JAMMU, Dec 31: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address today had special mention of Jammu and Kashmir in which he named State Civil Services topper Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak, a resident of remote Surankote town in Poonch district, who had to leave his ancestral home due to militancy in nineties but went on to top the exam.
Modi also called for building of new India, which will be free from the poison of terrorism, casteism, communalism, corruption, filth and poverty.
“When we all talk of positivity, I also feel like sharing one experience. Recently, I came to know about the inspiring story of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak, who is a topper in Kashmir Administrative Services Examination in J&K. He actually extricated himself from the sting of terrorism and hatred and topped in the KAS exam. You will be surprised to know that terrorists had set his ancestral home on fire in 1990,” Modi said during his half an hour long address of `Mann Ki Baat”.
Modi recalled that terrorism and violence were so widespread there (in Jammu and Kashmir) that family of Khattak had to leave their ancestral land and flee from there.
“For a young child, such an atmosphere of violence could easily create darkness and bitterness in the heart, but Anjum didn’t let it be so. He never gave up hope. He chose a different path of himself-a path of serving the people.
“He overcame the adverse situation and scripted his own success story. Today, he has become a source of inspiration not only in Jammu and Kashmir but for the youth of whole country. Anjum has proved that however adverse the circumstances be, the clouds of despair and disappointment can easily be cleared by taking positive steps,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi also mentioned his meeting with girls from Jammu and Kashmir saying he was amazed at the spirit and enthusiasm they had in their hearts and the dreams they nurtured.
“I was amazed at the spirit that these daughters of Jammu and Kashmir had, the enthusiasm that was there in their hearts and dreams they nurtured. I was listening to them on how they wanted to make progress in various facets of life and, how their lives were filled with hope. I talked to them, there was no sign of despair; there was only enthusiasm, optimism, energy, dreams and a sense of resolve. Whatever little time I spent with these daughters, I got inspired myself. These are the strength of our nation, they are my youth, they are the future of my country,” Modi said.
The PM also dwelt on the concept of new India.
“When we talk of new India then that new India will be free from the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from filth and poverty. In the New India, everyone will have equal opportunity and aspirations and wishes of everyone will be fulfilled. New India will be a place where peace, unity and amity will be our guiding force.
“My New India youth should come forward and deliberate on how this New India would be formed. One should decide one’s own path and also decide a way for connection along those attached to one and the ‘Caravan’ should get going,” the Prime Minister said.
He urged youths, who turn 18 tomorrow, to register as electors and said their votes would prove to be the bedrock of New India.
He suggested that ‘mock Parliament’ be organized around August 15 in Delhi, comprising a young representative selected from every district of the country who would deliberate on how a new India could be formed in the next five years.
He said mock Parliaments should be organized in every district before the proposed event in August in the national capital.
He said people born in the year 2000 or later would gradually begin to become eligible voters from January 1, 2018.
“The Indian democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the ‘new India voters’. I congratulate our youth and urge them to register themselves as voters.
“The entire nation is eager to welcome you as voters of the 21st century…Your vote will prove to be the bedrock of new India. The power of the vote is the greatest strength of a democracy. It is the most effective tool in bringing about a positive change in the lives of millions of people,” he said.
According to the Election Commission, 13,430,193 people who were 18-19 years of age voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
On cleanliness, Modi said a change can now be seen in the form of public participation in rural and urban areas alike.
He said Cleanliness Survey 2018, the largest in the world, will be conducted from January 4 to March 10 to evaluate the achievements of the mission in urban areas. This survey will cover a population of more than 40 crore in over 4,000 cities.
He said this Republic Day, not one but 10 chief guests would grace the January 26 parade at Rajpath.
“…January 26, 2018 will especially be remembered through the ages. The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all 10 ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries coming to India as chief guests…This is unprecedented in India’s history,” he said.
He said, 2017 has been special for both ASEAN and India. While, ASEAN completed 50 years of formation and India’s partnership with ASEAN also completed 25 years.
“On January 26, the arrival of great leaders of 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians,” Modi said.
Terming the policy of allowing Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a male guardian as “injustice”, Modi said his Government has removed the restriction following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage.
According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, now Muslim women aged above 45 will be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without ‘mahram’ in a group of at least four.
The Prime Minister said removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or ‘mahram’ may appear as a “small thing”, but such issues “have a far reaching impact on our image as a society”.
He said when he first heard of the restriction, he was surprised as to who would have drafted such a rule.
“Why this discrimination? And when I went into the depth of the matter I was surprised to find that even after 70 years of our independence, we were the ones who had imposed these restrictions. For decades, injustice was being rendered to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it,” he said in his broadcast.
He pointed out that such a restriction is not prevalent in many Islamic countries.
“I am happy to note that this time about 1300 Muslim women have applied to perform Haj without ‘mahram’ and women from different parts of the country from Kerala to North India, have expressed their wish to go for the Haj pilgrimage,” he said.
He said he has suggested to the Ministry of Minority Affairs that they should ensure that all women who have applied to travel alone be allowed to perform Haj.
“Usually there is a lottery system for selection of Haj pilgrims but I would like that single women pilgrims should be excluded from this lottery system and they should be given a chance as a special category,” he said.
He said it is his firm belief that the journey of India’s progress has been possible due to women-power and on the basis of their talent…It should be our constant endeavour that our women also get equal rights and equal opportunities…,” he said.
Referring to Christmas, Modi said Jesus Christ taught us about the spirit of service or ‘sewa bhaav’.
“Be it any religion, caste or creed, tradition or colour in this world; the spirit of service is an invaluable hallmark of the highest human values,” he said.
He also recalled the life of Guru Gobind Singh which was full of instances of courage and sacrifice.
On the 350th anniversary of the Sikh Guru, he said Guru Gobind Singh preached the virtues of sublime human values and at the same time, practiced them in his own life in letter and spirit.