Modi On Man Vs Wild: What He Did And What He Said About Nature, His Childhood, And His Message To The Youth

Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Chaitra Krishnan MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 5 years

We’ve seen many world leaders and policymakers trying to work positively towards environment conservation. But to get into the wild and interact with nature just the way our species used to centuries ago (and not in a safari vehicle), isn’t everyone’s piece of cake. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the man leading the world’s largest democracy proved that he has always been one with nature by spending some quality time with Bear Grylls on Discovery channel’s Man Vs Wild show. The episode that aired on Monday night at IST 9:00 PM was awaited by the whole world ever since Bear Grylls shared its teaser on Twitter a couple of days ago.

The show is all about being able to survive in the wild with bare minimum commodities, by using whatever is in your backpack. Bear Grylls has proven his ability to survive in the most difficult terrains and gruesome jungles by attacking the predators and has also become a predator himself when needed. However, it was a first for Modi to embark upon an adventure of the same kind. Let’s take a sneak peek into the highlights of the show.

The Start Of The Episode

Image: Twitter

The episode starts with Bear Grylls landing in the Jim Corbett National Park situated in the state of Uttarakhand on a helicopter. Jim Corbett National Park is India’s oldest wildlife sanctuary and was established in 1936. It is named after Jim Corbett, a famous naturalist, and hunter who killed man-eating tigers and leopards. However, the sanctuary was established to protect India’s national animal, the Bengal tiger! And the essence of the entire episode revolved around the conservation and protection of the wildlife and our environment.

Image: Twitter

After he meets the Prime Minister, Grylls decides to take away from the trail path and heads deep into the jungle. While exploring the beauty of the wilderness around them, they shared many moments of light-hearted humor and valuable life lessons. For example, Modi bursts into laughter when Grylls tells him about the time he squeezed the essence of fresh elephant dung into his mouth for survival. And when Grylls reminds Modi that the jungle is dangerous, Modi tells him that it’s dangerous only when we go against nature and we should learn how to co-exist with our environment.

Grylls then makes a weapon with the help of a wooden stick that he picks out from the forest, a knife, and a piece of string that he brought along. He explains to Modi that a weapon is necessary to stay safe in the forest that is home to more than 250 Bengal tigers who are smart predators. The adventure seekers then walk towards a nearby river that would help them get out of the tall grass area that made them vulnerable to the predators. They cross the river on a raft made by Grylls with some sticks, hay, and a tarpaulin sheet and then continue their chat over a hot cup of tea.

Modi On His Childhood

Image: Twitter

When Grylls asks Modi about his childhood, Modi jokes that he cannot admit that he was a good student. He also tells Grylls about his family, his village, and the humble financial background he was raised in. “I didn’t have a sophisticated childhood. When I went to school I kept myself perfect, I didn’t have an iron at home so used to keep burnt coal in a copper bowl to iron my shirt,” Modi says. He also recollects the time when he would sell tea at the railway station whenever he didn’t have school, to help out his father who used to run a tea stall.

Talking on the importance of living in harmony with nature, Modi narrates an old family story about his uncle who wanted to sell firewood. He tells Grylls that his uncle was forbidden to pursue the business by his grandmother as she was against cutting down trees. He also recollects another story about the time he caught a crocodile from a river that he went to bathe in. “My mother said to me this is wrong. You cannot do this. You should not do this, put it back. I went and put it back,” Modi said.

Modi On His Youth

Image: Instagram @beargrylls

The Prime Minister recalls the time he was 17 and had left his home. “I wanted to make a decision about my life. But before that, I wanted to understand the world. I wanted to see the spiritual world. For that, I went to the Himalayas. I fell in love with nature. I met people in the Himalayas, stayed with them. It was a wonderful experience and I spent a long time there,” he said.

When Grylls asks Modi about what he feels about becoming the Prime Minister of India, he says, “It never occurs to me as to who I am. I am above all this. When I was a Chief Minister and even now as the Prime Minister, I only think of my work, my responsibilities. My position never goes to my head.” Also, he encouraged the youth to think of life as a whole and take the downs as a way to climb to the top.

Image: Instagram @beargrylls

During their travel, Grylls asks Modi what will help India become clean. To this, the Prime Minister replies, “It’s only the people of India who can make India clean. Personal hygiene is in the culture of the Indian people. We need to develop the habit of social hygiene. Mahatma Gandhi has done a lot of work on it and recently we are getting good success in this. I believe India will succeed in this very soon.”

About being on the show, Modi says that it brought back the happy memories of his youth. On a heart-warming note, Grylls bids goodbye to his travel partner for the episode by reciting a prayer for him. But he doesn’t fail to bring back the humor bit as he asks the Prime Mister if his underpants are dry after the river ride!

Modi is the second world leader to appear in the show after Barack Obama. Hopefully, the awareness that he raised with the help of this show will lead to something fruitful for our environment and wildlife. Did you watch Modi’s day out with Bear Grylls on Man Vs Wild? What is your opinion about this episode? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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