New Delhi, Jun 30: At a time when reading as a habit is almost a vanishing art and the print media on the whole especially publishing industry is facing the onslaught of tech revolution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to develop the habit of reading.
"I will urge you in today's digital world and in the time of Google Guru, to take some time out from your daily routine and devote it to the book. You will really enjoy it a lot and do write about whichever book you read on the NarendraModi App so that all the listeners of 'Mann Ki Baat' also get to know about it," Prime Minister said in his first monthly radio broadcast 'Mann Ki Baat' after the recent elections.
Mr Modi said - "....you may often have heard me say “No bouquet, just a book”! I had urged all to choose books over flowers in welcome or felicitation ceremonies. Since then, people have been offering books at many a place".
He said - just recently, someone gave him a book entitled ‘Premchand Ki Lokapriya Kahaniyan’, popular short stories by Hindi litterateur Munshi Premchand and the Prime Minister some of the stories and highlighting the lessons some of the protagonists of the stories have to offer.
Referring to stories like ‘Nashaa’, ‘Eidgah’ and 'Poos Ki Raat', Mr Modi mentioned about a farmer living a life full of paradoxes.
"Halku the farmer is happy even after his crops are destroyed by frost, because now he will not be forced to sleep in his fields in the cold winter. Though these stories were written about a century ago but remain relevant all the same even today."
"Inhe parne ka baad, mujhe ek alag prakar ki anubhuti hui (After reading these stories, I really go a different experience), Mr Modi said.
He also mentioned about the Akshara Library in Kerala, which was founded by a primary school teacher, P K Muralidharan and P V Chinnathampi has today turned into a 'beacon' guiding tribal children on a new path.
"The Vaanche Gujarat campaign carried out in Gujarat was a successful experiment. Participants hailing from every age group in lakhs, participated in this campaign to read books," he said.
Prime Minister said the fact that over 61 crore Indians exercised their franchise in the general elections this year showed that was the largest democratic exercise in the world and maintained that the mere scale of it should make Indians feel proud.
"In a remote area of Arunachal Pradesh, just for one voter, a booth was set up....This is the power of democracy," he said and congratulated the Election Commission, security personnel and others for the successful conduct of elections in the country.
Mr Modi made reference to the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi regime in 1970s and said: "When emergency was imposed, resistance against it was not just in political circles or politicians; the movement was not limited to the jails. There was anger in the conscience of everyone".
Prime Minister said - Democracy in India is "embedded in our sanskar (culture)".
"It is our heritage; we grew up, nurturing ourselves on the fruits of that very heritage. And that is why the lack of it can be felt deeply by our countrymen, which is what we underwent during Emergency. And precisely for that, the country sacrificed one full Election, not for her own sake, but for the sake of protecting democracy. Perhaps, nowhere else in the world had citizens voted, without bothering about other rights and requirements, but just for the sake of saving democracy".
The 1977 elections which brought in first non Congress government in power, Mr Modi said and pointed out that through the 2019 polls the country yet again "celebrated a mega festival of democracy".
All sections of people from the rich to the poor, all were "happily eager in this festival to decide the fate of their country," Mr Modi said.
"When something is in close proximity of us, we tend to underestimate its importance; we ignore even amazing facts about it. We have been blessed with a Democracy so invaluable," he underlined. (UNI)