My Dear Countrymen. Namaskar. The weather is changing. It has been extremely hot this year. But it is good that the monsoon is moving ahead on schedule on its natural course. The weather has become pleasant in several parts of the country with abundant showers. As a result of the rains, the cool breeze has brought about some respite from the oppressive heat of past few days. One has seen that no matter how hectic the life is, no matter how tense we are, whether its one’s personal or public life, the arrival of the rains does lift one’s spirits.
The Car festival of Lord Jagannath, the Rath Yatra, is being celebrated in several parts of the country with great piety and fervour. This festival is now also celebrated in some parts of the world. The underprivileged of the country are deeply connected to Lord Jagannath. Those who have studied the life and works of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, would have observed that he had wholeheartedly praised the Lord Jagannath temple and its traditions, since, social justice and social equality were inherent to these. Lord Jagannath is the God of the poor. But few would know that in English, there is a word, ‘juggernaut’ which means, a magnificent chariot, that is unstoppable. In the dictionary, the etymology of the word ‘juggernaut’ traces its roots to the chariot of Lord Jagannath. And therefore, we can observe that the world has in its own way accepted the significance of the Car Festival of Lord Jagannath, The Rath Yatra. On the occasion of Lord Jagannath’s Car Festival, I extend my heartiest greetings to all my fellow countrymen, and offer my obeisance to Lord Jagannath.
India’s diversity is its unique characteristic, and India’s diversity is also its strength. The holy month of Ramzan is observed all across, in prayer with piety. And now the festival of Eid is here. On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, my heartiest greetings to one and all. Ramzan is a month of charity, and sharing joy. The more you share joy, the more it multiplies. Let us come together and take inspiration from these holy festivals and share their joyous treasures, and take the nation forward.
In this holy month of Ramzan, I came across a very inspiring incident at Mubarakpur village of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. About three and a half thousand families of our Muslim brethren reside in that little village and in a way, form a majority of its population. During this Ramzan the villagers decided to get together and construct toilets. Now, to construct these household toilets, the government gives financial assistance, under which, they were provided a sum of 17 lakh rupees. You will be pleasantly surprised and happy to know that, during this holy month of Ramzan, these Muslim brothers and sisters, returned this money to the government, saying, they would construct these toilets with their own labour and their own money; and that this sum of 17 lakh rupees be used for providing other facilities in the village. I felicitate the residents of Mubarakpur, for transforming the pious occasion of Ramzan into an opportunity for the welfare of society on. Each and everything about them is inspiring. And the most important of it all is that they have freed Mubarakpur of the scourge of open defecation. We know that in our country there are three states that have already been declared Open Defecation Free states, that is, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala. Uttarakhand and Haryana have also been declared ODF, this week. I express my gratitude to the administration, government and especially the people of these five states, for achieving this objective.
We know very well, that tremendous hard work is required to achieve anything worthwhile, whether it is in one’s own life or for the society. If we have bad handwriting, and we want to improve it, we have to consciously practice for a long time. Only then will the habit of the body and mind will change. Cleanliness is also similar to this. These bad habits have become a part of our nature. We have become accustomed to them. To free ourselves of these habits we will have to constantly strive and persevere. Everyone’s attention will have to be drawn. We will have to repeatedly remind ourselves of good inspirational incidents. And I’m happy to see that cleanliness is no longer confined to being a government programme. It is getting transformed into a movement by the society and the people. And when government functionaries take this initiative forward with the participation of the masses, it becomes even stronger.
Recently I came across a wonderful incident, which I would like to share with you. This happened in the Vizianagaram District of Andhra Pradesh. The district administration there undertook a huge task with people’s participation. From 6 a.m. on the 10th of March, till 10 am of the 14th of March. A hundred-hour non-stop campaign. And what was the objective? To construct 10,000 household toilets in 71 gram panchayats in those hundred hours. And my Dear Countrymen, you will be happy to learn that the administration and the people together did construct 10,000 toilets in hundred hours successfully. 71 villages became ODF. I congratulate the people in the government, government officials and the citizens of Vizianagaram district on this great accomplishment of achieving this feat through immense hard work and setting a very inspiring example in the process.
These days, people have been regularly sending their suggestions for ‘Mann Ki Baat’, on the NarendraModiApp, on MyGov.in, through letters and Akashvani.
Shri Prakash Tripathi reminiscing about the Emergency, has written, presenting 25thof June as a Dark period in the history of Democracy. Prakash Tripathi ji’s commitment to democracy is praiseworthy. Not only is Democracy a system, but also a ‘sanskar’- a part of our ethos. Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty. One needs to be constantly alert about our Democracy, that is why we must also keep remembering the events that inflicted harm upon our democracy; and at the same time move ahead, carrying forward the virtues of democracy. 1975 – 25th June – it was a dark night that no devotee of democracy can ever forget. No Indian can ever forget. The country had virtually become a prison. The voice of the opposition had been smothered. Several prominent leaders including Jai Prakash Narayan had been jailed. The judicial system too could not escape the sinister shadows of the Emergency. The press was completely muffled. The present-day students of journalism and the champions of democracy have been endeavouring towards raising awareness about that dark period, by constant reminders, and should continue to do so. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji was also in jail at that time. After one year of Emergency, Atal ji wrote a poem, in which he describes the state of mind during those turbulent times.