New Delhi: Reiterating his policy of "no bouquet, just a book", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the nation to inculcate a habit of reading books regularly.
Addressing the nation on the first episode of the 'Mann Ki Baat' radio programme after coming to power, Modi urged citizens to hold discussions on books they read and why they liked them.
"In this digital era of Google guru, I request to you - please devote some time for reading. You will love this exercise. I urge you all to talk about the books you read on the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App.' Let us have discussions on the books we read and why we liked them," he said.
"My dear countrymen, you must have heard it several times from me 'No Bouquet, But Book', My insistence has been to gift books rather than giving bouquet while meeting and greeting other people, and several people have now started gifting books," Modi added.
Recalling an incident wherein he was gifted a book containing popular short stories by Premchand, the Prime Minister said the situations were relatable to incidents prevailing in the present day.
"His (Premchand's) stories depict human emotions that have touched me deep inside. Entire India is reflected in his stories, although these stories are century old but still relevant. While reading one of his stories 'Nashaa', I couldn't help but notice the scourge of economic disparity plaguing society," he observed.
"The other story that touched the core of my heart was 'Eidgah', a story of Hamid, a young lad's love for his grandmother. The moral of this story holds a very vital truth about life," he said, adding, "Another such poignant story is 'Poos Ki Raat'. In this story, the living depiction of the paradoxes in a poor farmer's life is seen."
In his first radio address after assuming office, the Prime Minister also touched upon the period of Emergency, Lok Sabha elections, and Yoga Day celebrations, among other topics.