Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
New Delhi: Noting that India is a "rich treasure house of many languages, scripts and dialects" with "varied attire, cuisine and culture in different regions" as its hallmark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asserted that "this diversity strengthens us and keeps us united." Addressing the nation during his monthly radio broadcast, "Mann ki Baat," Mr Modi mentioned how India has scored a century in the field of unicorns, urged pilgrims to observe "sadhna" of cleanliness and cited examples of people serving society as the goal of their lives by rising above self and are a "living example of the spirit of Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat."
Stressing on the diversity of languages, Mr Modi cited the example of Kalpana, a native of Uttarakhand, who scored 92 marks in Kannada in the class 10th examination in Karnataka.
Highlighting Kalpana’s success as an example of unity in diversity, Mr Modi said, "The very special thing about Kalpana’s success is that she did not know the Kannada language till some time ago, but she not only learned it in three months, she also proved it by scoring 92 marks… There are many other things about her that will amaze you and will also inspire you. Kalpana is originally from Joshimath in Uttarakhand. She had been suffering from TB earlier and when she was in class three, she lost her eyesight too, but, as they say, where there is a will, there is a way."
He said Kalpana later came in contact with Professor Taramurthy, a resident of Mysuru, who not only encouraged her but also helped her in every way.
Citing the example of Shripati Tudu, from Purulia in West Bengal, Mr Modi said he is a professor of Santhali language at the Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University, Purulia.
"Tudu has prepared a version of the country’s constitution in his native ‘Ol Chiki’ script for the Santhali community. Shripati Tudu ji asserts that our constitution makes every citizen of our country aware of one’s rights and duties. Therefore, it is important for every citizen to be familiar with it. So, he prepared a copy of the Constitution in his own script for the Santhali community and offered it as a gift," Mr Modi said.
Urging pilgrims to perform "sadhna" of cleanliness at holy sites, Mr Modi said that many pilgrims have been posting photographs of heaps of filth, especially at Kerdarnath, but there are some people and organisations that are involved in the Swacch Bharat campaign there as well.
"Going on a holy pilgrimage and coming across a heap of filth there is not right. But friends, in the midst of these complaints, one is getting to see many good pictures too. Where there is faith, there is also positivity. There are many devotees who are worshipping in the Dham of Baba Kedar, as well as performing the sadhna of cleanliness," he noted.
During the radio broadcast, the Prime Minister noted that the number of unicorn companies in India has reached the 100 mark this month. He said even during the Covid pandemic, Indian startups have been creating wealth and value, with entrepreneurs emerging from smaller cities and towns as well.
"A few days ago, the country made an achievement that inspires all of us... instils a new confidence in India's prowess. You must be feeling happy on hearing of the century of a batsman of Team India on the cricket field. But, India has scored a century in another field and it is very special," he said, highlighting the number of such startups reaching the important milestone.
A unicorn means a startup of at least Rs 7,500 crore turnover.
The total valuation of these unicorns is more than USD 330 billion, which is more than 25 lakh crore rupees, he said, adding this is a matter of pride for every Indian.
"You will also be surprised to know that out of our total unicorns, 44 came up last year. Not only that 14 more unicorns were formed anew in 3-4 months this year. This means that even in this phase of the global pandemic, our startups have been creating wealth and value," he said.
Highlighting the creativity and artistic talent of the people of the country, Mr Modi talked about a gift sent to him by a self-help group from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
"This gift bears the fragrance of India and the blessings of matri shakti -- a glimpse of her affection for me. This is a special Thanjavur doll, which also has a GI tag. I offer special thanks to the Thanjavur self help group for sending me this gift imbued in the local culture," said the PM.
He cited the examples of Ram Bhupal Reddy from Markapuram, Andhra Pradesh, who donated all his earnings after retirement for the education of girls and of two brothers -- Kunwar Singh and Shyam Singh -- who made drinking water available for their village in UP’s Agra. The PM said these people have been following the mantra of "serving society by rising above self."