WASHINGTON: Indian Americans on Sunday celebrated 100 episodes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship radio programme, “Mann Ki Baat”.
External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar decided to tune in to the programme live with the diaspora in New Jersey at 1.30 am (local time) on Sunday, hailing it as a platform that has “an emotional connect” between PM Modi and the people of India.
“10 years ago if he had mentioned that at 2.10 at night everyone would be assembling at some place and the foreign minister of India would be with you, listening to the Prime Minister of India, none of you would have believed me,” Jaishankar told members of the diaspora.
“You have to understand that PM Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ has an enormous impact not because the medium is 100 years old, somewhere there is an emotional connect between PM Modi and the people of India,” Jaishankar noted.
Also participating in the event and jointly listening to Prime Minister Modi were India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and the Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal. The event was attended by not just the top Indian diplomats, but also Indian-American lawmakers Senator Kevin Thomas, Assembly woman Jenifer Rajkumar and Edison (city) Mayor Sam Joshi.
Jaishankar who is here after concluding his official visit to Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, made the remarks while addressing the community event, attended by the members of the Indian community in the early hours of Sunday.
PM Modi’s address was also broadcast live at the Indian Embassy in Washington and all five consulates across the United States tuned in to listen including the Silicon Valley. Indian Consul General in San Francisco TV Nagendra Prasad on Sunday tweeted: “In #Siliconvalley, hundreds gathered to listen to Hon’ble @narendramodi #MannKiBaatAt10 late night @FalconXUS hall. Thanks to @DiyaTV @tvasianetwork @yoindiatv @IndiaPost_News and others for joining to cover the event. @CGISFO @AkashvaniAIR @MIB_India @MEAIndia”
The 30-minute programme was also broadcast at the United Nations headquarters in New York, again in the wee hours.
Indian Permanent Mission to UN on Sunday tweeted: “A singular connect! Special moments from the Trusteeship Council at UN Headquarters, New York, where #MannKiAtBaat100 went LIVE, leaving all inspired and motivated.” BJP workers settled in the US also gathered in different venues that were set up for people to listen to the prime minister’s broadcast.
In his recorded address celebrating the centenary episode of the programme, PM Modi said that the platform had provided him with a solution to “connect with the common man”.
A local radio station Intense FM based in the DC Metro area also played Mann ki Baat’s 100th episode later in the day. PM Modi on Sunday also interacted with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in the 100th episode of his monthly radio broadcast. The Director-General of UNESCO not only wished the countrymen for the wonderful journey of the 100th episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ but also asked questions on education and cultural preservation in India.
“I have received another special message from Audrey Azoulay, DG, UNESCO regarding ‘Mann Ki Baat’. She has wished all the countrymen for this wonderful journey of 100th episode,” PM Modi said during his 100th Mann Ki Baat address.
Audrey Azoulay is a French civil servant and politician, who has been serving as the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) since 2017, emerging as the second woman leader in the organisation.
Speaking to PM Modi during his radio broadcast, the UNESCO Chief said, “Dear Prime Minister, on behalf of UNESCO, I thank you for this opportunity to be part of the hundredth episode of the Mann Ki Baat radio broadcast. UNESCO and India have a long common history. We have very strong partnerships together in all areas of our mandate education, science, culture and information.” (ANI)