A day long National Conclave on Mann Ki Baat was organised today at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi to mark the continued success of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s monthly radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that has reached over 100 crore people across India. The conclave was inaugurated by Vice President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankar in the presence of Guest of Honour, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Thakur. Over 100 esteemed citizens from various parts of the country who have been mentioned by the Prime Minster in various episodes of “Mann Ki Baat” also attended the event. Four panel discussion sessions highlighting the wide-ranging themes of “Nari Shakti”, “Virasat Ka Uthan”, “Jan Samvad Se Atmanirbharta” and “Ahwan Se Jan Andolan”.
The inaugural session was followed by the first and possibly the most significant session on Nari Shakti, a topic which has transcended almost all episodes on ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and is close to the heart of the Prime Minister. The sessions highlighted the transformative impact that Mann Ki Baat has had across the nation in effectively empowering women and bringing them to the forefront of nation building. The Prime Minister has laid emphasis on women-led development as a central dimension of India’s progress and a necessity for strengthening India. In the past nine years, numerous welfare schemes have been launched paving the way to empowering women and making them lead India’s development journey.
The discussion was moderated by renowned anchor and host, Ms. Richa Anirudh and the audiences were mesmerised by the eminent panellists such as Ms. Kiran Bedi, IPS (retired) and former Lt. Governor, Puducherry, Ms. Deepa Malik, athlete, Ms. Raveena Tandon, actress, Mr. Dhimant Parekh, Founder and CEO, The Better India, RJ Nitin, Ms. Nikhat Zareen, boxer and Ms. Poorna Malavath, mountaineer. Ms. Malavath, who is the world’s youngest girl to climb Mount Everest in 2014, completed the seven-summit mountaineering challenge in 2022 and was praised by Prime Minister in Mann Ki Baat in June, 2022.
Ms. Kiran Bedi, in her opening remarks said if we want this country to see a change, we need to change the mindset of parents and elders because it is this mindset that gets passed on to the children and others in the family. She said that the concept of ‘Paraya Dhan’ needs to be changed as it makes women insecure and we need to give women financial independence and make them self-reliant only then will women feel strong. Ms. Bedi added that parents need to convey the message of equality among children and inculcate similar education and skills. Girls need to feel that they are also responsible towards running the household and taking care of their parents. In conclusion, Ms. Bedi emphasised on three things for women empowerment namely financial independence, education & skills and physically and mentally healthy women for which women need to play sports.
Talking about the significance of radio as a forum for change, RJ Nitin said that he strongly believes in radio as an effective medium and has been working in it for 23 years. He added that it is a responsibility of men to ensure women are empowered and if you truly love your mother and sister, then you will work for women empowerment and also ensure that all women are strong enough to find their own opportunities. He said that Radio is a good medium to spread the message far and wide and that is why Prime Minister also chose this medium as this medium has the maximum strength. In closing, he said he is glad to be a part of this and he will ensure that he will make all efforts for women empowerment.
Ms. Raveena Tandon talking about arts as a medium of expression and having done movies with strong women characters and women empowering themes said lots of change has come in the industry which was not there in the 90s and earlier decades. She said that time there was a struggle for actors to increase awareness about social causes as it was considered not box office friendly or depressing movies which the audiences’ wont like. Ms. Tandon said that she tried to do as many movies with a positive social message as possible, daman was one such movie which done in 2000 and 23 years later also marital rape is still an issue and that movie got a national award and rightfully so, as it was ahead of its time and we are still discussing these issues. She added that the correction in society has happened. Women are more assimilated in the industry in all kinds of jobs and they have more opportunities as she has sensitivity and understanding of issues. Today in the industry women are paid more than their male counterparts and they rule the TV industry. Even on OTT platforms women rule. The film industry is slowly but surely moving in this direction. She asserted that women have broken the glass ceiling. In the entire world, India has the maximum number of female pilots. In conclusion she said India is still called a developing country but she does not understand why as women in India have gone ahead by leaps and bounds and left the world behind as far as progress in concerned.
Taking about radio as a powerful medium and Prime Minister talking about women empowerment in almost all episodes, Ms. Raveena Tandon said “firstly I want to congratulate Prasar Bharti and Modi ji for successfully completing the 100 episodes of Mann Ki Baat”. She said the mass outreach of radio and being a very powerful medium for change, and the way PM talks makes everyone feels like it is their own story. She said that the Prime Minister’s idea of Mann Ki Baat to reach all villages and households especially how PM lauds the true heroes from the grassroots through radio is a genius idea and has been highly successful in touching the heart of each and every Indian.
