Friday, March 11, 2016

Episode #17, 28 February 2016

My dear fellow citizens, Namaskar. While listening to this month’s Mann Ki Baat, my inner thoughts, your mind must also be on your children’s exams which begin soon. Some of them have their 10th and 12th board exams starting from the 1st of March. That must be playing on your mind. I wish to be a part of this journey along with you. I am concerned about your children’s exams as much as you are, but I am not worried. If we were to change the way we look at exams then we would be tension-free.

When I shared my inner thoughts with you during last month’s Mann ki Baat, I had requested everybody to send their experiences and suggestions to me on Narendra Modi App. It makes me immensely happy that teachers and students who have had successful careers, as also parents and social thinkers, have shared their experiences and suggestions with me.

There are two things that have moved me. First, those who have written to me have a good grip on the subject; and, second, the sheer volume of the response to my request shows dealing with exams is an extremely important matter. Usually the issue of exams has largely remained confined to schools, teachers, students and their families. But the way suggestions have come pouring in through my App, it seems this should be a subject of constant discussion for the entire nation.

Today, during my Mann ki Baat, I would like to share my inner thoughts on exams with parents, students and teachers. I will share some of the things that I have heard, what I have read, and what I have been told. I will add my views on some exam-related issues about which I feel strongly. I am confident that students who will be appearing for exams will find what I have to say immensely useful to them. That’s how I feel about it.

My dear students, before I begin, why not let a well-known world opener make the opening comments about the things and experiences that helped him achieve heights of success in his life? That would definitely be useful for you. He is someone the young generation is proud of and inspired by — Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar. He has sent a message that I will read out to you:

“Namaskar, I am Sachin Tendulkar speaking. I know that the 10th Board Exams are going to commence in a few days from now. Many of you are going to be tense about them. I have only one message for you all. Your parents, your teachers, your family members and your friends have a lot of expectations from you. Wherever you go, you will be asked ‘How are the preparations going? How many marks are you likely to score?’ I would like to say that you should set a target for yourself. Don’t come under the pressure of someone else’s expectations. You should definitely work hard but set a realistic and achievable target for yourself, and then try to achieve that target. When I used to play cricket, there were a lot of expectations from me as well. I faced a lot of difficult moments in these last 24 years and many a times there were good moments too. But people always had high expectations from me. As time passed, their expectations kept growing. So it was necessary for me to find a solution to this. That’s when I decided that I would set expectations for myself and set my own targets. If I set my own targets and I am able to achieve them, then I am sure to do something good for my country. And those were the targets that I would always try to achieve for myself. My focus would be on the ball, and slowly-slowly targets were achieved on their own. I would like to tell all of you that you must have a positive thinking. Positive results will follow. So you must be positive and God will surely give you good results. I am hopeful of that. My best wishes to you all. Please go write your exams, free from tension,and get good results. Good luck!”

Friends, you heard what Tendulkar-ji had to say. Don’t buckle under the pressure of expectations. It is you who have to shape your own future. So set your own targets for yourselves. Keep an open mind, think freely, and assess your own abilities. I am sure that what Sachin-ji has said will prove very helpful for you. Also, why should there be rivalry? Why not healthy competition? Why do we waste our time competing with others? Why don’t we compete with ourselves? Why don’t we decide to break our own previous record? If you were to do that, none would be able to stop you from moving ahead. When you break your own record, you will not have to depend on others for happiness and satisfaction. There will be a sense of inner satisfaction.

Friends, don’t look at exams as a game of numbers. “How much did I score, where did I score?” – don’t get trapped in this score-keeping. You should think of a greater purpose in life. You should have a dream to realise and a goal that you are committed to. Exams are there to only gauge whether we are going the right way or not, whether we are moving at the right speed or not. So, if our dreams are big and magnificent, exams will become a joyful experience. Each exam will then become just one more step towards realizing that dream; each success will turn into a key of realizing that goal. So don’t brood over what is going to happen in these exams this year. Have a large perspective and a goal, and move ahead. Once you do that, even if you achieve less than what you had expected, you will not be disappointed. Rather, it will give you the strength and confidence to try harder and better the next time.

