For the first time, I listened to an Independence Day speech in full. We switched the TV on at 6.50 am and didn’t even have tea till our Prime Minister was nearly 40 minutes into his speech !! What am amazing speech and am sure, there will be many things the critics will find in the speech to deride it, but not even his worst critic can ignore him. Love him or hate him, but for the first time, we have a Prime Minister who cannot be ignored. For the first time we have a regular citizen, who started life selling tea and mopping floors, and rose through all that to be criticized for everything and still managed to win with a thumping majority. For the first time, we had a regular citizen unfurling the flag and not an elite. For the first time, it’s a person whose pulse matches the pulse of the nation and the connection is instant.
Our Prime Minister speaks with passion, with love for the country and a deep desire to see our country as the greatest nation on Earth. There was an email doing the rounds in the past few years that the reason India has not progressed as much as China has, was because we didn’t have leaders who woke up with the single agenda of progression while China had such leaders. Well, now we have a Prime Minister who sleeps little and has a single point agenda – progressing India to the number one slot.
Today’s speech was extempore … Wow. Can’t remember anyone before him giving an extempore speech while addressing the nation on the 15th of August. The ability to communicate effectively is the hallmark of every great leader, silence is eloquent but not when you have to move a large population towards a new path. Again, our Prime Minister’s style of communication gets one all charged up. He will certainly be counted amongst the great orators of all time.
Some highlights for me in today’s address – parents need to question their boys as much as they question their girls… The law will do what’s necessary to stop the rapes, but critical for the society to take accountability as well. “Make in India” – brilliant interplay of words and bringing the focus on manufacturing. Also the “zero defect” and “zero effect” – the world should say “Made in India” and that should be without defects and no negative effect on the environment. Again, great message, delivered effectively.
One of the pet peeves I have had for the longest time has been our civic sense as a society and the lack of cleanliness. I never use public toilets in our country and wait till I reach home or a friend’s home to use the toilet. I remember how dirty the school toilets were and that’s where the habit started. My friend Hareesh came with his son Ashwin to do some sightseeing around Delhi. He lives in the US and had not been to Delhi when he was in India. We went to see Humayun’s Tomb and I won’t forget the hug that Hareesh gave me on seeing the Humayun’s Tomb and said “this is so magnificent, I have never seen anything so grand. Am so proud that my country has such an amazing monument built so many hundreds of years back !!”. And then when we were about to leave the monument he wanted to use the toilet – he did and while I had forewarned him that it would be filthy, he was almost sick. Both of us felt ashamed at the state of cleanliness in a public toilet and just the lack of facilities inspite of 60+ years of Independence. No Prime Minister put cleanliness on the national agenda. I was thrilled to hear Mr. Modi making it a national agenda with a timeline. And the good thing is, this man will also make it happen.
The way I see it – if Mr. Modi manages to do just two things, clean up India and make it safe for women, he would ensure we progress.
The speech today was inspiring, it was motivational and it was a clear message to everyone that we need to pull our socks up and put our shoulder to the efforts towards nation building. Get out of that rocking chair and get moving. This is not the time for armchair analysis and armchair philosophy. It’s time to put your foot forward and help India develop.
Ask yourselves everyday, what have you done to develop India, today. Great nations aren’t born, they are made. Here’s your chance to make one. Jai Hind.
Some of my previous blogs on these topics –