A Counter Point to PM Narendra Modi’s First Independence Day Speech
Pratap Bhanu Mehta tells us that Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech did not lean upon authority or pedigree. With due respect to him, I would like to humbly disagree with that conclusion. It leaned entirely on authority and past.
Narendra Modi while starting his speech paid respects and “gratitude to all those previous governments and ex-Prime Ministers who have endeavored to take our present-day India to such heights and have added to the country’s glory”
If he is not leaning on the past, the pedigree then what else it is. Trying to sound like statesmen, he invokes the legacy of every former Prime Minister, every government and builds and authority around it. In his 2013, speech Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh named the former Prime Ministers who contributed to building the nation. So there is nothing new in what the present incumbent said.
Narendra Modi never fails to praise himself and his ‘pedigree’. Just like the election speeches he invokes his own ‘pedigree’ of humble origins.
Sample this: “Today a boy from small town, a poor family has got the opportunity to pay homage to the tri-colour of India at the ramparts of Lal Quila (Red Fort)”
Another One: “I am an outsider for Delhi, I am not a native of Delhi. I have no idea about the administration and working of this place. I have been quite isolated from the elite class of this place…”
Emphasizing your own humble origins and calling yourself as an outsider while taking a jibe at ‘Delhi’s elite’ is certainly not invoking pedigree.
During the election campaign, replicas of Lal Quila (Red Fort) were often used as backdrops and many a time he was gifted by huge models of this Mughal architecture’s masterpiece by his supporters.
The Prime Minister called himself a servant of the people. But that line is not original. He simply imitated India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘First Servant of the Indian People’ speech. It was his first broadcast to the nation on August 15, 1947
“Fellow Countrymen, it has been my privilege to serve India and the cause of India’s freedom for many years. Today I address you for the first time officially as the First Servant of the Indian people, pledged to their service and their betterment. I am here because you willed it so and I remain here so long as you choose to honour me with your confidence” – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
While it was praiseworthy that a Prime Minister was talking about building ‘National character’ on a ‘National festival’, his own actions have been less than far from being ideal. While preaching idealism, Modi forgot that his party’s president has at least 15 criminal cases against him including charges of snooping and fake encounters. It is also important to note that the Prime Minister himself is facing charges of involvement in Gujarat 2002. Those people who believe that the Supreme Court has given him the much publicized ‘Clean Chit’ are mistaken. Supreme Court only appointed SIT which gave its report – based on which Metropolitan court of Ahmedabad found ‘no prosecutable evidence’ against him. Therefore his actions are far from ideal and hardly inspire any ‘National Character’.
It is very heartening to know that the Modi is concerned about rapes and violence against women. His poignant points about the society and the hypocrisy of the parents for not questioning their sons and only questioning their daughters would be welcome even by his worst critics. Albeit, his critics have every right to ask him about his own stand on rape accused ministers in his government. Nihal Chand, a prominent face in the Council of Ministers is facing charges of involvement in a heinous gangrape. Charity begins at home, Mr. Prime Minister. Will Modi set an example by removing his rape accused minister?
Modi in his speech emphasized the benefits of ‘Non-Violence’. Even made a strong point on how Maoists and terrorists should shed the path of violence. I felt proud that the Prime Minister of my country is talking the correct thing, even though the Narendra Modi as a person and a Chief Minister of a state could not perform his constitutional duty of stalling the grave communal violence of Gujarat 2002. Neither could he stop the dozen fake encounters against ‘innocents’ in his own state.
Actions speak louder than words. Let me ask Mr. Modi one simple question. Why are Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangee released on bail, 45 days after your government took charge? Are they not accused of violence? Why is Sanjeev Baliyan- the accused of Muzaffarnagar communal violence -a member of your ministry?
Mr. Modi requested fellow countrymen for a moratorium of 10 years on communal incidents of violence. It is a welcome statement by itself. But if you dig deep and see its connotations, it has various layers to it. Does that mean that Mr. Modi wants to continue the violence after 10 years? That is an illogical, naïve conclusion- but a probable one. The more pertinent one is what Mr. Modi has done to calm down the simmering situation in Uttar Pradesh. More than 600 incidents of communal violence have taken place since the Modi government came to power. 60% of incidents have taken place near to those 10 constituencies where Assembly bye-elections are due later this year. BJP swept Uttar Pradesh and must have some answers on who is spreading the violence there. History records it that no communal tension in this country took place without the involvement of Narendra Modi’s parent organisation the –RSS. This is true at least in the post-independence scenario.
Welcoming is the fact that our PM is concerned about financial inclusion. ‘Pradhanmantri Jan-Dhan Yojana’ has been launched. This was a scheme which was entirely started by the previous UPA government. It was called ‘Swabhimaan’ then. Launched in 2011, it provided for banking facilities in rural and remote areas. From 2004 to 2012, more than 33 Crore individual bank accounts have been opened in India. This was possible by schemes like this. Mr. Modi knows its potential so he changed the name of the scheme and added his stamp of “Pradhanmantri” on it.
There are numerous initiatives of the UPA government which has been simply refurbished. His emphasis on Skill Development for youth, has been already taken care when the UPA launched the National Skill Development Mission. There is already a National Skill Development Corporation (on PPP basis) which has made the process simpler and more targeted.
When he talks of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Broadband for Villages, not just for the elite’; that too had already been implemented by the UPA.
Only 4.75 Million people were provided with broadband and internet services in 2004. But till 2012, 485.86 Million use those.
Similarly the name of ‘Pradhanmantri Aadarsh Gram Yojana’ to build ‘Model Villages’ have been renamed as ‘Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana’.
Mr. Modi emphasizes on cleanliness and sanitation. UPA started a massive sanitation drive called ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan’. Mr. Modi is just renaming that into “Swach Bharat Abhiyan”. Budgetary provisions of Rs 1000 Crore were made for the same.
These things are very mundane, and make this piece a little boring too, but each of these points need to be covered in order to highlight that Mr. Modi and his government is offering nothing new in his vision for India.
It is astounding to know that Mr. Modi did not mention anything about curbing Corruption, did not say a word about repeated ceasefire violations from Pakistan and incursions from China.
Not a single syllable on Price Rise
Lastly, it is important to point out that Mr. Modi did not use the much publicized phrase of “Achhe Din” in his speech, not even once.
Surely, “Achhe Bhashan” are here to stay.
यह लेख हिन्दी में यहाँ पढ़ें – http://countryawake.blogspot.in/2014/08/blog-post.html