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Modi says Dussehra marks victory of patience over crises, asks people to celebrate with restraint
New Delhi, October 25, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said while Dussehra signifies the triumph of truth over untruth, it is also the festival of victory of patience over crises and called for restraint in the celebration of festivals because of the prevailing situation.
Delivering his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ address over All India Radio (AIR), Modi said, “All of you are carrying on with immense patience, celebrating the festival with restraint….and hence, in our ongoing fight, our victory too is assured.
“Earlier, people used to throng Durga Pandals for a Darshan of Maa. The atmosphere would be almost that of a carnival…but it was not possible this time. Earlier, grand fairs used to be held on the occasion of Dussehra…but in present times, they took on a different form. The festival of Ramleela too was one of its major attractions….but now, that too has been restricted to some extent.
“Earlier during Navratra, the notes of Garba of Gujarat would reverberate all over….this time all grand events have been curtailed. Many more festivals are on the way in the days to come. There is Eid, Sharad Poornima, Valmiki Jayanti, followed by Dhanteras, Diwali, Bhai Dooj, the Pooja of Chatthi Maiyya and the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji…..during this crisis-laden period of Corona, we have to exercise patience, observe restraint,” he said.
The Prime Minister reminded people to give priority to purchase of local products during the festival season shopping because of “our resolve of Vocal for Local”. He also urged them to remember the sanitation workers, domestic help, local vegetable vendors, milkmen, security guards and others who stood by them during the lockdown. “Now, during the festivities, amid the rejoicing, we must take them along. I earnestly urge you to ensure, in whatever way, in making them a part of your celebrations. Treat them as members of your own family…..you will see for yourself how your joy rises by leaps and bounds.
“We must also think of our braveheart soldiers who are stationed on our borders in the line of duty, even during these festive times…all in the service and security of Mother India. We have to celebrate our festivals bearing them in mind. We have to light a lamp at home in honour of these brave sons and daughters of Mother India,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the whole world was becoming a fan of local Indian products. Many of our local products have the potential of becoming global. One such example is Khadi. Khadi has remained a symbol of simplicity over a long time but now our khadi is getting known as an eco-friendly fabric. In terms of health, this is a body-friendly fabric, an all-weather fabric and now it has also become a fashion statement.
“Not only is the popularity of khadi rising it is also being produced in many places in the world. There is a place in Mexico called Oaxaca, there are many villages in this area where the local villagers weave khadi. Today the khadi of this place has gained popularity by the name Oaxaca Khaadi.
“How khadi reached Oaxaca is no less interesting. A young person of Oaxaca, Mark Brown once watched a movie on Mahatma Gandhi. Brown got so inspired by watching this movie on Bapu that he visited Bapu’s ashram in India, understood him and learnt about him in-depth. It was then, that Brown realised that khadi was not just a cloth; it was a complete way of life. Brown was deeply moved by the way khadi was intertwined with the rural economy and self-sufficiency.
It was here that Brown resolved to work on khadi on his return to Mexico. He introduced the villagers of Oaxaca in Mexico to khadi and trained them. And now Oaxaca khadi has become a brand. The website of this project bears the inscription ‘the symbol of Dharma in motion’.
In this context, he said on Gandhi Jayanti this year, the khadi store in Connaught Place, Delhi, witnessed purchases of over one crore rupees in just a day. Similarly, the khadi masks have also become very popular during Corona. Self-help groups and other such institutions are making khadi masks in many places of the country. There is a woman Suman Devi in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh who, along with her friends in the self-help group, started making Khadi masks.
“Gradually more and more women started joining her and now together they are producing thousands of khadi masks. Our local products have this beauty that often a complete philosophy is enshrined in them,” he added.
The Prime Minister noted that along with Indian spirituality, Yoga and Ayurveda, many of the indigenous sports were also attracting attention the world over. When Chinmay Patankar and Pragya Patankar decided to teach Mallakhambh out of their home in America, little did they know how successful it would be. Mallakhambh training centres are running at many locations across America. A large number of American Youth are joining and learning Mallakhambh. Be it Germany, Poland or Malaysia - Mallakhambh is becoming popular in around 20 other countries. And now, its World Championship has also been started which sees participants from many countries.
“Our country has many forms of martial arts. I would like our young friends to know more about them learn them and with time bring about innovations in the same. When there are no major challenges to face in one’s life, the best of one’s personality also fails to surface. Always keep on challenging yourselves,” he said.
During the address, the Prime Minister referred to people who adopt innovative ways to share the joys of reading and writing with others. He also had a brief interaction over the telephone with Pon Mariyappan from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. He runs a haircutting salon. He has converted a small portion of his salon into a library. If a customer, while waiting for his turn, reads something from the library and writes on that, Marriyappan, offers him a discount.