Talking about the selfie with daughters, AWAS yojana and other key schemes, Mr. Dhimant Parekh said, at better India we publish so many positive and inspiring stories and all are led by women and the entire team is women led. He asserted that to bring change we need two things, inspiration and awareness and Mann Ki Baat has brought these two things beautifully together. Mann Ki Baat has inspired us and made us aware about what we can do. Talking about Open Defecation & sanitation, he said that PM spoke about a women who got married and realised that there were no toilets in the entire village where she got, she got all women to come together and petitioned and got 75 toilets constructed in her village and she did not stop there she went back to her maternal village and got more toilets constructed there so she improved two villages and that is true women empowerment and Nari Shakti which shows how inspiration is so important and that is what Mann Ki Baat has been doing so successfully.
Ms. Nikhat Zareen, talking about her meeting with the Prime Minister said that when she won gold in the world championship and got invited by PM Modi, she had only seen him through TV or social media but when she met him, the Hon’ble PM was so casual and calm that she did not feel as if she is talking to the PM but it felt as if she is talking to some elder from her own family. She said that “My father was the support behind my boxing, and PM fulfilled my wish for a selfie and I met him again after commonwealth championship and gifted him boxing gloves as a token of appreciation, meeting the Prime Minister was a good experience and inspiration as she comes from a village and it was a great motivator.”
Elaborating on how Prime minister not just supports the winners but also motivates and inspires the sportspersons who lose, Ms. Zareen said “when I got injured, I was out of boxing for one year and people started saying I will not be able to make a comeback and my career was over but my family supported me and I made the comeback.” She added “Uggtey hue suraj ko sab salaam kartey hai but our hon’ble Prime Minister motivates and inspires us at all times, winning or losing is not important and PM keeps motivating inspiring and asking us to keep playing. This is a big quality in the Prime Minister.”
Ms. Poorna Malavath, who climbed Mount Everest at an age of 13 years said “I never expected I will be able to climb the highest mountain in the world and then meeting the Prime Minister of India was also completely unexpected. I came from a small town and it was a great moment of my life to meet Prime Minister for almost an hour and he spoke to me in such a friendly manner like a family member and was highly motivating and I got great support from him.” She added “I want to thank Modiji for making such a big impact to my life. I am a tribal girl from a poor background, my parents are farmers and opportunities are less but now people know me because I met the Prime Minister and there has been a huge change in my life.” Ms. Malavath asserted that now she is encouraging more girls and made a profession out of her passion and now she is training and encouraging youngsters and expanding this adventure throughout India.
Ms. Deepa Malik is an inspiration for all in India, and is the first female para-athlete to win an Olympic medal in 2016. Highlighting the importance of the change in the mindset of the masses simply by using the word ‘divyang’ instead of ‘Viklang’ which was propagated by the Prime Minister in Mann Ki Baat, She said “It was my pleasure to meet Prime Minister Modi at ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ and PM remembered each and every word of our discussion and heard our Mann Ki baat and said let us focus on abilities over disabilities.” PM through Mann Ki Baat urged all to use the word ‘divyangs’. She asserted that “when PM says something the entire country listens and he makes a deep change in the entire country.” Ms. Malik played out a one minute clip of the Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat wherein PM said that she has defeated her disabled by winning the medal and this is so powerful, it shows their willpower and talent. Ms. Malik stated that women empowerment has been promoted a lot through MKB and especially for divyangs.
Ms. Nikhat Zareen highlighted that Khelo India has made a big change to sports in India as financial support is very important and Khelo India has provided this support to all athletes and especially women athletes who have progressed in sports and made records. She said “Women also inspire others to work harder and play harder.” Talking about the TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme, she said “it is very important for all athletes and the support we get though it inspires us to work harder and get more medals for the nation.”
Ms. Raveena Tandon also talked about being a part of Women20 under the umbrella G20 and said her experience has been excellent and the brainstorming and agenda setting for policy making has been an enriching experience. She added “Women at the grassroot level need to be given an impetus through financial empowerment. This is a country where Nari Shakti was prayed to like a goddess like Chandi, Kali Durga and now we have pilots, bankers, technocrats, sports women, and these are our Nari Shakti.”. She also said “Environment and global warming is close to my heart and women lead the way towards recycling and sustainability and women are the ones that take the society forward and they should spread this light as much as possible as they are very powerful in any role they play”.