It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is: Prime Minister Modi

Published By : Admin | November 6, 2017 | 11:08 IST
Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking & open a window to the world: PM Modi
In a broader context, media is a means of transforming society. That is why we refer to the media as the fourth pillar of democracy: PM
It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers, that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878: PM
Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest: PM Narendra Modi
A lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. However, India is more than just us politicians: PM Modi
It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is, says Prime Minister Modi

At the outset, I express my condolences and sympathies to the families of all those, who have lost their loved ones, or faced immense hardship in the recent incidents of heavy rain and floods in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. I have assured the State Government of all possible support. I also express grief at the passing away of senior journalist, Thiru R. Mohan.

The Dina Thanthi has completed seventy five glorious years. I commend the contributions of Thiru S.P. Adithanar, Thiru S.T. Adithanar, and Thiru Balasubramanian ji, for the successful journey so far. Their stellar efforts over the last seven and a half decades, have made Thanthi one of the biggest media brands. Not just in the State of Tamil Nadu, but in the entire country. I also compliment the management and staff of the Thanthi group for this success.

24 hour news channels are now available to millions of Indians. Yet, for many, the day still begins with a cup of tea or coffee in one hand, and a newspaper in the other. I am told that the Dina Thanthi offers this option today, through seventeen editions, not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Bengaluru, Mumbai and even in Dubai. This remarkable expansion over seventy five years, is a tribute to the visionary leadership of Thiru S.P. Adithanar, who began this newspaper in 1942. Newsprint was a rare commodity in those days. But he began the newspaper by printing on paper made by hand, from straw.

The font size, simple language and easy to understand narrative made Dina Thanthi popular among the people. In those times, it brought them political awareness and information. People used to throng the tea-shops to read this newspaper. Thus began the voyage, that continues till today, when its balanced coverage makes the Dina Thanthi popular, from a daily wage earner, to the highest political functionary in the State.

I came to know that Thanthi means telegram. Dina Thanthi means “daily telegram”. Over the last seventy five years, the traditional telegram, delivered by the postal department, has become obsolete, and gone out of existence. But this telegram, continues to grow every day. Such is the power of a noble idea, backed by hard work and commitment.  

I am happy to learn that the Thanthi group has instituted awards for promoting Tamil Literature in the name of its founder Thiru Adithanar. I whole-heartedly congratulate the awardees: Thiru. Tamilanban, Dr. Irai Anbu and Thiru. V.G. Santhosham. I am sure, this recognition will be a motivating factor for those who have taken to writing as a noble profession.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mankind's quest for knowledge is as old as our history itself. Journalism helps quench this thirst. Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking and open a window to the world. In a broader context, media is a means of transforming society. That is why, we refer to the media, as the fourth pillar of democracy. I am fortunate today, to be among those who demonstrate the power of the pen, and show how it can be the vital life-force and conscience of society.

During the dark days of colonialism, publications such as the Sambad Kaumudi of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the Kesari of Lokmanya Tilak, and the Navjeevan of Mahatma Gandhi, lit a beacon, and inspired the freedom struggle. Across the country, there were pioneers in journalism, who often gave up a life of comfort. They helped create a mass consciousness and awakening, through their newspapers. Perhaps it is because of the high ideals of those founding pioneers, that so many newspapers established in the days of the British Raj, continue to flourish today.


We must never forget that successive generations performed the duties required of them, towards society, and the nation. That is how we achieved freedom. After independence, the rights of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, over time we seem to have neglected our individual and collective sense of duty. This has in some way contributed to several ills that plague our society today. The need of the hour is to create a mass awakening towards "engaged, responsible, and aware citizens." The civic sense of “entitlement” must be suitably balanced by a civic sense of “responsible engagement.” This should happen, of course, through our education system, and the conduct of our political leaders. But the media too, has a key role to play here.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Many of the newspapers that shaped the discourse for freedom, were vernacular newspapers. In fact, the then British Government was fearful of the Indian Vernacular Press. It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers, that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878.

In our diverse nation, the role of vernacular newspapers - newspapers published in regional languages - remains as important today, as it was then. They carry content in a language that is easily understood by people. Very often, they cater to vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups. Their strength, their impact, and thus, their responsibility, can never be under-estimated. They are the messengers of the intent and policies of the Government, in far-flung areas. Equally, they are the torch-bearers of the thoughts, feelings and emotions of our people.

In this context, it is indeed heartening to note that today, among our vibrant print media, some of the largest selling newspapers, are published in the regional languages. The Dina Thanthi, is of course, one among them.  


