In his Mann Ki Baat 2.0, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tried to assuage fear and apprehension regarding new farming laws and conveyed greetings of Prakash Parva to the citizens along with talking about a range of topics starting from heritage, culture, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Sri Aurobindo and education on Sunday.
He started off with a message of thanks to Canada for returning an ancient idol of Devi Annapurna to India. The idol was stolen and smuggled out of India 100 years ago, somewhere around 1913.
PM said just like the idol of Mata Annapurna, a lot of our invaluable heritage has suffered at the hands of International gangs, which sell them at a very high price in the international market. He talked about India’s increased efforts for their return. India succeeded in returning lots of such idols and artefacts in the past few years. The return of idol coincided with World Heritage Week, which was celebrated a few days ago. PM stressed upon the importance of culture in facing the crisis. He described culture as an emotional recharge.
To signify the importance of technology in the conservation of heritage, PM Modi talked about National Museum of Delhi, which is digitizing their collection to facilitate people watch the artefacts on virtual galleries from the comfort of their homes.
And then he mentioned the Arctic World Archive in Svalbard in the north of Svalbard, which stores invaluable heritage data in such as a manner that no natural or manmade disaster can affect it. The heritage of Ajanta Caves is also being digitized including important documents and quotes along with paintings.
PM Modi also heaped admiration on cherry blossom in Shillong of Meghalaya, which is a sight to behold in the winter season. He also paid tribute to Birdman, Dr Salim Ali on his 125th birth anniversary, which fell on November 12. PM said Dr Salim Ali has done illustrious work in the field of bird watching-the avian world, which attracted bird-watchers of the world towards India. He appeals to people to connect to the bird watching societies, which are in plenty in the nation.
PM Modi also touched upon the nation’s culture and Shastras, which drew many knowledge seekers from across the world to India. He mentioned the work of Jonas Masetti, also known as Vishwanath. Jonas teaches Vedanta & Geeta to people in Brazil. He runs an institution named Vishwavidyalaya, situated in the hills of Petropolis, an hour’s distance from Rio De Janerio. Jonas, after studying Mechanical Engineering worked in his stock market company. Later he was drawn towards Indian culture, especially Vedanta.
From stocks to spirituality, it has truly been a long journey for him. Jonas studied Vedanta Philosophy in India, staying at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore for four years. Jonas has another speciality- he is using technology to propagate his message. He regularly conducts online programmes. He also does a daily podcast. During the last seven years, through his free open courses on Vedanta, Jonas has taught over a lakh & a half students. Jonas is not only doing great work – he is doing it through a language understood by a large number of people. People are much keen on knowing how this could be of help to them during these times of Corona & quarantine. PM congratulated Jonas on his efforts & wish him well for his future endeavours.
PM also mentioned about New Zealand MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, who took oath in Sanskrit. He said dissemination of Indian culture on part of an Indian fills us with pride. He extended best wishes to Gaurav Sharma. Then, he conveyed the greetings of Prakash Parv, birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, saying the world over, the influence of Guru Nanak Dev ji is distinctly visible. Prakash Parva will be celebrated on November 30. PM Modi quoted the Guru Granth Sahib- “Sevak Ko Seva Bun Aayee”, that is the work of a Sevak, a servant is to serve to acknowledge the service of Sikhism towards humanity. Modi said he too had the opportunity to serve as a Sevak of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He further stated Guru Nanak Dev ji who started the tradition of Langar and we saw how the Sikh community all over the world continued the tradition of feeding people during this period of Corona, served humanity – this tradition always keeps inspiring us. I wish we all keep working as a Sevak. May Guru Sahib keep taking services from me and countrymen in the same manner. Once again, many best wishes on Guru Nanak Jayanti.
PM Modi appealed big educational institutions like IITs to invite poor students at convocation function so as they too can take inspiration to become doctor, engineer, scientists by watching someone else receiving medal and citation. He encouraged the alumni to keep bonding with their institutions and return to contribute to its development.
He remembered the preaching of Sri Aurobindo, whose death anniversary is on December 5th, through a poem and Sri Aurobindo’s support to Swadeshi product. PM said there is a very profound poem in Bangla and recited:-
‘Sui ChhutoPoy-Monto Ashe Tunga hote’.