Similarly, Usha Dubey a teacher from Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh has turned a scooty into a mobile library. Every day she goes to some village or the other with her mobile library and teaches children there. Children call her ‘kitabon waali Didi’, the elder sister with books. Meanwhile, at Rayo village in Nirjuli of Arunachal Pradesh, a Self-Help Library has been set up. When Meena Gurung and Dewang Hosayi from this village learnt that there was no library in the area they extended a hand for its funding. You will be surprised to know that there is no membership for this library. Anyone can borrow books for two weeks. One has to return them after reading. This library is open all seven days, 24 hours. Parents around are quite happy that their children are busy reading books.
In Chandigarh, Sandeep Kumar who runs an NGO has set up a mobile library in a minivan, through which, poor children are given books to read free of cost. In Bhav Nagar, Gujarat, Vikas Vartul Trust provides 140 magazines, along with 5000 books for those preparing for competitive exams. ‘Pustak Parab’ is a similar organization. This is an innovative project which provides literary books along with other books, free of cost. In this library, books related to spirituality, ayurvedic treatment and many other subjects also are included.
Referring to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31 celebrated as ‘National Unity Day’, he referred the Sardar’s work in the integration of the Princely states into the Indian Union after independence. In this context, he pointed out that Adi Shankara, born in Kerala had travelled and established four important mathas in all four directions of India… Badrikashram in the North, Puri in the East, Sringeri in the South and Dwarka in the West. He also travelled to Srinagar and that is the reason, a 'Shankaracharya hill' exists there.
“Today, Pulwama in Kashmir is playing an important role in educating the entire country. When children all over the nation do their homework, or prepare notes, somewhere behind this lies the hard work of the people of Pulwama! The Kashmir Valley meets almost 90% demand for the Pencil Slats, timber casings of the entire country, and of that, a very large share comes from Pulwama. Once upon a time, we used to import wood for pencils from abroad, but, now our Pulwama is making the country self-sufficient in the field of pencil making. These Pencil Slats of Pulwama are reducing the gaps between states!
Pulwama gained this recognition when individuals of this place decided to do something new, took risks and dedicated themselves towards it. One such enterprising person is Manzoor Ahmad Alai. Earlier, Manzoor Bhai was a simple workman involved in woodcutting. He wanted to do something new so that his coming generations wouldn’t have to live in poverty. He sold his ancestral land and established a unit to manufacture Apple wooden boxes. He was engaged in his small business when he came to know that Poplar wood, Chinar wood is being used in manufacturing pencils. After getting this information, Manzoor bhai channelled his entrepreneurial spirit and started the supply of Poplar wooden boxes to some famous pencil manufacturing units.
With time, he bought a pencil slat manufacturing machinery and started the supply of pencil slats to some of the biggest companies in the country. Today, Manzoor bhai’s turnover from this business is in crores and is a source of livelihood for around two hundred people.
During the lockdown, many instances of technology-based service delivery were explored in the country and it is not that only the big technology and logistic companies are capable of the same. A self-help group of women in Jharkhand have accomplished this feat. These women worked to deliver vegetables and fruits to households directly from the fields of the farmers. These women got an app ‘Ajivika Farm Fresh’ designed through which people could directly order vegetables to be delivered at their homes. Through this initiative, the farmers were ensured of a fair price for their produce and fresh vegetables were also available for the buyers. This idea of ‘Ajivika farm fresh’ app is gaining a lot of popularity there - fruits and vegetables worth more than 50 Lakhs were delivered by them during the lockdown.
Atul Patidar of Barwani in Madhya Pradesh has connected four thousand farmers in his area through the digital medium. Through the E-platform farm card of Atul Patidar, farmers are now able to get the essentials of agriculture - such as fertilizer, seeds, pesticide, fungicide etc home delivered - the farmers get what they need at their doorstep. Modern agricultural equipment is also available for hire on this digital platform.
Even during the lockdown, thousands of packets containing seeds of cotton and vegetables were delivered to farmers through this digital platform. Atul Ji and his team are working to impart technical know-how to the farmers and also teaching them about online payment and procurement.
“Recently, one incident in Maharashtra caught my attention. There, one farmer producer company procured corn from the corn-producing harvesters. This time, the company paid not just the cost of the corn but also a bonus with it. This was a pleasant surprise for the farmers. When the company was asked for the same, they said that under the new farm-specific laws framed by the Union Government of India, farmers can sell their produce in any part of the country and are getting good prices for the same.
“Thus, the company thought of sharing their extra profits with the farmers. The farmers had a right to it and hence the bonus was shared with them. Friends, the bonus amount may be small but this initiative is big. Through this, we come to know that on the ground, the new agriculture laws are full of possibilities in favour of the farmers,” he added.