My dear countrymen, Namaskar. On the 3rd of October, 2014, the pious occasion of Vijayadashmi, we embarked upon a journey together through the medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. This journey has reached its 50thepisode today. Thus, this Golden Jubilee Episode is indeed gilt-edged in every sense of the term. Your letters and phone calls this time pertain mostly to these 50 episodes. Anshu Kumar & Amar Kumar from Delhi on Mygov, Vikas Yadav from Patna; on similar lines Monica Jain from Delhi, Prosenjit Sarkar from Bardhaman, West Bengal and Sangeeta Shastri from Nagpur converge in asking a shared question. They are of the view that broadly speaking, their Prime Minister being associated with the latest in technology, Social Media and Mobile Apps; WHY did he choose radio as a medium to connect with his countrymen? Your curiosity is but natural; in this age when Radio was fading into oblivion, why did Modi opt for the airwaves? Let me quote an incident. The year was 1998. I was then a party worker with the Bharatiya Janata Party organization in Himachal. It was the month of May; and I was travelling to a certain place. Evenings tend to get cold in the hilly terrain of Himachal Pradesh, and I stopped by at a wayside tea stall and placed an order for tea. It was a tiny joint; there was only one person who would make & serve tea. He was not even adequately clad; it was a standalone kiosk on the edge of the road. He first picked up a Laddoo from a glass container, offered the sweetmeat to me & said, “Sir, eat this before the tea get ready”. I was taken aback and asked him “What is the matter? Is it in celebration of an occasion like a wedding?” He replied, “No brother, nothing like that! Don’t you know? It’s a momentous, joyous occasion”. On seeing his rather jubilant exuberance, I asked him, “But what exactly happened?” And he replied, “India has exploded the bomb today!” I exclaimed, “India has exploded the bomb! I don’t get it!” Said he “Sir, just listen to the radio”. Indeed, that exactly was the topic of discussion on the radio. It was then that he elaborated on how on the day of the nuclear test, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced to the Media and how he broke into a dance on listening to it on the radio. It was matter of great intrigue to me to see a lone tea seller in a remote, snow – clad hilly place,who possibly kept listening to the radio the entire day… watching that particular effect of the news on radio led me to realize & internalise that this was a medium that was truly connected with the masses… and that it was a mighty means of getting across.
In terms of the reach & depth of communication, radio has been incomparable. I have been nursing that feeling ever since, acknowledging its power & strength. Hence when I became the Prime Minister, it was natural for me to turn towards a strong, effective medium. And in 2014, when I took charge as the Pradhan Sevak, Principal Servant, it was my wish to reach out to the masses with the glorious saga of our country’s unity, her grand history, her valour, India’s diversity, our cultural diversity, virtues embedded in our society such as Purusharth, Tapasya, Passion & sacrifice; in a nutshell, the great story of India. From remote villages to Metro cities, from farmers to young professionals … the array just prompted me to embark upon this journey of ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
Every month, we would read letters to the tune of lakhs, listen to phone calls, watch comments on the App & Mygov. Weaving a common thread comprising them all into a fabric of informal conversation, we have been able to travel together, over this rather long distance of 50 episodes. Recently, All India Radio got a survey done on ‘Mann Ki Baat’. I came across some feedback that is very interesting. Out of the designated sample in the survey, 70% of respondents on an average happen to be listeners who regularly tune in to ‘’Mann Ki Baat’. Most people believe that the greatest contribution of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has been the enhancement of a feeling of positivity in our society. The medium of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has promoted many a mass revolution. #indiapositive has been the subject of quite an extensive discussion. This is an exemplary glimpse of the feeling of positivity, innate to our countrymen. People have shared their experiences, conveying the rise of selfless volunteerism as a consequence of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It is a change where people are increasingly willing to contribute for the sake of service to society. I am overjoyed on account of the fact that through ‘Mann Ki Baat’, radio is rising as a popular medium, more than ever before. But it’s not about just radio… people are connecting with this programme and ensuring their participation through T.V., FM Radio, Mobile, Internet, Facebook Live; along with periscope, through the NarendraModiApp too. I express my gratitude to the entire family of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ for being a part of it & trusting it wholeheartedly.