What makes Mann Ki Baat so special?
As the Prime Minister completes the 100th episode of Mann Ki Baat, it is a moment to reflect on the purpose and achievements of this mission. What stands out in this entire exercise is how technology that was available and accessible to the majority of citizens of this country has been used to connect with them, to directly relay messages to them, and to celebrate the common men and women of this country who have contributed to the building of the idea of new India. It is a message to the wider world that India has a lot to offer through its rich civilizational ethos and history. It has been an entirely apolitical exercise, which has consistently and continuously discussed issues and challenges the country faces every day and how its citizens have an equal role to play in nation-building. At every level, Mann Ki Baat has shattered myths and silenced naysayers by playing a transformational role through its spirit of positivity.
Whether it was the Swachh Bharat mission or the empowerment of women and young children, Mann ki Baat episodes transcended regional, linguistic, and geographic barriers and emerged as a truly secular exercise devoid of politics. It is more about the country and its billion-plus citizens and their communication with their Prime Minister through this highly popular and cheap mode of communication, i.e. radio. What sets Prime Minister Modi’s Mann Ki Baat apart is that it has highlighted people who are invisible and highlighted their contributions, making them more visible to a wider audience. There are numerous examples of women such as Surekha Yadav who is the country’s first female locomotive driver, or little Jannat from Kashmir, or Poonam Nautiyal, a Covid frontline worker whose lives have been transformed as a result of their mention in Mann Ki Baat.
During the peak of the pandemic, the Prime Minister used the episodes of Mann Ki Baat to highlight the role of corona warriors, by naming them and celebrating them, conveying the stages of vaccine development to the citizens of the country, and offering hope in times of despair. The episodes, especially during the pandemic, served as reminders about our duties as citizens, but most importantly to everyone that we were all together fighting this virus. The 100th episode is a moment of reflection the use of a medium of communication is not only transformative for the medium itself but also people who it has been used for extensively. The use of radio as a preferred medium of communication in the age of smartphones and newer technologies has been a game changer for radio listeners, but also those who felt that the power of radio is limited.
It is significant that we must imagine Mann Ki Baat as a transformational tool with no parallel in any other part of the world. It is a reflection of the vision for the future of the country and the idea of a new India where every citizen has a role to perform, and each role is important.
Author: Kartikeya Sharma, Member of Parliament
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