That a person born after India’s independence and a non-Congress PM to boot, with an absolute majority of his own hoisted the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort today were important aspects to savour in themselves for this blogger. However, there were couple of other important pleasing aspects or more.
(1) One must complement the Doordarshan for putting together a lovely programme package. Two friends alerted me to it. Frankly, I did not watch it LIVE. But, I watched it here. It streamed well. The rendition of ‘Vande Mataram’ brought goosebumps (from 6th minute to 13th minute). The clippings put together by various DD Kendras were good. Some of them were very imaginative. That was followed by a song. We have seen similar efforts before but each time, one does feel good and the heart swells with emotion and pride. It is a fact.
As my friend mentioned in his mail, one very much doubts if the so-called private channels would have put something like this together. I do not know if they have their heart in it, actually.
(2) That the PM was speaking was an important aspect of the day. We have all gotten used to Shri. Modi, the orator. The orator in him had gone into his shell in the last two + months. So, we were waiting to hear him with great expectations. He did not disappoint.
(3) It was good to watch him speak (as opposed to reading out from a prepared text) and he was not standing behind a bullet-proof glass cage.
He was passionate. I do not know Hindi. But, it was not so difficult to identify and identify with his passion. That said, I would like to leave the last words on his speech to someone who understood his speech as well as his emotion. Good friend Andy Mukherjee sent me this message:
Thanks, and did you watch the Modi speech this morning? A breath of fresh air, and a much-needed negation of the idea that plans and programmes alone constitute “reforms.” What he said about girl children, women, the rape culture and toilets … If it has even some impact on the society could add up to easily 1 to 2 ppt growth in 10 years by raising women’s participation. This is what great leaders of yore used to do: Tell the society where it needed to go and show it how to get there. Nowadays leaders everywhere meekly follow public opinion and distribute handouts.
It was an electrifying speech. He doesn’t have ABV’s vocabulary or turn of phrase, but spoke with authority, passion, compassion and great resolve. How he jumped from “national character” to tourism and circled back to cleanliness (national character) was oratory at its finest.
As I noted on Twitter, cynics will no doubt grumble: “no reform announcement.” But, I think I heard the most important political speech in India since “tryst with destiny.”
As I noted in my last blog post, I will not refrain from being critical of the government when needed but I shall also not forget what we had to endure for ten years. Let us not forget the counterfactual. That is elementary. It was dreadful and it was bad for the country, bad for a generation of millions of Indians. Also, equally important, the alternatives are equally horrendous prospects as Congress (I) is (TMC, AAP, JD(U), RJD, BSP, SP, etc., etc.)
Also, do not fail to read Andy Mukherjee’s piece in ‘Business Standard’ on how the NDA government’s labour reforms would add up to something significant. At the same time, he does not flinch from pointing out the mountain that India has to climb.
It is a good antidote to this piece by William Pesek – quite disappointing (or if one wishes to use a slightly stronger language, rather asinine stuff). But, it requires a separate post. I do not wish to spoil this occasion by referring to something that was of inferior quality.