Surankote's Anjum receives Modi's praises in last Mann Ki Baat of 2017

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/31/2017 11:26:26 PM

JAMMU: The inspirational story of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak, a boy natively from Poonch's Surankoye and the topper of the Kashmir Administrative Service examination was showered praises by none other Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, during his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' address, which was also the last of 2017.
Removal of the restriction of having a male guardian or 'mahram' for Muslim women taking the Haj pilgrimage, under the new Haj policy, was also hailed by the Prime Minister as a decision "having a far reaching impact on our image as a society", who touched upon a number of other issues as well. As Modi urged people to take concrete steps to make a "progressive India" in the new year, he recounted an inspirational story of Anjum Bashir Khan Khattak, the topper of the Kashmir Administrative Service examination.
"He actually extricated himself from the sting of terrorism and hatred and topped in the Kashmir Administrative Examination. You will be surprised to know that terrorists had set his ancestral home on fire in 1990," Modi said, adding that terrorism and violence were so widespread there that his family had to leave their ancestral land and flee.
"For a young child, such an atmosphere of violence could easily create darkness and bitterness in heart, but Anjum did not let it be so and he never gave up hope. He chose a different path, a path of serving the people," he said.
Anjum, later in the day, termed praises from Prime Minister as a 'huge inspiration' to work for the development and progress of the society.
"First of all I am grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji for mentioning me in today's 'Mann Ki Baat'. I will surely get huge inspiration from his statement to work for the development and progress of the society. I did not believe it when I was told that he named me today," he said while talking to a newswire.
He asked the youth to explore their potential in areas of their interest and contribute towards peace and development.
"I want the youth of Jammu and Kashmir should not take part in negative activities like violence, drug addiction or terrorism. I am always there to help all those aspirants who are preparing for competitive exams. One should always remain positive in his/her life. The talent of the youth should be utilised in a positive manner. I have got huge encouragement from the prime minister of India. I am highly motivated after his words. After all he is the executive head of our nation," he added.
In his 39th radio address to the nation, terming the policy of allowing Muslim women to perform Haj only in the company of a male guardian as "injustice", Prime Minister said his government has removed the restriction following which hundreds of women have applied to travel alone for the pilgrimage.
According to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, now Muslim women aged above 45 will be allowed to go for the pilgrimage without 'mahram' in a group of at least four.
"Removal of the restriction may appear as a "small thing", but such issues "have a far reaching impact on our image as a society," Modi said.
He said when he first heard of the restriction, he was surprised as to who wold have drafted such a rule. "Why this discrimination? And when I went into the depth of the matter I was surprised to find that even after 70 years of our independence, we were the ones who had imposed these restrictions. For decades, injustice was being rendered to Muslim women but there was no discussion on it," he said in his broadcast.
Urging the youth who turn 18 tomorrow to register as electors, PM said their votes would prove to be the bedrock of New India.
He suggested that 'mock Parliament' be organised around August 15 in Delhi, comprising a young representative selected from every district of the country who would deliberate on how a new India could be formed in the next five years.
He said mock parliaments should be organised in every district before the proposed event in August in the national capital.
Modi also recalled his meeting with young girls from the Jammu and Kashmir and said he was amazed at the spirit that they had, the enthusiasm that was there in their hearts and the dreams they nurtured.
He said people born in the year 2000 or later would gradually begin to become eligible voters from January 1, 2018.
"The Indian democracy welcomes the voters of the 21st century, the 'new India voters'. I congratulate our youth and urge them to register themselves as voters.
"The entire nation is eager to welcome you as voters of the 21st century...your vote will prove to be the bedrock of new India. The power of the vote is the greatest strength of a democracy. It is the most effective tool in bringing about a positive change in the lives of millions of people," he said.
According to the Election Commission, 13,430,193 people who were 18-19 years of age voted in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
" India will be free from the poison of casteism, communalism, terrorism and corruption; free from filth and poverty. In the New India everyone will have equal opportunity and aspirations and wishes of everyone will be fulfilled. New India will be a place where peace, unity and amity will be our guiding force," Modi said in his broadcast.
On cleanliness, Modi said a change can now be seen in the form of public participation in rural and urban areas alike.
He said Cleanliness Survey 2018, the largest in the world, will be conducted from January 4 to March 10 to evaluate the achievements of the mission in urban areas. This survey will cover a population of more than 40 crore in over 4,000 cities.
He said this Republic Day, not one but ten chief guests would grace the January 26 parade at Rajpath.
"...January 26, 2018 will especially be remembered through the ages. The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all ten ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries coming to India as chief guests...this is unprecedented in India's history," he said.

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