Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 28
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that "ekta and mamta" (unity and maternal love) were key to solving the Kashmir problem and called on political parties to unite as he addressed the nation in the 23rd edition of his radio programme, ‘Mann ki Baat’.
He used the amendment Bill to introduce Goods and Services as an example of what a united front could achieve.
“It is the strength of the country that unity of vision has led all political parties to join hands on GST and Kashmir. Ekta and Mamata are the two mantras with which we can deliver the best for the people of our country," he said his emotional appeal.
“We must strive to protect and preserve our unity and integrity. Unity in diversity is our strength and it is our bounden duty to ensure that all of us as citizens, as a society, as a Government give strength to the voices which maintain our unity and integrity for a brighter tomorrow," Modi said, as curfew and restrictions in the state enter their 51st day on Sunday.
“Any life lost in Kashmir, whether of any youth or any security personnel, is our own loss,” Modi said. “Those pushing youth towards stone pelting in Kashmir will some day have to answer them. Those using young children as shields for spreading violence would have to answer them. People who are putting innocent young boys forward to disrupt peace in Kashmir... one day they will have to answer to these boys," he said in a speech that indicates a change in the central government's approach to the ongoing crisis.
The perceptible change in approach also won him appreciation from political adversary Omar Abdullah. “Good to see @narendramodi ji continuing where he left off after meeting opposition parities in Delhi last Monday,” the NC leader tweeted minutes after the Prime Minister's address.
BJP leaders say Modi’s using “Mann ki Baat” to talk about Kashmir indicates that that a quick resolution to the issue remains at the top of the BJP-led government’s priorities.
Death toll in violent protests in the state that began with the killing of a militant — Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander Burhan Wani — by security forces on July 8 has climbed to 69. Thousands of people — both civilians and security personnel — have been wounded in the protests.
Modi called Olympians Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and PV Sindhu “India’s daughters” who “protected the country’s honour”, as he spoke about the recent Rio Olympics in the 23rd edition of his radio talk, Mann ki Baat.
In his first talk since Rio Olympics ended, Modi — who wished the Indian contingent luck in his last edition — said: “This time everyone asked me to speak on Rio Olympics. This, I feel, represents a positive attitude of Indians towards games. I was specifically asked to speak about the contribution of Sindu, Dipa and Sakshi in my speech. It seems that the country's daughters took it upon themselves to protect the honour of the country.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the suggestions he received to promote sports in the country.
Although he admitted that India had not done very well — it won only two medals — he claimed it still “made a mark”, as he cited performances by athlete Lalita Babar, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Abhinav Bindra, all three of who made it to finals. He also praised the national men’s hockey team that beat Argentina, which went on to defeat Belgium to win the gold.
“However, it is true we need to do much better,” he said, asking states to identify two games in which they could excel and constitute committees like the central government’s recently-constituted task force to help India do better in forthcoming Olympics.
He also remembered hockey legend Dhyan Chand, whom he called a “living example of nationalism and a sportsman’s spirit”.
Hyderabad shuttler Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver, while Malik was the first person to win a medal — a bronze in 58 kg freestyle wrestling — in the Rio Olympics.
Modi also honoured teachers in his show as he cited the example of Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand to explain how they are were “crucial” for nation-building. He also cited the example of former president S Radhakrishnan — whose birthday India marks as Teachers’ Day — and said when he received letters from his own teachers, he felt his “90-year-old teacher was conducting a correspondence course for him”.
He also asked his listeners to share anecdotes and photographs of their own teachers through his app, Narendra Modi Mobile App.
Modi urged the country to adopt environment-friendly practices in Ganesh Utsavs and Durga Pujas, saying: “Saving the environment is also like praying to God”.
“Instead of making idols from plaster of Paris, they should be made in the conventional way (using clay) which would be benefit the environment as well as give employment to artisans,” he said.
Modi also honoured Mother Teresa, whose 106th birth anniversary her adopted city, Kolkata, recently marked. The Vatican will cannonise her on September 4.