Saturday, 16 August 2014

NaMo : Excelling on Independence Day; But....

It is rare indeed when a political leader truly connects with the masses; it is rarer still when he both connects with, and rips into the masses and their habits, holding them singularly responsible for a number of habits... This is what Shri Narendra Modi achieved on the 15th of August 2014 from the ramparts of The Red Fort, New Delhi...


At the outset, let me concede that I was extremely lucky on 2 counts : first, I happened to read the speech before I listened to it; and two - I was extremely lucky to see this day with my eyes, and listen to it with my ears. Not because of what some people say - "Vande Mataram, Hindi Speech etc"; but because of some other reasons that I shall detail in this post. I started listening to it on youtube,, but stopped midway - around 14:00 - when the sheer power of his skills in oration began clouding by ability to judge. Our PM is a truly magical persona, indeed... proud to be Indian at this moment...

I subsequently listen to the entire speech, and was truly glad that I did both - read it first, and listened to the speech as well. It was one of the most original, brilliant single pieces of oratory one is likely to see; it was combined with a genuine approach towards the subject matter - at no point was it contrived, or made up. The effort seemed genuine!

Before we go ahead, let us take a look at the bullet points of his speech from www.livemint.com : PM Speech 15 Aug :

  1. Pradhan Sevak
  2. Nation built by people; Respect Indian Constitution 
  3. Ancient Heritage; Consensus - Not Majority
  4. Dysnfunctional, infighting Bureaucracy
  5. Selfish Masses - I-Me-Myselfism
  6. Rape : Why not ask men and hold them accountable at home, in place of {or in addition to} protecting women?
  7. Nepal example; shed violence; connect with Democracy
  8. Shun Communalism
  9. Sex Ratio; Societal Imbalance; Contribution of Women
  10. Development, Good Governance, People should be service oriented
  11. Bank Account For All
  12. Skill Development
  13. Made In India
  14. Indian Image transformed by our professionals
  15. Cleaniless, filth everywhere; Drive to clean it up
  16. Model Village; schemes not by personality names, but by Sansad
  17. Active involvement of States, Federalism, No Planning Commission
  18. Defeat Poverty by SAARC together

Looked at it in such  a dispassionate manner, bulletted and enumerated : a few points become immediately visible even to the untrained eye. But more of that later; first  let me concentrate on the PM's delivery skills a bit more. I dont profess to explain it: not possible for me; but he does have almost  a magical pull, a charm about him that forces people to listen to him - that is beyond contest. The way he went about it, and his presentation was tremendous, and well-thought out.

It has been called an extempore speech; I dont think so. It was delivered, or rather - it seemed to be delivered extemporaneously, and spontaneously; but the thought and effort was showing. It was not apparent in the speech; but when you read it - it jumps at you. A good deal of thought, effort and planning went into it; which makes it all the more impressive - as it means that Shri Narendra Modi was intent on sending a message to all Indians on the occasion of Independence Day; He was also sending a clear message to the world as well as Indians. He was blasting his citizens for their ridiculous habits - and I can only feel a tinge of sadness. No pride, just shame and sadness at some of the content...

It is a sad day indeed when the Prime Minister of a nation has to exhort the country for such mundane items as Cleanliness, How to treat Women, Selfishness of the masses, Rape, Sex Ratio... how far have we fallen? How far indeed? I do recall Modiji also saying the same words, or words to that effect. Those words jolted me;  indeed he is right. What have we as a people become? How sad a condition it is if the Prime Minister is having to talk of such things? He held up a mirror to the masses - and the image in it was ugly. 

The good part is that it was nice to see someone of his stature stand up and rip off the mask of propriety from the citizenry in no uncertain terms; it felt good to see Modiji rip off the mask from the farce of Governance we had earlier, and showcase attempts to set things right. Best of all, prima facie, based on current evidence, this is being done by simple tactics without a witch hunt. Will it have an impact? I hope so, given his fan-following and his oratory skills, his tremendous connect with the masses. I am keeping my fingers crossed. 

For the rest, the speech focused on Skill Development, Manufacturing and Industry, & Bank Accounts for all; reams have been written about this in other articles, so I shall not dwell much on this, except to make a couple of observations on Made in India dream - this addresses a significant issue in our economy, or set of issues, rather - if we pull it off, it will be great; and there is no reason why we cant. 

Moving on, I dont agree with other analysts on the lack of substance. Sure, he could have been more specific, and focused on the nitty-gritty : making business environment simpler, introducing GST, etc etc. It has to be remembered that this is not a planning meeting; this is a national address. Such sessions have to, perforce, be high on ideals and goals, and low on the practicalities and the nuts-n-bolts.  This was a vision statement for the nation, as well as a not-so-gentle reminder of our faults from the Head Of The Family. And like it or not, Shri Narendra Modi is the Head Of Our Family, our Prime Minister : whether or not you voted for him. 

And that is where the problem lies. In Skill Development, there was no mention of primary and secondary school education or its quality - let alone plans to address this. The focus lay elsewhere. There was no mention of this serious issue. The vision statement was  totally silent on health issues, and lack of facilities in rural areas. It made no mention of these vital parameters, and related aspects - schools and PHCs in villages - taking education and Health to the masses; this is where the real concentration should have been. It made mention of Bank Accounts and Toilets - but no hint of education and medicine. This is worrying. No mention of rising prices : the single biggest issue facing us in the near term. 