Diya-ShalaiKathi, Tau aasepote ||
Pro-deeptiJaliteKhete, Shutee, Jethe.
Then PM arrived on the most controversial topic of the day, that is the agriculture reform laws. He said the Parliament of India, after a lot of deliberation, gave legal form to the agricultural reforms. He said new dimensions are being added to agriculture and its related activities in India. The agricultural reforms in the past few days have also now opened new doors of possibilities for our farmers. The demands that have been made by farmers for years, that every political party, at some point or the other made the promise to fulfil, those demands have been met. After a lot of deliberation, the Parliament of India gave a legal form to the agricultural reforms. These reforms have not only served to unshackle our farmers but also give them new rights and opportunities. In just a short span of time, these new rights have begun to ameliorate the woes of our farmers. You too should know how Jitendra Bhoiji, a farmer from Dhule district in Maharashtra made use of the recently promulgated farm laws. Jitendra Bhoiji had sown corn and decided to sell his produce to traders for the right price. The total cost of the product was fixed at approximately Rupees Three Lakh thirty-two thousand. Jitendra Bhoi even received an advance of Rupees twenty-five thousand. It had been decided that the outstanding amount would be cleared in fifteen days. However, later such circumstances developed, that he did not receive the remainder of his payment. Buy the crop from the farmer, keep the payment pending for months on end; probably this was the long-standing tradition that the buyers of corn were following. This continued for four months wherein Jitendra ji was not paid his dues. In this situation, the new farm laws that were passed in September came to his aid. Under this law, it was decided that all dues of the farmers should be cleared within three days of procurement, failing which, the farmer can lodge a complaint. Another notable aspect of this law is that the area Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) has to ensure grievance redressal of the farmer within one month. Now, with our farmer brother empowered with this law, his grievance had to be redressed; consequently, he lodged a complaint and within days his outstanding payments were cleared. This correct and complete knowledge of the law became the strength of Jitendra ji. Whichever the field, correct knowledge, free from misconceptions and rumours can act as a force multiplier for every individual. Mohammad Aslam ji from Baran district in Rajasthan is working in a similar fashion to increase awareness among farmers. He is also the CEO of a farmer producer organization. Yes, you heard it right! – the CEO of a farmer producer organization. I hope this is heartwarming news for the CEOs of major companies – that farmers from far-flung areas of the country are now also becoming CEOs of farmer organizations! Friends, Mohammad Aslam Ji has made a Whatsapp group comprising several farmers from his area. On this group every day he shares updates with the farmers on prevalent prices at neighbouring Mandis in the area. His own FPO also buys produce from farmers, hence, this effort of his also helps farmers in taking a decision.
Friends, awareness begets spiritedness. Shri Virendra Yadav ji is one such farmer entrepreneur, who has influenced the lives of thousands through his awareness. Some time ago, Virendra Yadav ji used to live in Australia. Two years ago, he came to India and now lives in Kaithal, Haryana. Just like others, the stubble in the fields was a big concern for him too. Work is being done on a massive scale to find the solution to this issue, however, today in Mann Ki Baat, I am especially mentioning Virendra ji because his efforts are different and show a new way forward. To find a solution to stubble, Virendra ji bought a Straw Baler machine to make bundles of straw. For this, he also received financial assistance from the Agricultural department. With this machine, he began to make bundles of stubble. After having made the bundles, he sold the stubble to agro energy plants and paper mills. You will be amazed to know that in just two years, Virendra ji has traded in stubble in excess of Rupees Two and a Half Crores and has earned a profit of approximately Rupees Fifty Lakhs. The benefit of this also accrues to the farmers of those fields from where Virendra ji sources his stubble. We have often heard of ‘waste to wealth’, however, this initiative is a unique example of earning money and righteous goodwill while finding a solution to the problem of stubble. To the youth, especially the lakhs of students who are studying agriculture, it is my request that they visit villages in their vicinity and talk to the farmers and make them aware about innovations in farming and the recent agricultural reforms. This way, you will become stakeholders in major reforms underway in the country.
He also reiterated the government’s fight against Coronavirus. As Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s death anniversary is in few days on 6th December, PM Modi said besides paying our homage to Baba Saheb, this day is also an occasion to reaffirm our resolve to the country and abiding by the duties, assigned to us by the Constitution as an individual.