Inspiring Stories from God’s Own Kerala
Mann ki Baat episodes and stories are an inspiration for all to contribute their bit to their communities and to their state and the nation, says Public Policy Exponent Vineeta Hariharan
“My Experience in government tells me, India can be transformed, and this is not due to Narendra Modi or any individual. This is due to the strengths and skills of 130 crore Indians”- Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat programme has been lauded the world over as one of the most innovative communication broadcasts with extensive reach, cutting across all sections of society. Each of its episodes hides stories that inspire us.
The programme that began on Vijaydashmi, October 3, 2014, will reach its 100th episode on April 30, 2023. Mann ki Baat acts as a megaphone amplifying optimism beyond politics, partisanship and power and showcases the strengths and skills of 130 crore Indians.
As a native of Kerala, it gives me immense pride that MKB has featured several inspiring stories – untold achievements of several unsung women and men – from my state.
It has featured the cleanliness drive in Sabarimala which millions of devotees across the world visit every year. In one episode, the story of Punyam Poonkavanam, a voluntary initiative by IPS officer P Vijayan, to keep the hill shrine clean was mentioned. He appreciated the programme which envisages the participation of each pilgrim to clean the temple premises as part of his pilgrimage.
Similarly, Akshara Library in Idukki founded by school teacher PK Muralidharan and a small tea shop owner PV Chinnathampi was mentioned. The library offers tribal children access to books and educational opportunities.
Another book story which Modiji shared with the world was that of an initiative by the PN Panicker Foundation, which promotes reading habits. The Foundation always greets guests with books instead of bouquets to write a big message.
Kerala’s healing magic hidden in ayurveda was also praised in one of the MKB episodes when the touching story of how Rosemary, daughter of former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, got her sight back was shared with the rest of the country.
MKB’s radar also captured unique personalities like Lakshmikutti, a teacher hailing from a tribal community, who possessed a formula to make anti-venom using herbs. The episode narrated her story and how she created 500 different medicines relying only on her memory.
There were many stories of how strong bonds could translate into revolutionary movements. Once, while referring to a group of girl students from Saint Mary’s upper primary school in Chittoor, the Prime Minister praised the girls for inculcating awareness about organ donation through public campaigns and street plays. This group of girls had once sent him an image of Mother India which they had created using thumbprints.
Likewise, students at St Teresa’s College in Kochi were praised for making toys by recycling old clothes, discarded wooden pieces, bags and boxes, etc.
In another episode, MKB narrated the story of the remote tribal village of Idamalakudi which became an open-defecation-free hamlet.
The inspiring work of Mupattam Sri Narayanan who moulded ‘Pots for Water of Life’ by distributing earthen vessels for quenching the thirst of birds and animals during summer also was mentioned in MKB.
Yet another story that tugged at heartstrings was that of Divyang N.S Rajappan. He is paralysed waist down. But Rajappan takes his canoe out every day to collect dumped plastic bottles from Vembanad with a view to keeping its waters clean.
There is something in everything for us to learn and imbibe seems to be the philosophy of MKB. The Prime Minister once cited the example of 105-year-old Bhagirathi Amma from Kollam, who `relaunched’ her mission to learn at that age. Bhagirathi Amma had to stop schooling at the age of 10 after losing her mother.
Kerala initiative which revived the Kuttamperoor river under the MGNREGA project was also mentioned. About 7000 workers had laboured for 70 days to resuscitate the river.
Mann ki Baat will continue to unveil many such stories in the coming episodes also to inspire us to join hands to build a strong Kerala and contribute to building a strong India.
“Positive events provide energy to do good. Positive thoughts beget positive resolve and takes you forward towards promising results” ~ Narendra Modi.
Author: Vineeta Hariharan
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