Because you're incredible, India: Why I hope my show with PM Modi becomes the most watched in TV history
Writing exclusively for DailyO, Bear Grylls discusses shooting with PM Modi and why he thinks scouting could empower young Indians to be leaders and help preserve the environment.
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It was such a huge privilege to take Prime Minister Modi on an adventure into the Indian forest for our Discovery Channel episode Man Vs Wild with Bear Grylls and Prime Minister Modi.
To spend time with this remarkable man, and to hear his vision for the future of India, reinforced my belief that it is our young people who hold the key to much of the future of our planet.
Spending time out in nature with Prime Minister Modi reinforced just how beautiful and vibrant India is.
The country boasts one of the most abundant and diverse ecosystems on the planet — but like many other global hubs, India is also facing the realities of a rapidly changing world.
The country is home to a fifth of the world’s youth, and more than half of the country’s 1.3 billion people are below the age of 25 — that’s an extraordinary opportunity to enable the next generation of young leaders with the skills needed to build a more sustainable future.
Unforgettable: The episode with PM Modi showcased the magnificence of India's natural habitat. (Photo: Discovery/ Man vs Wild)
Already this effort is underway. In community after community, from Chennai to Hyderabad to Jaipur, more than 3.7 million Bharat Scouts and Guides who are part of the third largest National Scout Organization in the world are working to address the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges facing our people and planet.
By engaging in local acts of community service, scouts are working to promote peace, tackle plastics pollution, provide access to clean water and sanitation and drive towards renewable energy. Through initiatives like Scouts for SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), for example, India’s youth are making one of the world’s biggest contributions towards the sustainable development goals.
The right direction: Bharat Scouts and Guides help keep the environment clean and contribute to sustainable development goals. (Photo: YouTube/ Amit Gond)
The power of scouting is that it equips and empowers young people with the necessary life skills and leadership abilities to play an active role in society. Today, over 50 million young people worldwide benefit from scouting’s educational youth programme and skills development activities.
It’s this focus that makes scouting an ideal partner to contribute to the Government of India’s efforts to extend education for all — this includes working to expand Skill India as a key initiative to train more young people with 21st century skills for the future.
Through my role as Chief Ambassador of World Scouting, I have seen first-hand how young people are creating positive change — and there is an amazing opportunity across India to grow the number of young people and volunteers involved in Scouting’s unique youth development programme.
Just the other week, I returned from the World Scout Jamboree — here, 600 Indian youth were among 45,000 young people from around the world taking part in educational activities and learning about different cultures. The global gathering was a true reminder that we are one big family, and we can do great things when we work together.
As global citizens, we have a responsibility to protect the environment, which is essential for economic growth and sustainable development.
Young people are an essential part of that effort.
These are exciting times for India and I'm looking forward to returning again soon to work on an ambitious plan that will spread the spirit of scouting to more young people and enable them to be part of shaping a vision for the country’s future.
Moving forward with vision: I hope the episode with PM Modi inspires millions of young Indians. (Photo: Discovery/ Man vs Wild)
People have mentioned that this episode with Prime Minister Modi could become the most watched episode of television in history — I hope that might come true, if only to reinforce to remarkable India that your young people hold the key to our planet's future.
Scouting is now 50 million strong globally — but if we mobilise India’s youth, then ever more young Indian people get access to scouting skills for life — and that, in turn, propels India forward as global leaders.