rime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth Independence Day speech was somewhat same as it was in the previous years. He was looking impressive in white Churidar-Kurta and Saffron Turban. He greeted the participants in the Independence Day event. India was tuned to TV channels with overwhelming curiosity about his speech. Modi as an orator is quite impressive. He has the knack to spellbound the audience with his speeches. Everyone listening to his speeches admired the control over the language he spoke and similarly, he has the habit of lying his heart out without any fear to fool the people with his tongue. His speech was in pure Hindi, with proper phrases and pauses — focused on trumpeting own Government’s achievements as well as targeting the opposition as usual. The 45-minute speech began with paying respects to the thousands of Indians who fought for India’s Independence and ended with hangings of rapists and molesters those who are hurting women; however, he forgot to mention his own party leaders who are accused of rape — neither he made any announcement of hanging them nor condemned their acts. His speech was all about convenience; he spoke all those convenient issues but did not touch any awkward issues such as falling Rupee or Unemployment, Murders of Journalists or Freedom of Speech etc. It was more of a virtual election idiom. Modi projected himself as an impatient agent of the change against the backdrop of “docile and inefficient” governance during the Congress-led UPA rule and promised housing, power, water, sanitation, and healthcare for all in his mission to take the country to the new heights. He knows perfectly what to speak and when to speak and most importantly, how to speak. The PM must be lauded for being courageous enough to accept the points that impede the socio-economic development of our country, and also offer some solutions.
However, there are few things that have bothered many and some feel that it was a boring speech because there was no novelty — from the past five years and he is repeating the same. Anyway, what matters to us more is that the speech doesn’t simply become a rhetorical reminiscent. As a democracy, the elected representative represents the people and the national character will continue to be impure if the representatives are corrupt or have criminal proceedings against them. To me, the PM’s speech would really mean something if his government upholds the promises they made in previous years and if they take responsibility for the unpleasant happenings around. I think that he does not have enough courage to do so. I would love to be proven wrong because I not only voted for him but also campaigned tirelessly for the change and a new hope.
The PM said that we want to move ahead not on the basis of the majority but on the basis of consensus. Let me put it bluntly — the consensus means ganging up. For instance, all parties had consensus on not including national parties under the Right to Information Act. I challenge the present government to bring consensus on the matter of including political parties under the RTI. I think that he does not have enough courage to do so. I would love to be proven wrong yet again.
He cleverly did not touch the subject — the Lokpal Bill is another sidelined topic, and he just ignored speaking about it.
The PM seems to be more stressed on building new institutions rather than reforming the current ones. While he’s true that sometimes it “costs more to repair the old home than to build a new one” but he seems to be in a hurry to build everything with his stamp on it. While I acknowledge his suggestions on the Planning Commission, I do not believe that the government is right intentioned in The National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2014; especially the manner in which the “consensus” was brought about in the Parliament. There are just too many technical caveats in this Bill to discuss here. He spoke volumes on other new and old schemes, but he forgot to recollect what he promised or highlighted in his previous speeches.
Be alarmed when a politician says that “…don’t look into this from a political perspective”. It means that he wants you to look into it from the political angle exactly. Further, Modi said that India has always advanced in space science but we have decided that by 2022, when India completes 75 years of Independence, or before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a tricolour in their hands. India will become the fourth nation after the US, Russia, and China to send a human to space; that is fine, but there is a thin line! Mentioning about 2022, he indirectly hinted you that he needs more time and term to work. Well, that’s been fair. Ayushman Bharat, popularly referred to as “Modicare”, will be rolled out on September 25, on the birth anniversary of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, the co-founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. The programme aiming to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 crore to economically backward families is a good initiative but why not create jobs for them giving that coverage? Why not bring in more transparency and accountability in the existing welfare schemes like Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. Use IT to bring in more transparency and track released funds. There are already many schemes like “Modicare” without specific branding. Why do we need Symbolism?
This is one thing which I have noticed in his every move and catchy phrases in his speech. In a way, it’s good. It does inspire but it remains to be seen how much of it he actually means.
Nevertheless, his closure was perfect and we must keep it in mind, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. The army is vigilant, we should also be vigilant and the country scales new heights; we have to move forward with this resolution. The speech was brilliant as all his speeches are. Or at least brilliant going by the standards that seem to be prevailing among the majority of people I encounter these days, standards that define a brilliant speech as one which makes people happy rather than something that has substance and not reeking of hypocrisy. Personally, I feel that such standards are better used to judge stand-up comedians than those of people who are supposed to lead nations. Anyway, I don’t want to go into that or else I would be trolled to death by his social media army. Yes, it reminded me of his speech, women on social media are humiliated, abused and threatened by those Twitter handles, whom Modiji is following from last few years. It is very easy to deliver speeches, but if he practices the same, he will lose his supporters.
The way he described his rise to the office, you’d think every PM before him had millionaire parents. If you’re one of the gullible people who bought that (and a lot of people seem to have bought his rags-to-riches story recently), I suggest you read up about the likes of PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh and draw your own conclusions. The bulletproof glass thing, well, that was more about tactical cleverness rather than bravery or whatever. For a man who thinks malnutrition is due to beauty-conscious girls and vegetarianism (Everything Modi Said on Malnutrition), such cleverness is surprising and welcome when he says that the death by malnutrition has come down in India. Again, I maintain that the speech was great. When compared to the man’s track record, the hypocrisy of it all and what his party is doing every day, I’d say it was nothing more than an election speech.
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