Thousands of people have used their mobile phones to post small messages on my app. Shrey Gupta has stressed the point that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body only. Students should care for their health along with their studies so that they are able to write their exams well, in good health and spirit. On the last day before exams begin, I would not really urge you to start doing push-ups, get down on the field, or go for a 3 to 5 km walk. But one thing is for sure, especially during the days when examinations are held. And that is, your schedule matters. In any case, our daily schedule for all the 365 days in a year should be in line with achieving our dreams and goals.

I agree with the message posted by Shri Prabhakar Reddy — he has specially urged that one should go to sleep at a proper time and get up early in the morning to revise one’s preparation. One should arrive at the examination centre equipped with the admit-card and other things well before time. This is what Prabhakar Reddy has said, something which I would have perhaps dared not to say because I am not very particular when it comes to sleeping. My friends complain to me often that I sleep very little. This is my shortcoming which I will try to overcome.

I do agree that a fixed time to go to sleep and a sound sleep are as important as other activities during the day. This is possible. I am fortunate that although I sleep very less, I sleep very soundly and thus am able to manage with that little sleep. But I would like to request you all to get proper sleep. There are some who are in the habit of chatting over the phone for long hours before going to sleep. And then they ponder over things they chatted about. How can they get proper sleep? When I talk of sleep, please don’t think I am asking you to sleep at the cost of your preparation for the exams. At the time of exams, you should get a good sleep so that you are free from stress and tension. I am not saying that you should keep on sleeping. It should not be that you score low marks and when your mother asks you why you have fared so badly, you reply that it’s because Modiji had asked us to sleep, so I dozed off. I hope you will not do that. I am sure you won’t do anything like that.

Discipline plays a major role in laying the foundation of success in our lives. A strong foundation comes from discipline. Those who are un-organized and undisciplined, do those things in the evening that they should have done in the morning and then the work they had to do in the afternoon is done late at night. They might feel that their job is somehow done but it results in so much wastage of energy and they are also saddled with unnecessary tension each moment. You must have experienced that when one part of your body feels a little bit of pain, the entire body doesn’t feel well. Not just that, our entire routine collapses. So we should not view anything as trivial or unimportant. Please see to it that you don’t compromise on the time you have set for things. Don’t get into this mess. Do things the way you have planned them.

Friends, I have seen that there are two types of students. There are students who focus their attention on what they have studied, what they have learnt, and what are their strong points. The other kind are those students who keep worrying about which type of questions will be asked during exams, whether they will be able to attempt answering them, will the question paper be easy or difficult. You must have noticed this too. Those who are tense and worry about what kind of questions will be asked, end up having a negative impact on their results as well. On the other hand, students who have the confidence in what they know are able to tackle whatever comes in the question paper. Someone who can express this better than me is the person who is a master at checkmating others, who has checkmated some of the greatest minds in the world. He is chess champion Vishwanathan Anand and he will relate his experiences. Come, why don’t you learn how to checkmate in exams from him!
“Hello, this is Viswanathan Anand. First of all, let me start off by wishing you all the best for your exams. I will next talk a little bit about how I went to my exams and my experiences for that. I found that exams are very much like problems you face later in life. You need to be well rested, get a good night’s sleep, you need to be on a full stomach, you should definitely not be hungry and the most important thing is to stay calm. It is very, very similar to a game of Chess. When you play, you don’t know, which pawn will appear, just like in a class you don’t know, which question will appear in an exam. So if you stay calm and you are well nourished and have slept well, then you will find that your brain recalls the right answer at the right moment. So stay calm. It is very important not to put too much pressure on yourself, don’t keep your expectations too high. Just see it as a challenge – do I remember what I was taught during the year, can I solve these problems. At the last minute, just go over the most important things and the things you feel, the topics you feel, you don’t remember very well. You may also recall some incidents with the teacher or the students, while you are writing an exam and this will help you recall a lot of subject matter. If you revise the questions you find difficult, you will find that they are fresh in your head and when you are writing the exam, you will be able to deal with them much better. So stay calm, get a good night’s sleep, don’t be over-confident but don’t be pessimistic either. I have always found that these exams go much better than you fear before. So stay confident and all the very best to you.”