I have often heard people wonder, as to how the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.

On a serious note, we are all aware, that there is just too much that happens in the world everyday. It is the editors who select and decide what is important. They decide what should be given space on the first page, what should be given more space and what should be ignored. This, of course, casts upon them, a great responsibility. Editorial freedom must be used wisely, in public interest. Equally so, the freedom to write, and to decide what is to be written, does not include the freedom to be "less than accurate," or "factually incorrect." As Mahatma Gandhi himself told us: “The press is called the Fourth Estate. It is definitely a power, but, to misuse that power is criminal.”

Even though media may be owned by private individuals, it serves a public purpose. As scholars say, it is an instrument to produce reform through peace, rather than by force. Hence, it has as much social accountability as the elected government or the judiciary. And its conduct must be equally, above board. To recall the words of the great saint Thiruvalluvar, “There is nothing in this world except ethics, which would bring both reputation and wealth together”.


Technology has brought about great change in the media. There was a time, when the headlines of the day, written on a village blackboard, carried immense credibility. Today, our media spans the entire range, from that village blackboard, to online bulletin boards.

Just as education now focuses a lot more on learning outcomes, our attitude towards consumption of content has changed. Today, every citizen analyses, discusses, and attempts to cross-check and verify the news that comes to him, through multiple sources. Media, therefore, must make an extra effort, to maintain credibility. Healthy competition among credible media platforms is also good for the health of our democracy.

Renewed emphasis on credibility, brings us to the subject of introspection. I firmly believe that reform in the media, whenever required, can only come from within, through introspection. Indeed, we have seen this process of introspection happen on some occasions, such as the analysis of the reportage of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Perhaps, it should happen more often.  


I recall a quote our beloved former President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: “We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?”

I observe, that a lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. It is only fair that politics be discussed at length, in a democracy. However, India is more than just us politicians. It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is. I would be happy to see media focus a lot more, on their stories, and their achievements.

In this endeavour, every citizen with a mobile phone is your ally. Citizen reporting can be an important tool in the sharing and dissemination of success stories of individuals. It can also be of immense help in directing relief and rescue efforts in times of crisis, or natural disasters.

Let me also add, that during times of natural disasters, media usually does its best to cover various aspects of the incident. Natural calamities seem to be occurring with increasing frequency and intensity across the world. Climate change is a challenge for each one of us. Can media take a lead in the battle against it? Can media devote just a little space, or a fixed time daily, to report, discuss, or increase awareness about what we can do to combat climate change?

I take this opportunity, to appreciate the media's response to the Swachh Bharat Mission. As we strive to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I am touched by the constructive role that media has played, both in generating awareness and mass consciousness towards cleanliness. They have also pointed out the work that remains to be done, before we can claim to have achieved our goal.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

There is another key area, where media can play an important role. This is the initiative of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. Let me explain this with one example.

Can a newspaper, devote just a few column inches of space, each day for one year, to this cause? Every day, they can write one simple sentence in their language of publication, along with its translation, and trans-literation, in all major Indian languages.

At the end of the year, the readers of the newspaper will have been exposed to 365 such simple sentences, in all major Indian languages. Imagine the positive impact this simple step can create. Further, schools can be encouraged to discuss this in their classrooms daily for a few minutes, so that children too, are exposed to the strength and richness of our diversity. Hence, this step will not only serve a noble cause, but will also increase the strength of the publication itself.  

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Seventy five years may be a considerable amount of time in a human life-span. But for a nation, or an institution, it marks just a significant milestone. About three months ago, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement. In a way, the journey of the Dina Thanthi, has mirrored the rise of India as a young, vibrant nation.

Speaking in Parliament on that day, I gave a call for creating a New India by 2022. An India that is free from the evils of corruption, casteism, communalism, poverty, illiteracy, and disease. The next five years must be about Sankalp se Siddhi - accomplishment through resolve. Only then can we create the India of the dreams of our freedom fighters. As a newspaper that was born when the nation embraced the Quit India Movement, may I suggest that the Dina Thanthi has a special responsibility in this regard. I hope that you will use this opportunity, to reflect upon what you can do for your readers, or for the people of India, over the next five years.

Even beyond the immediate target of five years, perhaps on the occasion of its platinum jubilee, the Thanthi must think of what the next seventy five years will be like. What is the best way to continue to remain relevant, and serve the people and the nation in the age of instant news at the fingertips. And in doing so, continue to maintain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and objectivity.

In conclusion, I once again appreciate the efforts of the publishers of Dina Thanthi in the service of the people of Tamil Nadu. I am sure, they will continue to constructively help in shaping the destiny of our great nation.

