Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 18, inaugurated the centenary year celebrations of Mathrubhumi newspaper. Extending his greetings to all those associated with the newspaper, the PM said Mathrubhumi is a key part of the glorious tradition of newspapers and periodicals founded all across India to unify the people of our nation against colonial rule. The following are the excerpts from his speech:
A glorious tradition of newspapers and journals was founded all across India to unify the people of our nation against colonial rule. Looking back at our history, several greats have been associated with some of the papers. Lokmanya Tilak nurtured Kesari and Mahratta, Gopal Krishna Gokhale was associated with Hitavada, Prabuddha Bharat was associated with Swami Vivekananda; when we remember Mahatma Gandhi, we also remember his works in Young India, Navjivan, and Harijan. Shyamji Krishna Varma edited The Indian Sociologist. I have just given a few examples. The list is endless.
India is marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. We did not have the opportunity to sacrifice our lives during the freedom struggle for Swarajya. However, this Amrit Kaal gives us the opportunity to work towards a strong, developed, and inclusive India. For any nation to develop, making good policies is one aspect. But, to enable the policies to succeed and to ensure that large-scale transformation takes place, active participation from all walks of society is needed. For that, the media plays a critical role. In the years gone by, I have seen the positive impact the media can play. The example of the Swachh Bharat Mission is well known. Every media house took up this mission with great sincerity. The media has played a very encouraging role in popularising Yoga, fitness, and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. These are subjects beyond the domain of politics and political parties. They are about making a better nation in the coming years. In addition to this, more can be done keeping in mind Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. These days, we see that people are highlighting lesser-known events of the freedom struggle and unsung freedom fighters. The media can be a great means to amplify this further.
In the same way, every town or village has places associated with the freedom movement. Not much is known about them. We could highlight those places and encourage people to visit them. Can we encourage the upcoming writers from non-media backgrounds and give them a platform to showcase their writing skills? One of India’s biggest strengths is its diversity. Can we think about making keywords of other languages popular through your media properties? In today’s day and age, the world has many expectations from India. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit our shores, it was speculated that India would not be able to manage things well. The people of India proved these critics wrong. We used the last two years to improve the health of our society and the health of our economy. For two years, 80 crore people got access to free ration. One hundred eighty crore doses of vaccines have been administered. In a time when many nations are unable to overcome vaccine hesitancy, the people of India have shown the way.
Powered by India’s talented youth, our nation is moving towards Atmanirbharta or self-reliance. This principle aims to make India an economic powerhouse that caters to domestic and global needs. Unprecedented reforms were brought in, which will boost economic progress. Production Linked Incentive Schemes were introduced in different sectors to encourage local enterprise. India’s start-up ecosystem has never been more vibrant. Youngsters from Tier-2 Tier-3 towns and villages are doing excellent work. Today, India is leading the world in the field of technological advancement. In just the past four years, UPI transactions have increased over 70 times. This shows the eagerness of our people to embrace positive changes.
We fully understand the importance of next-generation infrastructure. Rupees 110 Lakh crore are being spent on a National Infrastructure Pipeline. PM Gatishakti is going to make infra creation and governance more seamless. We are actively working to ensure every village of India has high-speed internet connectivity. The guiding principle of our efforts is to ensure that future generations lead a better lifestyle than the present ones. Years ago, when Mahatma Gandhi visited Mathrubhumi, he had said, and I quote: Mathrubhumi is an institution that has stood firmly on its own feet. Only can a few newspapers in India do this. Hence amongst the newspapers of India, the Mathrubhumi has a unique position.