Vishwanathan Anand has really said something very important. You must have also seen that when he plays in international tournaments, he sits with such a healthy composure. He is so focussed. You must have seen his eyes don’t wander off the chess board. We have all heard of how Arjun focussed his attention on the eye of the bird. In the same way, when we watch Vishwanathan playing chess we see his eyes set on the target, focussed on the game very attentively, and that is a reflection of his inner tranquillity. It is difficult to bring that inner peace within you just by someone merely asking you to do so, but one should try. Why don’t we try to do that in a light-hearted manner? If we were to keep smiling and laughing all through the exam days, we would find inner peace. If you don’t speak to your friends, walk alone, and your face droops flipping through the pages of so many books at the last moment, then you cannot have peace of mind. Laugh a lot along with your friends, share jokes with them, and just see how a calm atmosphere is created on its own.
Just imagine yourself standing at the edge of a pond and you can see beautiful things at its bottom. Suddenly someone throws a stone into the water and there are ripples on the surface. Would you be able to see those beautiful things at the bottom like before? If the water is still, then no matter how deep it is, everything at the bottom can be seen. But if the water is agitated, we can see nothing through it.

There is a lot within you, the treasure as a result of the hard work of a whole year is filled inside you, but if your mind is troubled, you will not be able to discover that wealth. If you have a peaceful mind, then that treasure of yours is going to surface to the top and your exam will turn so very simple for you.

I would like to tell you a little thing about myself. There are times when while listening to a lecture or trying to understand some aspect of governance about which I need to know more, I have to concentrate on what is being said. There are occasions when if I have to strain myself to concentrate, I feel an inner stress building up. Then I realize that if I relax a bit, I will feel better. So here is a technique I have developed for myself. I do deep-breathing. I breathe deeply three to five times. Not more than 50 seconds are spent on this but my mind is at rest and ready to be focused on matters at hand. This is my experience and it might be of help to you as well.

Rajat Agarwal has told us something good. He wrote on my app that we should spend half an hour every day with friends and family to feel relaxed. We should chat with them. This is something very important Rajat-ji has told us because what most of us do is that when we return after an exam, we sit down to calculate what we did right and what we did wrong. And if we have educated parents, on top of it parents who are teachers themselves, then they almost end up making us re-write the entire paper. They ask us what we wrote, then start adding numbers to calculate how much we will score, whether it will be 40, 80 or 90. In this way, your mind is totally consumed by what is already over. And what do you do? You also talk about the same thing with your friends over the phone. “What did you write, what was your answer, what did you do, what do you think… Oh! I got that one wrong… I made a mistake there… Oh dear, I knew the answer to that question but I couldn’t remember it then…” We just get caught in all that. Friends, please don’t do this. What happens in the examination hall is over and done there itself. Please chat about otherthings with your family, talk of other topics, refresh your mind with some light banter. If you have gone on holidays with your parents, then try and remember what you saw. Just come out of that exam mindset and spend half an hour with your parents. What Rajat ji has said is worth pondering over.

Friends, what can I tell you about peace of mind today, before you go for your exams. A message has come for you from someone, who is essentially a teacher-turned-a-value educator. From giving interpretations of the Ram Charit Manas in the present day context, he is now involved with trying to spread its values in the country and to the whole world. Our revered Murari Bapu has sent some important tips for students. He is a teacher and a thinker, and for this reason what he has to say is a blend of both.

“I am Murari Bapu speaking and I would like to tell my student friends not to carry any load on their minds during the exams. Decide upon clear thinking, focus your mind wholly and go sit for the exam. And whatever situation appears, accept it. My experience has been that we can remain happy by accepting the circumstances. If you progress ahead in your exams fearlessly and happily, you are sure to gain success. And even if you are not successful, you will not have any remorse. Nor will you be arrogant of your success. I would like to conclude my message with a couplet – ‘It cannot be that one succeeds each time. Learn to also live with failures’. I felicitate this program Mann ki Baat presented by our honorable Prime Minister and my best wishes to all.”

I am also grateful to our revered Murari Bapu for such a nice message.

Friends I want to tell you about another thing today. I see that in the experiences that people have shared with me, they have spoken a lot about Yoga. And this is a matter of joy to me. Everybody I meet, no matter for how short a time, has something to say about Yoga. This is irrespective of whether the person is from another country or from India. It’s nice to hear that so much attraction has grown for Yoga, so much curiosity has developed for Yoga.

