The speech of a new Prime Minister, sworn to power, in what many regard as one of the biggest majority in parliamentary democracy is awaited with anticipation at the Lal Qila in Delhi. The biggest democracy in the world, India, saw its new Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi deliver his first speech during the 68th Independence Day which millions of Indians across the globe waited for. Narendra Modi has its fair share of admirers but also the staunchest opposition among the people in his country.
I am no Modi-Bhakt. But, I have to confess that the Prime Minister’s speech took me by surprise when he enumerated measures that he, Pradhan Sewak, believe would wake India up from its slumber. It is heart warming to see the PM speak like a statesman and in no unequivocal terms spoke on our need to maintain our secular fabric as a nation, financial inclusion, clean India, Model Villages and The Rape Shame. Credit goes to the PM who spoke to the nation as a commoner, read Pradhan Sewak, avoided to criticize the opposition or Pakistan. It is heart warming to see the sparkling difference between NaMo and the PM. Yesterday, at Red Fort, it was not NaMo speaking to his country folks but the Prime Minister of the greatest democracy in the world, Mr Narendra Modi. What didn’t change was the PM’s trade mark Churidhar and short sleeve Kurta, adding to it, a new sartorial style, his Bandhini
1. Rape Shame
As a country, we should be ashamed how rape is taking place in every nook-and-corner, be it prosperous cities and obscure villages. It is a fight few people with lofty thoughts and intentions are raising against the ugly patriarchy who blame a girl for every crime committed. Name it, you get it! Short skirts, venturing out at night or partying. It is a matter of disgrace when we see so-called saints or political leaders blaming a girl for being raped or the disgusting, ‘Ladke hai galati ho jati.’ PM Modi stand on rape took me by surprise and it’s heartening to the massive elected PM to speak on those terms, ‘Our heads hang in shame..Parents ask daughters hundred questions..have any parents ask their sons where he is going, why he is going..a rapist is also somebody’s son.’
It was the need of the hour.High time we stop blaming girls on what they wear and educate our sons to respect women in our conservative society that exploit women. I believe it starts from a very young age where we need to teach parents by spreading awareness about respecting women and including sex education and equality in school curriculum.
2. Clean India
The PM rightly pointed out that we need to make India a clean spot and filth free country. Just look how people have dirtied Ganga river, littering every where and throwing wrappers, tea cups and garbage on the streets, rivers and sea water. It’s our country and not a garbage spot. How can we claim to call ourselves a powerful country with rising economic growth and affluence when we can’t keep our country clean and spotless? Let’s pledge to make India a hygienic country. Avoid throwing stuffs from the top of our expensive sky-crapers and car windows.
3. Model Villages, Sanitation for women
Model villages is something I strongly believe in. ‘MP Model Village’ as announced by the PM, is something one must delve on and it’s a fact that MPs get a yearly allocation to spend in their respective constituencies. How many of them spend the allocated money for development purposes? Let’s make every single village in India a model of development with necessary amenities such as water, electricity, school, toilets and other state-of-the-art facilities.
It’s a matter of shame that women need to wait for dawn to relieve themselves in open fields. The tragedy is that lack of sanitation facilities and open defecation is unhealthy and trigger early death not just for young women but those expecting babies. Little do we realize that open defecation is so harmful to the health and spread diseases that claim lives. High time for corporates to step in and work in tandem with the Government to ensure that there is no difference between rural and urban India. There is only one India and hope words translate into action. We don’t want Bharat, on one side and India, on the other side.
4. Skewed Sex Ration, Communalism
India can become a super power in the long-term and for that to happen, we need to practice the politics of inclusion and shed communalism which is a blot to our constitution and democracy. Let’s ensure that no one is discriminated or violently murdered on account of their religious belonging or beliefs. We need laws that will put behind bars anyone who stir communal riots through inflammatory speech that leads to killing people of the country. United we stand, Divided we fall.
Skewed sex ratio is the biggest tragedy where a daughter is sacrificed for a son? Why? Our attitudes as human beings who take pride in the birth of a son and we cannot call ourselves a civilized society when we indulge in skewed sex ration. A developed state like Kerala has telling figures that cause us to worry how the girl-child is sacrificed and high time, we believe in our girls who can do as good as boys, if not better.
5. Made in India
Made in India has always been my life philosophy. Wherever I am, I make sure to buy Indian products in the super market. I am not saying that one shouldn’t buy good foreign products. The idea is promote local products and perhaps the slogan, Be Indian Buy Indian must be popularized again by adding a new twist and form. As the PM said, we must ensure that we make products meeting high standards and ensure that foreign businesses set plants in India, train local people for us to hit high path of growth. I highly believe in ‘Made in India’ and let’s overcome negative attitudes that local goods are inferior. They are not. Despite the fact that I am out of India right now, I always make sure that I buy my Britannia, Parle G biscuits, Basmati Rice, Appy Juice and Desi Masala, wherever I find them.
PM Narendra Modi came to Red Fort as commoner and it’s comforting to see, shedding bullet-proof shield, delivering a speech, enumerating the vision of his Government for Modern India. I’ve been a staunch opposition to Modi and perhaps I will in the future on ideological differences, but its heart warming to hear his speech and vision for a modern India. This is what India needs, a blend of modernity and traditional values such as Made in India and Model Villages. I really appreciate the fact that he spoke of being a Pradhan Sevak and all elected representatives are Sevak (servant) to this great nation. It augurs well for the future of India as a nation.
However, speeches are beautifully delivered. Hope the ideas will be swiftly translated into actions and if we manage to do so, nothing shall stop us from becoming a world super economic power. Let’s the Government restrict themselves in indulging in rhetoric at Red Fort every August 15 and January 26. We owe it to the nation. Or else, what the point of boasting of growth if the majority of the people cannot have access to education, nutrition, sanitation, respect for women or upholding our secular fabric as a nation?
I may disagree with some points made by the PM but let’s keep that for another day. Our Independence Day is a solemn moment for the nation to unite and look for a brilliant future. It’s the way ahead.
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action–
Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake.”
Proud to be Indian