This Sunday turned out to be a little unusual for a 17-year-old girl from Dehradun. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his 30th episode of Mann ki Baat, read out a message she had sent him in front of the entire nation.
Gayatri Pegwal from the Deep Nagar locality of Dehradun instantly earned the status of a local celebrity. Her message on Working towards a cleaner India was aired during Modi’s radio show. The residents of the Doon valley basked in the glory when Gayatri’s message became a part of the speech.
A student from the Government Girls Inter College, she is the eldest daughter of Chaya Devi and Gulab Singh. In her message, she said,
We need to make people understand how important cleanliness is. On a daily basis, the area I pass through while on my way to school has a river near the Rispana bridge filled with filth and garbage where many people litter and spread pollution, and despite taking out rallies about awareness through our school's NSS initiatives, the problem continues. I wish you send a team that can address this issue or get this issue highlighted and addressed through the media.
In a TOI report, she expressed her excitement,
I had tried sending a letter to Modi in January, which was probably not delivered. It was recently, on March 24, that I had sent this audio-clip on the toll-free number, and I was on cloud nine when Modi spoke about me and this issue in the 30th episode. I want to become an IAS officer and work towards women's issues, mainly their education, and of course, cleanliness!
She also said,
When the PM, who was a chaiwala at one point of time in his life, can break barriers and lead the nation, and also pick a broom to deliver the message of cleanliness, then why can't each one of us do the same? It would be easier to clean our country if everybody cooperates.
Gayatri’s parents and family, who were visibly excited by this development, said,
We are proud of her. Everybody should have a daughter like our Gayatri. It is important that girls are given the freedom to excel and raise their voices. We are glad we are giving her the right education and platform, and hope her initiative can inspire people to work towards a cleaner country.
PM Modi, in his 30th Mann ki Baat episode, mentioned her and stated, "Here is a girl narrating her plight and being angry about the garbage situation in the river; this indeed is a great start. I want the entire population of the country to get angry at uncleanliness, as anger for the same will propel the citizens to undertake steps towards cleanliness. I like the fact that she tried to work on the issue, and more people are getting aware about the subject. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is more related to "Aadat badalne ka andolan"- embracing a habit to work towards keeping the country clean. I hope the young generation will play a crucial role in this."