Just see how many people on my mobile App… Shri Atanu Mandal, Shri Kunal Gupta, ShriSushant Kumar, Shri K.G. Anand, ShriAbhijeet Kulkarni… countless people have spoken about meditation and emphasized the beneficial effect of Yoga. Friends, if I ask you to start doing Yoga from tomorrow morning then that would be unfair. But those who are already practising Yoga should not stop it during exam time. If you do Yoga, keep doing it. One thing is for sure, whether it is your student days or any other phase of your life, Yoga is a major key to the development of your inner mind. It is one of the simplest keys; you must pay more attention to it.

Yes, if you have someone nearby who knows Yoga, and if you ask them during your exams, and even if you have never done Yoga before, they will surely be able to tell you a few things to do in Yoga that can very easily be done in a few minutes. See if you can do it. I have a lot of faith in Yoga.
My dear young friends, you are in a great hurry to enter the examination hall, you are in a rush to quickly be seated in your place. But why should you do these things in a hurry. Why can’t you manage your time in such a way that even if you are held up in traffic, you can still reach in time for your exam. Otherwise such hurdles can cause new stress. One more thing: With the limited time that we have, we feel that going through the question paper with all the instructions is going to consume a lot of our time. It is not like that dear friends. You must read those instructions very carefully, at most five minutes will be spent in that, but it will not cause any loss. In fact, it will be quite profitable as things become clearer for you and later you won’t have any regrets. I have seen that when we get the question paper, sometimes we find that it has been modelled on a new pattern. But if we have read the instructions with due attention, we can cope well with it. We know – Ah! Yes, that’s the way we have to go about it! I urge you all that even though it takes 5 minutes of your time, you must go through the question paper carefully.

Yash Nagar writes on my mobile App that when he read a question paper for the first time he found it quite difficult, but when he read the same paper with self-confidence telling himself, “this is the only paper I have got and no other questions are going to be given, I have to deal with just these many questions, and so when I started thinking over them again”, he writes, “I was able to understand this paper quite easily… When I read the questions the first time, I felt I did not know the answers to them, but when I read them again, then I realised that the questions had been posed in a different way.” It is very important to understand the questions. When we don’t understand the questions, that’s when we sometimes find them difficult. I forcefully support the point that Yash Nagar has made. You must read the questions twice, thrice, four times over and try to match them with the things that you know and you will find that answering them becomes simple even before you have actually answered them.
It gives me great joy to share with you a message from Bharat Ratna C N R Rao, our most esteemed scientist. He has emphasized the virtue of patience. He has given a brief but very beautiful message to all students. Come,let me tell you the message of Shri Rao.
“This is C.N.R. Rao from Bangalore. I fully realise that the examinations cause anxiety. That too competitive examinations. Do not worry, do your best. That’s what I tell all my young friends. At the same time remember, that there are many opportunities in this country. Decide what you want to do in life and don’t give it up. You will succeed. Do not forget that you are a child of the universe. You have a right to be here like the trees and the mountains. All you need is doggedness, dedication and tenacity. With these qualities you will succeed in all examinations and all other endeavours. I wish you luck in everything you want to do. God Bless.”

See the style of talking that a scientist has! What I take half an hour to say, he says in a few minutes. This is the strength of science and this is the strength that the mind of a scientist possesses. I am grateful to Shri Raofor inspiring the children of the country. The things that he mentioned about dedication, determination, diligence… just keep at it my friends. If you keep going, then even fear will be afraid. And a golden future awaits you for doing well.

Ruchika Dabas has sent a message on my App and shared her experience. She writes that in her family during exams there is a constant effort to create a positive atmosphere. This is true for the neighbouring families as well. All contributed to a positive environment. This is the way it should be. Sachin ji also talked of a positive approach, a positive frame of mind. We have to radiate a positive energy.
There are many things that inspire us, and don’t think that they inspire only students. No matter at which point of life you are at, fine examples and true stories give great inspiration, great strength, and pave a new path in times of trouble. We have all read about the inventor of the electric bulb, Thomas Alva Edison. But friends, have you ever thought how many years he spent on his work, how many times he met with failure, how much time had to be devoted, how much money was spent, how much disappointment he must have faced when he met with failures. But today that electric bulb illuminates our lives. This is what is called the seeds of success inherent in failures.

