As prime minister Narendra Modi delivers his fourth Independence Day speech, The Quint debates whether the claims on the front of foreign policy, internal security and economy are reassuring. You can read the View by Shashi Tharoor here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day Speech, as usual, had some clear takeaways – to be specific, three!
At the outset, his message was of sensitivity towards those who have suffered in recent tragic incidents, especially the painful deaths of children at a Gorakhpur hospital. Also, he expressed grief towards those who have faced loss of family in recent floods and other natural calamities.
The next was his report to the Nation! In a spirit of accountability, he informed the people about the progress achieved by his government on several fronts, including war on corruption and black money, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, development, ease of doing business and other such things.
The third takeaway was his sense of urgency. At the end of his speech, he came out as a man in a hurry with genuine passion for increasing the pace of national development in a time-bound manner.
Narendra Modi, the Effortless Speaker
Prime Minister Modi is known for well-structured speeches. His treatment to his speech is like that of an artiste. Like every other work, he treats his speech as a piece of art, ensuring a perfect choice of words, measured voice modulation, an artful interweaving of logically presented thoughts, and a deep emotional appeal. Besides that, he also has cultivated an inimitable style of taking his countrymen into confidence.
Free from the artificial burden of secularism, the nation saw a Prime Minister unhesitatingly wishing all his countrymen for Janmashtami. In those hundreds of kids right before him, he saw Krishna as a child. His linking Krishna with a Sudarshan-Chakra in his hand to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi working on wheel of a Charkha was something remarkable, while underscoring the continuity of our civilisational heritage.
In continuation, he reminded people about the importance of 2017; which happens to be the 70th anniversary of Independence, 75th of Quit India, 100th of Champaran Movement and 125th of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav; all important milestones of our glorious history.
A New India, Free From Evils
Juxtaposed with his appeal for rededicating ourselves to the cause of creating a New India, free from casteism, communalism, corruption, poverty and dirt, these references to these motivating chapters of our history make perfect sense.
Also important was his reference to Kashmir, underscoring once again that indulgence in name-calling or violence will not lead to any enduring solution to the vexed issue. Without any ambiguity, he forthrightly pointed out that love, affection and compassion is the only way ahead in Jammu and Kashmir.
Also reassuring was his observation about the poor and the deprived not remaining in the periphery and becoming the nation’s mainstream, an oblique reference to the fact that all occupants of constitutional positions are from poor sections. But perhaps his statement that today, a festival of honesty and Integrity is being celebrated, deserves the most special mention.
A Report Card On How the Country Has Faired?
Although there were no new announcements of any welfare programmes, the Prime Minister used this opportunity to report to the people the progress on the fronts of social and economic security.
One can’t miss the importance of his statements on lowering of the prices of stents and knee replacements as well as dialysis being made available in district places from the point of view of Garib Kalyan!
The Modi government has faced several taunts and derisive remarks about its efforts to eradicate black money and end corruption. In this backdrop, he made three important revelations.
Important revelations made by PM Modi
- Firstly, he announced that within just three years, the government has recovered Rs 1.25 lakh crore worth of black money.
- Secondly, his proclamation that the number of taxpayers has increased from 22 lakhs to 56 lakhs.
Similarly, his bold assertion that some three lakh shell companies were found after demonetisation and over half of which have now been deregistered, was important for multiple reasons.
A few months ago, PM Modi had said that while his government can make some bonafide mistakes, its intentions cannot be challenged. This unchallenged purity of purpose is the most hard-earned jewel of Prime Minister Modi’s treasure. No wonder, the Opposition is and will be leaving no stone unturned to steal this jewel. All these elaborate references to his war on corruption in the Prime Minister’s speech are an indication that he realises this fact.
The Prime Minister’s stern warning to those indulging in violence in the name of faith should suffice in silencing the doubting Thomases. On this issue, it must be noted that the Prime Minister has been consistently aggressive and emphatic. The Home Ministry’s repeated directives to the States in this regard are also abundantly clear.
‘Change Attitude and Everything Will Follow’
There also appears a discerning theme of taking everybody together through his repeated references to Team India, his mention of ‘Bharat Jodo’ and and his reaching out to women suffering from the injustices caused by Triple Talaq! His evidently integrationist approach was aimed at preparing the people to collectively work for a New India.
But the most significant message to the nation was his emphasis that we all have to shed the Chalta Hai attitude and cultivate Badal Sakta Hai approach. In a way, he was trying convey that while he has the courage of conviction and the grit to transform India, people will have to help him by resolutely working for the same!
And he hastened to reassure that the Tantra will work for Lok, and not the other way around. That the PM wants to ‘hasten slowly’ was also evident with his reference to the new Millenials – those born in 2000 – becoming voters in January next.
Again, his drawing parallels between 1942-47 and 2017-22 was remarkable.
Perhaps he wanted to suggest that if Purna Swaraj was the clarion call of 42-47, 17-22 should mark Purna-Su-Raj! Not for no reason, he wanted everybody to work for making Su-Raj, or Good Governance, a birth right. Understandably, he is preparing all for a time-bound transformation!
(Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is a Member of Parliament representing Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha. He is also the serving national vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party. The views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)