Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Exam Warriors’ advises students to stay calm and focus
The thought of examinations usually leaves students under stress. Not only students, the pressure of scoring good marks also takes a toll on parents and teachers. To help them cope with the trials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi authored ‘Exam Warriors’, published by Penguin Random House. It was released on February 3 in the national capital by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
With stressful days round the corner for those appearing for their Class X and XII board exams, Prime Minister Modi has penned this book detailing ‘25 mantras’ to help students treat examinations as a cause for celebration and not despair.
The first 25 chapters are mantras, starting with “Exams are like festivals -- celebrate them”, a message he shared in the January 2017 Mann Ki Baat, through “Be your own anchor -- celebrate your strengths” to “To cheat is to be cheap”. Interestingly, each chapter comes with an activity at the end. For instance, a chapter with a mantra titled “It’s your time -- make the most of it” asks “exam warriors” to make their “own timetable” by filling up a “24-hour clock with your daily activities”.
As the book has been written keeping young audiences in mind, it reads in an informal and conversational manner. It has also addressed issues such as prioritising knowledge over marks and how to grapple with becoming responsible for the future.
In the January 2017 Mann Ki Baat -- his monthly outreach programme over the radio -- the Prime Minister spoke of exam stress. In July, after results to the Class X and Class XII exams were announced and after receiving letters from some students thanking him for the advice he gave in that programme, Modi decided to write a book on the same subject to help students. Publishers Penguin Random House then released the copy of the cover of the book.
Dedicated to “the youth of New India”, the book is integrated with the Narendra Modi Mobile App. The idea, according to Modi, is to create an Exam Warrior Community. “After all, it is all about sharing and growing -- Exam Warriors can share their exam journeys with others and discover how others have embarked on theirs, through the app,” he writes in a note from the author.
Stating that the book was an attempt to “add to the debate and discourse around the importance of stress-free examinations...” Modi, in his ‘note from the author’, writes, “It is our collective duty to ensure that their (students’) childhood is not overshadowed by the burden of exams and the constant anxiety of ‘what do I do next?’ ”
In the ‘note by author’, PM has also reached out to parents and teachers with two letters. In first, the PM writes, “You (parents) are your child’s best mentor. You know your child better than anyone else, having seen him or her grow up in front of your eyes. Thus, I would request you: always accept rather than expect.” He also advised parents against trying to realise their unfulfilled desires through their children. The other letter is addressed to teachers where he advises them to “empower the students to pursue their interests as well as create their own opportunities. Motivate them so that they do something driven by their passion instead of seeking to become something”.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave an example of ‘elections’ to help children cope with the stress in exams during the launch of ‘Exam Warriors’. She explained that the ministers are also told not be afraid of the elections. Prime Minister Modi also says that he is not afraid of elections. Similarly, the students too should “not be afraid of the exam”. She said that Prime Minister Modi says that the ministers have to take their examinations every five years. In case of dissolution of the Lok Sabha earlier that marked, the exams sometimes get pr-poned, too, but they never fear of the tests.
Although the book has focused on the problems of students who give board exams, ‘Exam Warriors’ as a book is about more than just preparing for exams. It emphasises the importance of playing, sleeping, and even travelling. “India is Incredible – travel and explore,” says one mantra. As the publisher’s blurb puts it, “this book will be a friend not only in acing exams but also facing life.”
In a country where he is the most popular political leader, and admired by many young people, the Prime Minister’s book is certain to be widely read. Nor are young people preparing for exams likely to be the only ones reading it. Indeed, it could have its uses even for Modi’s Cabinet colleagues. In a chapter titled “Presentation is key-master It”, he says “good presentation is like beautiful icing on your favourite cake – it enhances the tastes and leaves a lasting impression”.
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