On Discovery’s Man vs Wild, PM Modi puts his survival skills to test
For former US president Obama it was about surviving in the Alaskan wilderness by drinking tea from catkins, melting glacier ice for water, and nibbling on a half-eaten salmon discarded by a bear.
For Prime Minister Modi it will be about surviving in the untamed wilderness of the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, although we will have to wait till August 12 to find out how he does so.
Modi, a sprightly 68, will feature in Discovery channel’s popular “Man vs Wild” show with survivalist and adventurer Bear Grylls on August 12, the channel announced on Monday.
“People across 180 countries will get to see the unknown side of PM @narendramodi as he ventures into the Indian wilderness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change,” Grylls tweeted, sharing a trailer of the show that will be aired on Discovery channel on August 12 at 9pm.
Speaking about the show, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it.”
A trailer for the programme shows Modi, 68, driving into the Jim Corbett National Park in northern India guided by Grylls. “You are the most important person in India, it’s my job to protect you,” Grylls tells Modi. The trailer also has images of Modi following Grylls as he treks through the wilderness, and the duo on a small inflated raft on a river in the park (the Ramganga and the Kosi flow through Corbett).
Grylls announced on Twitter on Sunday night, “Biggest announcement of the year coming tomorrow morning... we get to take one of the world’s most powerful leaders into the wild…”
The announcement of the special episode attracted its share of criticism from opposition parties after it became clear that this was the TV show the Prime Minister was shooting at the time of the Pulwama terror attack where a suicide bomber rammed into a CRPF convoy killing 40 troopers. Congress spokesperson Shama Mohamed claimed on Twitter that the PM “continued shooting even after being told of the heinous attack”. Soon after the Pulwama attack, government officials said there was a delay in informing the PM of the incident.
“For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India’s rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. It was a great experience spending time in the jungle once again, this time with Bear, who is blessed with indefatigable energy and quest to experience nature at its purest,” the Prime Minister further said.
Discovery said in a statement that the show will be a frank and freewheeling journey that throws light on wildlife conservation and highlights issues related to environmental change. “The adventurous pair even have to make a raft and cross a jungle river together.”
The popular show, which is in its eighth season, features Grylls tackling extreme challenges and navigating through remote locations around the world, sharing invaluable survival strategies along the way.
Among the celebrities that have featured on the show are actresses Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts, tennis player Roger Federer, basketball star Michael B Jordan and President Obama.