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New Delhi, February 23, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded several achievements by women, including cooperative ventures in Purnea, Bihar to produce silk sarees, a 12-year-old girl conquering the highest peak in South America and of a 105-year-old grandmother in Kerala resuming her school education, scoring high marks in mathematics.
Delivering his monthly address “Man ki Baat” over All India Radio (AIR), the Prime Minister said sisters and mothers in New India were grasping challenges to set the pace for a positive transformation of the entire society. Women in the flood-prone Purnea region of Bihar used to cultivate cocoons from silkworms obtained from Mulberry trees and received a nominal price for their produce. Merchants who bought this raw silk made huge profits by spinning it into silk yarn.
But today, the women have formed mulberry-production cooperatives with assistance from the Government. After that, they spun silk yarn from the cocoons and also started getting saris made with those threads. These saris are fetching them thousands of rupees now.
“The Didis of the 'Adarsh Jeevika Mahila Mulberry Production Group' have performed miracles that are being repeated across many villages. They are also selling the saris in big fairs by putting up their own stalls. This is an example of how today's women fortified with new power, new thinking are achieving new targets, he said.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Kamya Karthikeyan, earlier this month conquered the 7000 metre Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak of the Andes Mountains in South America. She also planted the Indian tricolour on the peak.
She is now on a new mission called 'Mission Saahas' under which she will attempt to conquer the highest peaks of all the continents. She will also be skiing on North and South poles.
“I wish Kamya all the best for 'Mission Saahas'. By the way, Kamya's achievement also motivates everyone to stay fit. Fitness has also contributed in great measure in Kamya’s achieving great heights at such a young age,“ Modi said.
“The geography of India is such that it provides many opportunities for adventure sports. On the one hand, we have high mountains, on the other, there is a desert spread far and wide. Similarly, on the one hand we have a network of dense forests, on the other, there is an infinite expanse of the sea. Therefore, I make a special appeal to all of you to visit the place of your choice, pick up the activity of your interest and ensure integrating of your life with adventure,” he added.
The Prime Minister said if anyone wants to progress or achieve something in life, the first pre-condition for that is the student within must never die. The 105-year-old Bhagirathi Amma, who lives in Kollam in Kerala lost her mother when she was very young. Soon after her marriage at a young age, she lost her husband as well. But Bhagirathi Amma did not let go of her courage, did not lose her spirit.
“She had to quit school before she was 10-years-old. She restarted her school education at the age of 105! She started studying again! In spite of her advanced age, Bhagirathi Amma wrote her level 4 exam…and then eagerly awaited her results. She scored 75% in her exams. Not just that, she scored cent per cent marks in Mathematics. She now wants to continue her studies; wants to appear for higher exams. It’s obvious that people like Bhagirathi Amma are the strength of this country; a great source of inspiration for all of us. Today I specially salute Bhagirathi Amma,” he added.
The Prime Minister said he had the opportunity to witness the hues of India’s diverse expanse, cultures, traditions, cuisines and the warmth of emotions at the Hunar Haat in New Delhi.
“As a matter of fact the repertoire comprising traditional attires, handicrafts, carpets, utensils, Bamboo and brass products, Phulkari of Punjab, exotic leatherwork of Andhra Pradesh, beautiful paintings from Tamil Nadu, brass products of Uttar Pradesh, Bhadohi carpets, copper work of Kutch, a number of musical instruments and innumerable stories; the vivid mosaic of pan- Indian art and culture was truly unique.
“The stories of the artisans’ perseverance, zeal and love for their skill are equally inspiring as well. Listening to a divyang (physically challenged) woman at the Hunar Haat was a source of fulfilment. She told me that earlier she used to sell paintings on the pavement. Her life changed after she connected with Hunar Haat. Today, she is not only self- reliant; she has purchased a house too.
“At Hunar Haat, I got the opportunity to converse with many other artisans. I am told that over 50% of the craftspersons participating at Hunar Haat are women. Also, during the last three years, through Hunar Haat, close to three lakh artisans and craftspersons have gained many opportunities of employment,” he added.
“Besides handicrafts, the haat displays the diversity of India’s varied cuisine too. In a single row, one could savour the sight of Idli- Dosa, Chhole- Bhature, Daal- Baati, Khaman- Khandvi and what not! I thoroughly enjoyed having the delicious Litti- Chokha of Bihar.
“All over India, fairs and exhibitions such as this are organized from time to time. Whenever the opportunity arises, one should attend such events to know India, to experience India. Thus, not only would you be able to be a part of the country’s art-culture canvas, you will also contribute in the progress & prosperity of hardworking crafts persons, especially women,” the Prime Minister said.
He touched upon the recent COP-13 convention on migratory birds at Gandhinagar, Gujarat and noted that for the next three years, India will chair the COP convention on migratory species.
In this context, he also referred to the discovery of a new species of fish whose habitat is within the caves of Meghalaya. It is believed that this fish is the largest among aquatic species found under the surface of caves. It lives in deep, dark underground caves, with little chance of light reaching in. Scientists are perplexed at the ability of this large fish to survive in such deep caves.
“Our biodiversity too is a unique treasure for the entire humankind. We have to preserve it, conserve it and explore further,“ he added.
The Prime Minister noted the growing interest among children and the youth in Science & Technology. Record satellite launches into space, new records, new missions fills up every Indian heart with a sense of pride.
“To give a fillip to this very enthusiasm in children and young people; to encourage scientific temper in them, another system has been put in place. You can now sit and watch rocket launching at Sriharikota, taking place in front of your own eyes. Recently, the facility has been made open for all. A visitors’ gallery has been erected, large enough to seat 10,000 people. Online booking is also possible through a link provided on ISRO’s website.
“I am told that many schools are arranging tour for their students to show them rocket launching and motivate them. I urge the Principals and teachers of all schools that they should avail of this benefit in times to come. In this context, he also referred to ISRO’s Yuvika Programme under which students could visit different centres of ISRO and learn about Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications.
Modi noted that on January 31, an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft took off from Leh airport using a mixture of 10% Indian Bio-jet fuel prepared from non-edible tree borne oil. It is procured from various tribal areas of India. These efforts will not only reduce carbon emissions but may also reduce India's dependence on crude oil imports.
He also referred to Salman, a person with disability who lives in Hamirpur village of Moradabad and is unable to stand on his feet. Despite this hardship, he decided to start his own business manufacturing slippers and detergent in his village itself. And in no time, 30 other persons with disabilities people joined him.
A similar determination has been manifested by residents of Ajrak village in Kutch area of Gujarat. In 2001, after the devastating earthquake, most villagers were migrating from the village. However, one person by the name of Ismail Khatri, decided to stay back and nurture his traditional art form of "Ajrak" print.And in no time at all, everyone was enchanted by the natural colours used in the Ajrak art. And the entire village joined in on their traditional handicraft category.
The villagers not only nurtured their ages-old art form, but also fused it with modern fashion. Now major designers and design institutions have started using the Ajrak print. The hardworking village folk have today turned ‘Ajrak print’ into a major brand. Large international buyers are now getting attracted towards this print.