File photo of a farmer in Ludhiana burning paddy stubble. (Source: PTI)

PM Modi Praises Punjab Farmers For Shunning Stubble Burning

Amid concerns over rising air pollution in the national capital region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday hailed farmers from Punjab who do not burn stubble in fields.

He also said, while the world, especially the West, is discussing environment protection and trying to find new ways to adopt a balanced lifestyle, India is also facing a similar problem.

“But, for its solution, we only have to look inwards, to look into our glorious past and our rich traditions and have especially to understand the lifestyle of our tribal communities,” he said.

In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, he praised the north-eastern states for making "grand progress" in organic farming.

Referring to the issue of stubble burning in fields which leads to massive air pollution, he referred to Gurbachan Singh, a Punjab farmer who asked he would be parents-in-law to promise that they will not burn “parali” or stubble in their fields.

“You can well imagine the social strength this statement had. This point made by Gurbachan Singh ji appears quite ordinary but this reveals how tall and strong his personality is and we have seen that many families in our society connect their matters with the benefit of the society as a whole,” he said.

He said people of Kallar Majra in Nabha district of Punjab mix the stubble with the sand by ploughing their fields rather than burning the stubble and adopt the necessary technology for the process.

“Congratulations to bhai Gurbachan Singh ji! Congratulations to the people of Kallar Majra and of all those places who are making their best efforts to keep the environment clean and pollution free. All of you are carrying forward the Indian tradition of a healthy lifestyle as a true successor. Just as a collection of tiny drops form a sea, similarly, a small constructive step plays a vital role in creating a positive environment,” he said.

The Prime Minister also referred to how the tribes and their traditions and rituals are the best examples of coexistence with nature.

“This is one subject that inspires us to look into our dignified past and our ancient traditions,” he said.

“Our country is also facing this problem. But, for its solution, we only have to look inwards, to look into our glorious past and our rich traditions and have especially to understand the lifestyle of our tribal communities. To live in consonance and close coordination with nature has been an integral part of our tribal communities. Our tribal brethren worship trees and plants and flowers like gods and goddesses.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

He referred to Bhils of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Bishnois of Rajasthan and Mishmi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh to drive home his point. Modi said while the tribal community believes in peaceful and harmonious co-existence, if somebody tries to harm and cause damage to their natural resources, they don't shy away from fighting for their rights.

He gave the example of Birsa Munda, who struggled against the British Empire to save forest land.