Thank you.  

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Continuing his campaigning spree for the second phase of assembly elections, PM Modi today addressed public meetings in Kalol, Chhota Udepur and Himmatnagar, Gujarat. Taking over the G20 presidency, PM Narendra Modi said today is a big day for India, a historic day. “With the blessings of Maa Kalika, today is an auspicious day for the presidency of India to begin in the G20. This is a matter of great pride for all of us,” he said.

Addressing the huge rally, PM Modi iterated, “Kalol is the center of economic activities of Panchmahal. Industrial centers like Halol-Kalol and Panchmahal are benefiting a lot due to the increase in manufacturing in India and the growth of the economy. Today, industrial production worth Rs 30,000 crore is done in Panchmahal district. This year, about 9,500 crores has been exported from Panchmahal district. Thousands of people are getting employment due to this.”

PM Modi accused the Congress of hurling abuses at him, he said, “The Congress does not leave any chance to insult the pride of Gujarat. I am a sevak of Gujarat, a sevak of the country, that's why the Congress has once again hurled abuses at me.” PM Modi launched a frontal attack on the Congress for calling him names, including the promise to show him his ‘aukat’. Referring to Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge’s Ravana remark, he said, “Kharge ji was sent to Gujarat and I was called Ravana by him on the land of Gujarat where Lord Rama devotees live. But it is true that when it comes to Lord Rama, the Congress does not accept his existence. It is also true that the Congress was in pain due to the construction of a grand temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya.”

PM Modi further listed out the number of ‘gaalis’ hurled at him, he said, “The Congress has considered it its right to abuse me. Had there been faith in democracy, Congress would never have done this. But Congress has faith only on one family. Family is democracy for Congress, family is country for Congress. There is a competition in the Congress party that who can abuse Modi how much?”

Highlights from the Chhota Udepur Public Meeting

Heating up the campaign trail in Gujarat where Assembly elections are taking place, PM Modi mocked the Congress party on their ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan. He said, “Decades ago, the Congress had given the slogan 'Garibi Hatao'. And they kept on saying this slogan as if this work has to be done by someone else. That's why during its rule Congress kept on saying ‘Garibi Hatao, but the party kept removing the poor from its path.”

Addressing his second rally in Chhota Udepur, PM Modi expounded BJP's commitment to welfare of tribal communities and listed numerous efforts being undertaken. He said, “The biggest beneficiary of the all-round development of the BJP government is our tribal society.” He slammed the Congress party for doing nothing for development of the tribals in the country. He said that the party even created hurdles when a tribal woman was made a candidate for the President’s post.

Talking about the ‘One District, One Product’ scheme, PM Modi stated, “There is hardly any district which does not have its own identity. Now like Chhota Udepur's 'Sankheda' is famous for its handicrafts, furniture made of teak. The demand for this furniture is in the world. I myself have gifted wooden articles made in ‘Sankheda’ to dignitaries of many countries of the world. To give importance to such products, such art, the BJP government has formulated ‘One District, One Product’ scheme.”


Highlights from the Himmatnagar Public Meeting

Addressing his final rally of the day in Himmatnagar, PM Modi said, “In 20 years, the area covered by groundnut has more than doubled. Now the yield of groundnut is 8 times more in Sabarkantha as compared to earlier. I am told, this time farmers are getting very good money in the purchase of groundnut. The facility of cold storage for potatoes here has also brought a lot of ease to the farmers. The happiness of all of us grows today when french fries made from Sabarkantha potatoes are exported.”

He further added, “To increase the income of the farmers, the BJP government is constantly working to ensure that maximum money goes into the pockets of the farmers. Our government have helped the farmers through PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. Here the farmers of Sabarkantha have also been given Rs 480 crore under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme.” PM Modi also listed out several development schemes which benefitted the people of the state.

Highlighting about the revamped connectivity, PM Modi said, “Be it poor, middle class, dalit, tribal, backward, everyone benefits from it. That's why an unprecedented investment is being made today on road, rail and airport. Just a month back, the Asarva-Udaipur train has been started. This route between Ahmedabad-Udaipur has become broad gauge. This will greatly benefit the districts of North Gujarat. From agriculture to industries in Himmatnagar, everyone will be benefited by this new rail line.”

Also, PM Modi urged people of Gujarat to vote for BJP in large numbers. Requesting to keep voting for the BJP's double engine government, the Prime Minister said, “I request all people to help spread the word to vote for Lotus and make it win from polling booth.”