

I'm sure that if our thinking has been along such lines, very different solutions would have emerged.

Friends!

It is not too late even now. The mistakes and misdeeds of the past seven decades need not constrain our thinking for the future. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented us an opportunity to reshape the world order, to reorient our thinking. We must create systems that addresses the problems of today and challenges of tomorrow. And we must think of the entire humanity and not merely of those who are on our side of the borders. Humanity as a whole must be at the center of our thinking and action.

Friends!

During this pandemic, in our own humble way, within our own limited resources, we in India have tried to walk the talk. We have tried to protect our own 1.3 billion citizens from the pandemic. At the same time we have also tried to support the pandemic response efforts of others. In our neighborhood, we have encouraged our coordinated regional response to the crisis. Last year we shared medicines and protective equipment with over a hundred and fifty countries. We understand fully, that mankind will not defeat the pandemic unless all of us, everywhere, regardless of the color of our passports, come out of it. That is why, this year despite many constraints, we have supplied vaccine to over 80 countries. We know that the supplies have been modest. We know that the demands are huge. We know that it will be a long time before the entire humanity can be vaccinated. At the same time we also know that hope matters. It matters as much to the citizens of the richest countries as it does to the less fortunate. And so we will continue to share our experiences, our expertise and also our resources with the entire Humanity in the fight against the pandemic.

Friends!

As we gather virtually at the Raisina dialogue this year, I call upon you to emerge as a powerful voice for a human centric approach, As how said elsewhere while we may be used to having Plan A and plan B, there is no Planet B, only planet Earth. And so we must remember that we hold this planet merely as trustees for our future Generations.

I will leave you with that thought and wish you very productive discussions over the next few days. Before I conclude, I wish to thank all the dignitaries who are adding their voices to these deliberations. My special thanks to Their Excellency’s the President of Rwanda and the Prime Minister of Denmark for their valuable presence in this session of the dialogue. I also wish to thank my friend the Prime Minister of Australia and the President of the European Council who will be joining the dialogue later.

Last but not the least my immense gratitude and heartiest congratulations to all the organizations. They have done fantastic work in putting together this year's Raisina dialogue despite all kinds of challenges.

Thank you. Thank you very much.