Millennium Post

Flagging off 71 years

The Prime Minister's speech from the Red Fort on the day marking India's Independence is an event that is apprehended by political enthusiasts, journalists, supporters alike. It provides an opportunity to comprehend, in a nutshell, the plethora of ideas and practices that could define our country in the near future. And our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, being a most engaging orator, compels many to further look forward to the occasions when he comes out to deliver a public speech, reminding several Indians why they had supported his candidacy to victory back in 2014. This year, delivering his fourth speech as Prime Minister of the Nation, Narendra Modi wrapped up his thoughts within 57-minutes, the shortest time taken by him so far. He is only one Independence Day away from the crucial, yet largely predictable 2019 Lok Sabha elections, leaving him with numbered opportunities to move the masses like he had in 2014. Being a master of words, Modi's speech this time, too, was decorated with convincing phrases. He appealed to the people of the nation to reject the 'chalta hai' attitude and instead adopt the 'badal sakta hai' notion. Playing on Quit India Movement's pivotal demand of 'Bharat chhoro', he said the need of the hour is to popularise the anthem 'Bharat jodo.' This idea is pivotal at a time like today's when cases of mob violence, lynching and communal hatred are spilling across the streets. The diversity, which Tagore and Nehru had both said would form the basis of India's nationalism, has today backfired, to fracture any idea of unity that can be seemingly appropriated within distinct groups of the country. Speaking of unity in diversity, one cannot ignore the lingering question of Kashmir and the disputes that have wrecked this paradise. Possibly the largest victim of communal strife, the valley which was once a paradise, has now been reduced to the noises of bullets and the stench of dead bodies. In 70-years of Independence, Kashmir remains India's Achilles Heel, still largely insurmountable by forces of democracy or diplomacy. Realising the vulnerability of the problem at hand, and also bringing into notice the wrecking violence that has caused unparalleled havoc in the northern-most state of the country, the Prime Minister in his speech rightly highlighted, that, "The problem will be solved neither by abuse or bullets — it will be solved by embracing all Kashmiris." While love is probably the most invaluable prize in today's time of rampant hatred, yet realistically, Kashmir requires serious deliberation on the part of the Government, the army and even civilian groups. The idea of love and embrace undeniably resonate a positive message to populations across the Valley, yet, unsurprisingly, much more is required to resolve the long standing problem which has not only impacted those living in the Valley but has also escalated cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan, somewhere dragging in China too. Love, an often underrated phenomenon was brought to the forefront by our Prime Minister, who attempted to reach out to basic human sentiments, stirring them to embrace before attacking. While touching upon some of the hurdles, primarily in resolving the issue of Kashmir, and also tackling natural and man-made calamities- witnessed in the recent floods across parts of India and the Gorakhpur tragedy that killed 60-children due to a shortage of oxygen supply; Narendra Modi's speech largely emphasised on presenting his government's report card while also projecting ideas that would nurture the future of India.

To commemorate India 75-years of Independence in 2022, Narendra Modi highlighted that he has envisioned a 'new India' where his government's efforts would be rooted in curbing corruption, building modern infrastructure, and delivering welfare. He said, by 2022, he desired to witness a country where each family would be dwelling in a pucca house, with electricity and power supply; farmers' income would multiply by at least two-folds; and the country would be free of corruption, casteism, communalism, nepotism, and the biggest enemy to all - terrorism. Being a positive thinker, with a strong outlook towards the future of India Narendra Modi's comments were a reminder to all citizens to not diminish their expectations from their government. Instead, he urged them to stride forward with the government to fulfil the requirements that would truly make India a global leader, enviable to many across the world. The Prime Minister's speech also touched upon how corruption has been fought by the government, a factor that largely led to UPA II's anti-incumbency drive in 2014. While demonetisation and GST had led to massive digitalisation of monetary transactions, up to an excess of 34 per cent; the battle against incorrect practices still has a long way to go - a reason that would compel many to reelect Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for a second term in 2019. Overall, his speech was largely what was expected from a dynamic Prime Minister as himself. While some more idealistic promises were made, the fruits of true Independence (while positively sweet for many) still taste sour to a considerable amount. With a visionary at the Centre motivating the masses, the possibilities of a wholesome, fulfilling harvest benefitting all would not be entirely unachievable.

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