Mann Ki Baat: Awakening Society for Collective Action

Team MyGov
28 Apr 2023

History will judge Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership of the social awakening against female infanticide

A healthy society demands not just socially aware people, but the mass taking up actionable agenda to achieve goals for their well-being. Parliament can enact laws, and respective agencies can work round the clock for their implementation. But it will be an irony that a law is enacted to fulfil the aspirations and demands of the people, but they are left for the government alone to implement them. Over a few decades, it was largely believed that the government solely is responsible for everything.

The child sex ratio dipped sharply in a few northern states. There were far fewer girl children than boys in the 0–6-year age group in Haryana. Even the case in South Delhi was worse. There were several other regions where the demographic bomb was ticking. The ultrasound clinics had mushroomed in such regions. The law against pre-natal sex selection existed, but sadly doctors, ultrasound clinic operators and even the people paid the least heed to the law of the land. The unholy nexus of uncouth medical professionals must have killed several million girl children in wombs solely because of gender.

It was clear that enacting a law is just one part of the task in a fight against an issue that is essentially behavioural and attitudinal. History will judge Prime Minister Narendra Modi most glowingly for his leadership of the social awakening against female infanticide. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has been a campaign for awakening social consciousness. India has for the ages been the land where women have been worshipped. But the curse of infanticide had to be dealt firmly with the people taking the lead.

The ‘Mann Ki Baat’ turned ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ into a social war cry. PM Modi’s lending his voice to the social cause began reaching nook and corner of the country. The gentle voice of PM Modi in the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ was persuasive. He would urge and nudge the people to change their attitude. There is socially no difference between boys and girls. This was ingrained in the minds of the people. The issue was discussed regularly. The first principle of the psychology of changing attitude is to discuss the issue regularly and even at the cost of repetition.

The letterbox of the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ was soon flooded with letters from the people. Posting photographs with daughters on the call of PM Modi made in the monthly radio broadcast began trending on all social media platforms. The smile was back on the faces of the girls. The Society too was smiling. A tectonic shift in the attitude of the people had been achieved. It didn’t take too many years for the impact to be seen in the statistics, which affirmed the reality of the social changes.

There exist laws against people polluting rivers and water bodies. Parliament and Assemblies have enacted laws against people throwing garbage in the water bodies. But such laws have also been found to be too inadequate in achieving the aim.

In Delhi, one may come across a high wall of metal to stop people from throwing anything in the Yamuna. But the people are more enterprising to flout the law. This is abundantly clear that the principal reason for pollution in water bodies is the dumping of solid waste management and the flow of untreated sewage.

Infrastructure is indeed needed to treat the sewage. But the people too have stakes in keeping the water bodies clean.

There is no sanctity to dumping everything in rivers, seas and water bodies in the name of religious festivals. In the Hindu way of life, maintaining the purity of the water bodies is an abiding duty of the people. This issue has been a recurring theme in ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It had to be dealt with persuasion and also solutions that could be easily adapted.

PM Modi took the instance of the immersion of the idols of Lord Ganesha after the conclusion of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. PM Modi mentioned the case of an engineer in the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ who collected and combined special varieties of clay to give training in making Ganesh idols and then immersed them in a small bucket of water. After the immersion, a Tulsi plant was sowed in the clay. This way PM Modi promoted the adoption of eco-friendly alternatives in celebrations of festivals and other walks of life.

The cleanliness campaign, launched on October 2, 2014, which has also been a recurring theme in ‘Mann Ki Baat’, has also seen extraordinary success, as coverage of toilets increased from 39 per cent to 67 per cent of the population with more than 2.30 lakh villages declaring themselves ODF. In awakening the social consciousness, Mann Ki Baat may be judged by posterity to have played a role of a great catalyst.

Author: Sumeet Bhasin 

Total Comments - 0

Leave a Reply