PM MODI’S EXAM WARRIORS
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.
Exam Warriors by Narendra Modi Penguin `100; pp 208