Who doesn’t know of Srinivas Ramanujam, one of the greatest names among modern Indian mathematicians? Do you know that he had no formal education in Mathematics? Yet he made a significant contribution to various topics like mathematical analysis, number theory, etc. He had a life riddled with difficulties. Despite that, he gave a lot to this world before passing away. J.K. Rowling is a fine example to show that success can come in anyone’s life at any time. The Harry Potter series is now popular worldwide. But it was not like that from the start. She had to face many difficulties, many problems. J. K. Rowling has herself said that in times of trouble she would channelize all her energies into tasks that had real significance for her.
Exams are not just for the students, they also put the students’ families, schools and teachers to test. Without the support system of parents and teachers, the students would not stand a good chance. If teachers, parents and even senior students all combine to form a team, a unit with a common thinking, and in a planned way move forward, then exams become a lot easier.

Keshav Vaishnav has written to me on my App, complaining that parents should never put pressure on their children to score more marks. They should only motivate them to prepare well for their exams. They should think about the need for their child to stay relaxed.
Vijay Jindal writes that parents should not burden their children with their own expectations. They should boost the confidence of their children as much as possible. They should help maintain their children’s faith in themselves. And this is so right.

Today, I don’t want to say much to the parents. Please don’t create any pressure for your children. If they are talking to any friend of theirs, please don’t stop them. Build a light-hearted environment for them, a positive environment, and see for yourself, be it your son or daughter, what confidence they are infused with. You will be able to see that confidence in your child yourself.

Friends, one thing is for sure, and I want to say this especially to my young friends, that our life has become very different from what it was for the previous generations. Every moment there is a new innovation, a new technology. We get to see new facets of science all the time. Its impact is overwhelming; we all want to link ourselves to science and technology. We also want to move ahead with the speed of science. I say all this because, friends, today is National Science Day, the festival of science in this country. Every year this day is observed on 28th February. On 28th February 1928, Sir C.V. Raman had declared his discovery of the “Raman Effect”. This was the discovery for which he received the Nobel Prize. And so the nation celebrates this day as National Science Day. Curiosity is the mother of science. Each person should have a scientific thinking, should be attracted to science. Each generation should lay stress on innovation. And innovation is not possible without science and technology. Today on National Science Day we should resolve that innovation should gain importance. Science, knowledge, technology… all these things should be a part of our journey to development. This year the theme for National Science Day is ‘Make in India Science and Technology-driven Innovations’. I humbly pay my homage to Sir C.V. Raman and I appeal to you all to raise the level of your interest in science.

Friends, sometimes success comes very late and when it does come to us, our way of looking at life changes completely. As you have been kept very busy with the coming exams, it might be possible that many news stories may not have registered on your minds. But I want to repeat this for all fellow citizens as well. You must have heard recently there has been a major and important discovery in the world of science. Scientists have labored hard, generations of them have persevered, and after nearly 100 years they have gained a huge success. Gravitational Wave has been brought to light with the efforts of our scientists. This is a success for science which was very difficult to achieve. This discovery not only proves the theory of our greatest scientist of the previous century, Albert Einstein, but is also considered a great discovery for the world of physics. It is going to be of use for the whole of humankind. But being Indians, we should all feel happy that in the entire process of this discovery, the sons of our country, our worthy Indian scientists, were also a part of it. I would like to extend my hearty congratulations to all those scientists. Our scientists will be involved in the future as well to take this discovery forward; India will be a part of future international efforts.

My dear fellow citizens, in the last few days we have taken an important decision. To gain more success about this discovery, the Government of India has decided to install a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, in short it is called LIGO, here in India. This kind of a facility exists only in two places in the world. India is going to be the third. This process is going to gain fresh momentum and strength with India joining hands with others. India, with its reputed resources, will surely be an active participant in this superior science discovery which is for the welfare of humankind. I once again congratulate all scientists and send them my best wishes.

My dear fellow citizens, I would like you to note down one number. From tomorrow, you can give a missed call on this number and listen to Mann ki Baat. You can even listen to it in your mother tongue. The number to give a missed call on is 81908-81908. I repeat 81908-81908.

Friends, your exams begin from day after tomorrow. I have to take an exam tomorrow. 125 crore people of this country are going to take my exam. You know it, don’t you? Tomorrow is Budget Day. 29th February. It is a leap year. But, you must have noticed and felt it while you heard me speak how fit and brimming with confidence I am. My exam gets over tomorrow and yours begin the dayafter. Let us hope we all are successful, then the country will surely succeed.

So friends lots of good wishes to you all. Free from all tension of success and failure, move ahead with a free mind. Keep going at it.

Thank You.