Mr. Narendra Modi’s speech: The Road Ahead

The buzz this Independence Day has been all about Mr. Narendra Modi’s maiden speech as Prime Minister of India at the historic Red Fort in Delhi.

Here is a man who, as Sachin Tendulkar rightly said once, has turned the stones thrown at him into milestones. Here is a man committed towards transforming India, but not alone, but with all. His speech was more of that of an elder brother appealing to his younger siblings to take a step towards a better India or should I say ‘tech a step’ towards a modernized India.

Narendra Modi

He started the speech on a positive note stating that – ‘Main Pradhan Mantri nahi, Pradhan Sevak hoon.’ (I’m not a Prime Minister but a prime servant of this society.)

Issues Addressed

Women Empowerment: Unlike his former rival, he wasn’t vague. He addressed the issue to the point and rightly asked the Maai-Baap (Parents) to shun gender discrimination and keep a check on their sons the same way they keep a check on their daughters.

Terrorism/ Naxalism/ Communalism/ Casteism: Keep aside all the differences and we’ll see a radical change in India. Mr. Modi pleaded the nation to be united and stop vandalism. If India has ever protested about something in recent years, then it has been for the right to be backward. These words from Mr. Modi, I hope will surely have an effect on those who heard him.

Chalking out the road ahead

Make in India, Made in India: He was bang on target stating that the manufacturing sector in India needs a boost and welcomed the MNCs to invest in India. Some people will always see, FDI as a backward step, but they do not realize that FDI brings in the technology and creates a competitive environment for the local companies, leading to a win-win situation for the masses. For instance, Amazon entering Indian markets to compete with the e-commerce leader Flipkart.

Stop importing, start exporting: India loses out a lot of money due to heavy imports. It’s time we control the outflow by welcoming the foreign investors. Labour reforms will need to undergo lots of changes, but will surely happen if India is looking to go the Chinese way.

He resonated Gandhiji’s thoughts on going swadeshi (India-made products). He also focused on the lack of quality consciousness in our manufacturing sector and in general, our attitude of Chalta Hai.

Zero Defect, zero effect’ – Zero defect in the product with zero effect on our rich flora and fauna.

Time to go digital : He lauded saying that IT professionals has transformed India’s image and the western countries no longer perceive our nation as the land of snake charmers. He focussed on digital education and virtual learning classrooms so that the best of the faculties teach the remotest of villages. He justly stated that for this to happen we need to have our own electronic goods manufacturing units.

e-governance- easy,effective and economical governance.

Tourism: At last, somebody felt the need to boost our tourism sector and welcome the foreigners!

Tourist aate hai to sab kamate hain, hotel wale kamate hain, taxiwale kamate hain, chai bechnewale kamate hai .” (Tourism boosts the economy. Everyone earns, right from a hotel owner to a tea vendor.)

I’m sure many tea- vendors across this nation would be overjoyed hearing those words!

Clean India, Better India: Mr. Modi echoed Gandhiji’s thoughts on cleanliness. Everyone needs to understand that we should live in cleaner surroundings.

Grassroot-level focus: He asked the MPs to adopt one village each and transform that village into a model village. Creating better stability in the agrarian community of this nation has always been of foremost importance to every government. Better said than done, the government needs to hit the ground running.

He was rational, to the point and chalked out the way forward keeping in mind to focus on villages. If we need to go forward we ought to stop being backward. India needs to be united to move forward. He reflected on Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts on youth of the nation. A single person cannot perform a miracle, unless every Indian analyses and changes himself for the betterment of the nation. “Be the change, you want to see.”

India, after years of wilderness, it seems has finally got a servant who wants to change the nation. But the onus is on we Indians. We ought to stop wasting our time and energy and direct our energy towards better purposes. If India truly needs to modify itself, it should first modify its own thoughts. One Modi cannot transform the nation, but a crore Modis will. If every Indian takes one step forward, we’ll be ahead by 1.2 billion steps.

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Bharat Ratna or ‘Bharat Sarkar’ Ratna

The buzz is all about Mr. Modi’s first Independence Day speech at the the iconic Red Fort in Delhi as the fourteenth Prime Minister of India. The modified nation is anticipating some announcements from the magician who scripted a historic win three months ago. Mr. Modi has chosen to keep quiet amidst all the controversies surrounding the new government. Among various announcements it is expected that the government might as well announce the Bharat Ratna awardees.

The prestigious Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour is conferred by Government of India to recognize the exceptional service of its acclaimed nationals. In the recent history, more often than not, the esteemed award has often be perceived as a medium to appease a particular group or society. In a democracy where the politicians and the voter have a quid pro quo relationship , certain issues or awards are seldom spared.

Bharat Ratna

The Indian hockey wizard Dhyan Chand and freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose have been dragged into controversy over  Bharat Ratna years after their death. The death of Netaji Bose is itself a huge controversy, as a faction ridiculously thinks that he is still alive and should not be awarded the national honour ‘posthumously‘ . Various questionable chauvinists and supposedly sports enthusiasts have clamoured that Dhyan Chand be awarded Bharat Ratna a quarter century after his death. No one even a bit can question his merit but why politicize it. It has been a question of who deserved it first- Dhyan Chand or the God himself, Sachin Tendulkar. It is ludicrous to argue that who deserved Bharat Ratna. But Dhyan Chand not getting the award enraged many part-time hockey admirers. One is discussing about a man here who has won India several Olympic gold medals. It is a disrespect to a champion who needs to be marketed to be recognized for the honour.

The controversy catapulted last year on the day Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket. Within a few hours of his retirement the Indian government announced that he will be conferred with the highest civilian honour. More than the merit of the concerned individual, the timing of the act was questionable. As the country was still mourning the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar, the announcement was largely perceived as a mollifying act by the government.

It is a pity that in a country of over a billion people, such issues are politicized and has wasted the time and energy of many individuals (including mine) protesting on the streets and debating on news channels over a trivial issue. We Indians make the world wonder how are some of the people from our own community doing so well in the world. It is of least importance to debate whether a man should be honoured or not after his death. There have been many such worthy individuals who have sacrificed their lives for the nation’s service and yet have not been recognized with the honour. Veer Savarkar, Vinoba Bhave, Lokmanya Tilak, Sarojini Naidu, Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai are few noteworthy examples of acclaimed individuals who have not yet been and will not be in future be awarded the honour. It is equally bemusing how Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi received the honour when they served as the Prime Ministers of this nation. Ironically, Morarji Desai, former Indian Prime Minister was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously, although he himself was the strongest critic of the honour .

Bharat Ratna, an honour conferred upon highly revered individuals of this nation, has lost its own reverence. The opportunists have always managed to politicize the issue and gain the support of the masses. Every new government has made the award, a medium of appeasement. No one can and should ever doubt the merit of the recipients, but the constant controversy surrounding the honour have really puzzled many Indians whether the award is Bharat Ratna or Bharat Sarkar Ratna.