Crores of Indians tuned in to their television sets, radios and even Youtube today to listen to the man who has brought in a much-needed vigour into the Indian political scene. This man’s meteoric rise to the most powerful seat of Indian politics – the position of Prime Minister, 2 months ago, with an unprecedented number of votes is testimony of his huge popularity among the masses. His excellent oratorical skills and ability to add a personal touch to speeches captivated people’s attention and ensured his landslide victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Today, the man – India’s 15th Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has infused life into Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort; this is a welcoming break after many long years of listening to dull, rehearsed and monotonous Prime Ministerial speeches! Mr. Modi left almost no scope of finding out errors in his speech; thus, in one way, hitting at the key areas which an Indian citizen would love to hear from the country’s leader. One must applaud his daring spirit as he delivered his speech without being covered on all sides by a bullet-proof shield, unlike the protection the previous leaders received. Salute!
Here are 5 reasons why I think Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech is the best Prime Ministerial speech I have heard in my 23 years so far:
1. Extempore and a leader-to-citizen speech: All the Prime Minsiterial speeches I had watched till the previous year were delivered in see-and-tell manner. The speech was drafted by a bureaucrat and spoken by the Prime Minister in a rehearsed manner, which had a certain disconnect with the viewers, ultimately boring them and forcing them to switch to other work. Narendra Modi, being a gifted orator, wished for key points, based on which he would deliver his maiden speech at the Red Fort. What we saw and heard today was Mr. Modi speaking impromptu on the dais, touching the citizens’ hearts with well-thought, well-planned and well-laid words.
2. Focus on nation building: Narendra Modi came into the Prime Minister’s office with a promise to the citizens to build a powerful India while in power. He was backed by a reputation of developing Gujarat, the state of which he was the Chief Minister before. The Modi wave during the election campaign showed his vision of nation building; however, after his victory, his critics raised questions on how he would build the nation and whether his promises were just an election gimmick. Today, in his Independence day speech, Mr. Modi laid out a basic blueprint how he would fulfill his promises. He motivated people saying “If 125 crore Indians take one step each, the nation will move ahead 125 crore steps.”, he stressed on skill development and need for youth of the country to get skilled, he urged Indians to focus on manufacturing sector and import-export sector with “Zero defect, zero effect” policy, wherein we should be a greater exporter than an importer, manufacturing items in the country, with no defects and having no ill-effects on the environment. He wished for “Made in India” tag on manufactured items.
3. Stress on character building: With the words “People ask ‘mera kya’ and ‘mujhe kya’. We must escape this mentality. Not everything is for us. We must awaken the feeling of national good.”, Narendra Modi made a resonant statement to Indians to not bring selfishness in service to the country. He insisted that violence and mistrust hurt the motherland and people should live in peace. Such words connected him to the people even more. In India, one seldom comes across such a leader who speaks on a personal level with the citizens.
4. Importance on ‘daughters’ of the country: The star attraction of Narendra Modi‘s speech would undoubtedly be his reference to the country’s sex-ratio, neglect of girl-child and increasing crimes on women. When he said “I want to ask parents, when daughters turn 11 or 14, they keep a tab on their every movements. They ask thousand questions – Where are you going? When will you return? Call us once you reach there. Have these parents ever asked their sons where they have been going, who they have been meeting? Rapists are somebody’s sons as well! Parents must take the responsibility to ensure that their sons don’t go the wrong direction.”, I got slight goosebumps, for this touched not only my heart, but millions of hearts of Indians all over the world. He also surprised all by mentioning the lack of proper toilets for women in the country and announcing schemes to build toilets in each school! One of his best lines related to sex-ratio was: “India’s sex ratio is 1000 boys for 940 girls. Who creates this disparity? It isn’t God. Don’t fill your coffers by sacrificing the mother’s womb. People feel that sons will take care of them when they are old. But I have seen aged parents in old-age homes. I have seen families where one daughter serves parents more than five sons.” This was not a Prime Minister speaking; it was a concerned Indian speaking for the welfare for his fellow countrymen!
5. Narendra Modi’s humilty: The charisma of Narendra Modi lies in his humilty and acceptance that he is in power to serve the country as her servant, not as Prime Minister. This is evident from his words in his speech: “I am not the Pradhan Mantri (Prime Minister). I am the Pradhan Sevak (Prime Servant). I promise my colleagues in the Government. If you work 12 hours, I will work 13 hours. If you work 13 hours, I will work 15 hours.”
DISCLAIMER: The information or facts related to the Independence Day speech have been written in accordance with the original speech delivered by the Prime Minister. The author does not wish to offend any political, religious or social group with his opinions. The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author.