New Delhi, (The Telegraph): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today felt that many Indians might not be observing silence on Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary and wondered whether two-minute silence on January 30 every year should be followed as a "national responsibility".
Delivering the Mann Ki Baat weekly radio address, Modi recited a Sanskrit verse that translates into "we walk together, speak together, our thoughts are one", underlining that this formed the "true strength of a nation".
The Prime Minister talked about a range of issues in his first radio address in the New Year, touching upon promotion of khadi, crop insurance and start-up India.
But Modi started off by recalling how he paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi and other martyrs at Rajghat the previous day.
He said he had observed silence for two minutes at 11am yesterday and said: "But if we see, many among us must not have done so. Don't you think that it should be made a habit? Should we not take it as our national responsibility?"
Modi, however, acknowledged that everyone would not start observing silence because of an exhortation through one address but he urged the citizens to consider the power of two-minute silence when 125 crore people together observed it.
"Imagine, each year on January 30, at exactly 11am, 125 crore Indians observing two-minute silence. Can you imagine how much power such an event would have?" he asked.
"We all walk together, speak together, our thoughts are one. This is the true strength of a nation and events like (observing silence by every citizen) infuses life to this strength," Modi said before moving on to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's thoughts on khadi.
"Sardar Patel said that India's independence and civilisation lie in khadi", Modi said, appealing to the people to have at least one khadi garment in their wardrobe.
Modi has been making frequent references to Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. He has already made Gandhi the mascot for Swachh Bharat (Clean India) drive. It remains to be seen how Modi takes forward his proposal to observe silence as a national responsibility.
The stress on reaching out to rural India was evident as Modi reaffirmed his government's resolve to protect farmers. He spoke of crop insurance and urged the people to popularise the programme to bring at least 50 per cent of the farmers under its ambit in the next two years. Around 20-25 per cent of farmers have so far insured their crops, he said.
Modi said the "Start-Up India" scheme had generated tremendous interest and it was relevant for farming, too.
Photo credit: The Telegraph
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