Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to "feel the fragrance of India's diversity" by travelling within the country and said making efforts to learn culture, attire and eating habits of different states.
Addressing his monthly radio programme "Mann ki Baat", which has completed three years on Sunday, Modi said it reflects people's minds and expressions. He also urged people to take up khadi, lauded a Kashmir youth single-handedly carrying on a cleanliness campaign in his state, and two army widows, who have themselves got commissioned into the service.
He also expressed satisfaction at the momentum the "Swachh Bharat" campaign had attained.
Stressing it was a matter of concern when people visit foreign countries and get impressed by "mere superficial glitter" but often do not know enough of the country's enormous diversity, Modi said that there will be value addition in tourism only when people travel not merely as visitors but also as students.
He added the experience he had gained by visiting 500 districts and staying in about 450 of them was coming handy in his role as Prime Minister.
"We should feel India's diversity, touch it, feel its fragrance...Impressed by mere superficial glitter we have started enjoying touring foreign countries only. You travel around the world, I have no issues but have a look at your own country too... Our country is full of such myriad diversities."
Citing examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak, Swami Vivekanand and former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Modi said they had tried to live India within themselves.
"Can we make an effort as a student to learn, understand and try to live as per the traditions, culture, beliefs of different states? There will be a valuable addition in tourism only when we travel not only as a visitor but also like a student and make efforts to assimilate, understand and adapt."
Modi also asked people to send him their choices of top seven tourism destinations in their states and said these will be scrutinised to make a list which will be popularised. He also urged people to share information about what they see as the best tourism destinations in the country, saying they can act as a major catalyst in promoting tourism by sharing experiences, photographs with the hashtag 'Incredible India' and also writing good travelogues.
He said unity in diversity is not a mere slogan but "a storehouse of enormous energy" and dream of "Ek Bharat - Shreshtha Bharat" was inherent in this.
The Prime Minister urged people to take forward the Khadi movement, saying it was a means to help the poor. "We should follow the spirit of helping the poor to be able to light a Diwali lamp," he said.
He congratulated B18-year-old Bilal Dar, who has been working towards cleanliness for the past about five years and removes plastic, polythene, used bottles and other kinds of waste from Wular Lake. Modi praised Srinagar Municipal Corporation for appointing him its brand ambassador.
He lauded Lt. Nidhi Dubey and Lt. Swati Mahadik, who earlier this month joined Indian Army as officers after their husbands died while on duty, describing them as two "extraordinary brave" women officers who evoked a new inspiration among millions of countrymen.
Terming 'Mann ki Baat' "a journey of our countrymen, their emotions and their feelings," he said that he had kept his radio programme away from political hues.
Modi said he also experienced through "Mann ki Baat" that even a tiny incident can launch a massive campaign.
"The nation is always ready to move in the right direction. Every citizen of the country wants to do something for the benefit of others, for social good, for the country's progress. This is the most valuable capital and enormous strength for any country," he said.
Referring to cleanliness campaign, Modi said it is moving from "Sankalp" (resolve) to "Siddhi" (attainment) and said everyone has got connected. He said now people resist if someone litters in public place.