India Today - - INSIDE -

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi knows a thing or two about tim­ing. His book, Exam War­riors—208 pages worth of tips to han­dle ex­am­i­na­tion-re­lated stress— was launched be­fore the on­set of the exam sea­son. It’s also the time of year when the pres­sure to per­form leads to de­pres­sion- and anx­i­ety-re­lated sui­cides among stu­dents. Ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and hu­man re­source devel­op­ment min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar re­leased the book on Fe­bru­ary 4. The min­is­ters dili­gently went through ev­ery chap­ter of the book in the two-hour pro­gramme be­fore an au­di­ence con­sist­ing of am­bas­sadors, bu­reau­crats, jour­nal­ists, stu­dents and teach­ers.

The book is a col­lage of in­spi­ra­tional words, il­lus­tra­tions, mantras and strate­gies to calm the young mind. It talks of 18 asanas, gives ad­vice on dis­ci­pline, how to make mind maps of spe­cific top­ics, Modi’s per­sonal anec­dotes, quotes from Swami Vivekananda that fo­cus on “Aham Brah­masmi” (each soul is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the divine) on be­ing your own an­chor and cel­e­brat­ing your in­di­vid­ual strengths, about the per­ils of cheat­ing and the im­por­tance of be­ing grate­ful.

The book was born out of feed­back for the Prime Min­is­ter’s Mann ki Baat ra­dio pro­gramme in which he has fre­quently at­tempted to reach out to the youth and stu­dents.

Modi’s ab­sence from the book launch on Fe­bru­ary 4 was ev­i­dently de­lib­er­ate. He is sav­ing his ap­pear­ance for the grand un­veil­ing of the book at a town hall-like gath­er­ing of 15,000 stu­dents in Delhi’s Talkatora Sta­dium. Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts are un­likely to miss the big pic­ture—a re­shap­ing of the Prime Min­is­ter as a be­nign, avun­cu­lar fig­ure. Ex­hort­ing the youth to vote and bring in a pos­i­tive change in democ­racy, dur­ing his De­cem­ber 31 ra­dio ad­dress, Modi had re­marked, “All those born in 2000 will turn 18 in 2018.” A record 100 mil­lion first-time vot­ers be­came el­i­gi­ble to cast their votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. An equal num­ber of first-time vot­ers could be queu­ing up to vote dur­ing the up­com­ing assem­bly and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In a way, it will be Modi fac­ing an ex­am­i­na­tion very soon.

—Sh­weta Punj


Exam War­riors by Naren­dra Modi Pen­guin `100; pp 208

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