New Delhi: In a pep talk to students preparing for board and competitive exams, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday night counselled them to appear for these tests with self-confidence without getting nervous by making it an issue of life and death.
Reaching out to the student community as well as their parents through his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' programme over radio, he said students should make their best efforts and strive to get the maximum marks but should not get into any rat race of competition.
Trying to see oneself through the eyes of others puts pressure, was his thrust during the 25-minute programme.
While noting that he himself was an ordinary student with bad hand-writing, Modi also advised parents not to put pressure on their wards.
He said the students should go the examination halls with a determination that they can do better than the last time.
"Instead of competing with others, you should compete with yourself, do better, do faster and go to greater heights," the Prime Minister said and to inspire students he cited the example of former Soviet pole vaulter Sergei Bubka who broke his own world record 35 times.
"Appear for the exams in cool manner.... Have faith in yourself.... Do not get worried about outside reasons because that shows lack of self-confidence and you fall into 'andh vishwas'.... This is not going to be the end of life.... Life is much bigger than just academic examinations," he said in a typical counselling session.
Emphasising that exams should not be made an issue of life and death, the Prime Minister suggested holding of 'pariksha utsav' (exam festival) twice a year as also poetry, debate and cartoon competitions to reduce the "scare" of exams.
Cautioning that a state of tension was not good for students, he said the students should "discover" themselves and appear for the exams as if it was some kind of a festival.
Underlining that the youth power is very crucial for the country's future, Modi said they should not have fluctuating desires as that makes them lack resolve in life.
"Your desires should be stable because that will lead to a resolve.... Keep your resolve positive. Compete with yourself and try to do better and better. Make it a habit that you test yourself everyday. By that way, you can cross any threshold in your life," he said as he extended his wishes to them for the exams.
While asking students to focus on a particular subject on a particular day, he sought to boost their morale by drawing examples from the cricketing world.
"A good batsman never thinks about his performance in the last match, or the last over or the last ball or for that matter the outcome of the match. He only focusses on a particular ball. Similarly, you should focus on a particular paper only, instead of thinking about how you did in the last one," Modi told the students.
He had special praise for girls.
He said that while boys tend to lock themselves down and get irritated every now and then in the run up to exams, their sisters help their mothers in household chores even during exams and mostly perform better. "Getting irritated shows lack of self-confidence," said Modi.
Holding that most of the psychological "burden" on students was mainly due to pressure brought by parents because of relatives and friends, he said parents should talk to their children about larger picture of life instead of pushing for supreme results in academic tests.
He said he chose this subject for his monthly radio programme as he wanted to be with the "youth friends" in this "difficult" time.