It was totally silent on Corruption - not one word. Not one single word; not even a homily to the masses to stop paying a bribe. If you can exhort the masses to treat women better, clean your cities etc- why cant you attend to this as well? It would have been a relatively easy thing to do; and yet - it was totally ignored. It made not even one observation on the quality of politicians who govern our nation and on the criminalisation of politics. Nothing, nada, zilch. I wonder why? 

Corruption, Education & Health  plus Prices are all as important as toilets and Skill Development; in such a fantastic speech that was genuine and hit all the right notes, these omissions were jarring, leading me to wonder - are we going wrong in our single minded chase to become a developed nation? What about inclusive growth? For, one thing is clear : The focus was development as a people, and development as a nation. Poverty was both mentioned as well as focused -  but the specifics and the practicalities touched upon in the speech did not gel with the goal of poverty eradication. True, these might be taken up later on in the real world - but nevertheless the omission was a jarring note; it needed a mention of these 3 aspects as well... as these are the biggest issues facing India at the moment. 

The reason - there is simply no way or earth that poverty can be reduced without good schools & hospitals where the people need them, at a price they can afford... these, along with corruption, are our biggest problems. And our Prime Minister was silent on these points, which struck the only jarring note in an otherwise flawless speech that was loaded with pertinent and excellent content.. I can only hope that these are on the radar, and will be attended to alongwith the other practicalities... 

Please do update me in case I have missed something, and the negatives were also mentioned; I have no intention of being wrong

2 comments:

  1. Greetings,
    Dear Vikas Kale… I like your observations, comments..
    About your question about no mention of:
    -- Skill development Primary & Secondary School education
    -- Health care
    -- Affordability/Price factor
    -- Corruption
    My response to that could be as follows:
    1) Bhaarat was economically advance country before britishers came.. the training was fundamental, to learn language of communication to be able to read-write-understand the nature & views of others & respond.. the number counting & placing to know the trade interaction & benefit. & then to connect to the Vedic ideology.. to live & lead useful life to make the best out of this birth. This much education is sufficient then & now.. when the very education gets “राज्याश्रय” its essence turns destructive as it happened/explained in the epic of Mahabharat…thus it is better if it is taken care at family level & run down to each via “श्रुति-स्मृति” & adopted for living. In those days.. the skilled was like wise taught in the family.. the family children had not to worry about finding jobs outside.. the skilled taught by Grandpa genration to the wards between age 10 & 16 was fatching them the skill to survival & excell in the same for next 25 years.. was producing best of art & craft for the world to accept to use & enrich Bhaarat with welth that attracted all towards Bhaarat, what all are atteracted to say USA /Europe or foreign countries today… So the answer is to get back to those basics to be best artisans/producer + stand up with esteem & pride to belong to the cultural ID.. that is second to none; instead of going behind the so called advance/western/capitalist ideology what runs like the house of वेश्या & practically calls for destructive wars for commercial gains, at the cost of loss of values in human kind.. 1st & 2nd WW were the proof & the 3rd seems is round the corner..
    2) Bhartiys fundamental teaches us संयम युक्त जीवन.. that that take care of good health... the well known formula is “अति सर्वत्र वर्जयेत”... so that very self-imposed limit ensures good heath..Otherwise, life has limitation.. so why not live gracefully to the fullest..& defeat the goal of living by so called commercially motivated health-care & involve governance in to it.. ?? it is our prerogative & sure not of the governance..!!
    3) Affordability : This is the relative term.. in modern economic practice, the very value of barter “currency” is not kept constant, by those forces, that circulates it… & it keeps going down… so we need to link the value of our productive in-put hours to de-link with the currency number & link it to constant द्रव्य वाचक like grains or say Gold !! & stay aflote.. For eg. the money need for family of 6 in city of Mumbai from say 1950 to 2012 was constant = value of 20 Gms of Gold.. if we fix the value of our input linked to the value of certain amount of द्रव्य then the value of संख्या is automatically taken care of !! So we need to be proactive to determine our comfort zone.
    4) Now when the BJP led Government is instated by the majority vote at centre, it is up to that majority to take charge of corruption problem by denying it for any of the government service & complain in writing for inefficiency of it, but remain determined to “Not to pay” in cash or kind to receive it.. the corruption will disappear… At all the level, we must insist that “we have now changed the government, hence will not corrupt but you will surly loose your job when I complain in writing” & act up-on.. Anyway, governance do what for us.. ?? Provide some pieces of pares with the rubber stamps marked on it.. do we need it either to be born or die?? !! Surly our life depends less on those papers but more on our ability to interact with the forces of nature to fetch our living, with the help/support of the family in which we are born.. Thus no dependence & NO corruption from Us.. we are already free from it..!!
    S.P Mehta
    mehtasp25@gmail.com
    +1 312 608 9836

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    Replies
    1. Point 1> Agree on Western Universalism; I have written on it in 3 posts earlier : The Colonialism Series, these can be found on my blog for details. The Western World is just unable to come to terms with live and let live.

      http://reflectionsvvk.blogspot.in/2013/11/the-post-colonial-hangover-3-modern.html

      "Which brings me to the central point of my 3 articles: nothing has changed. The Post-Colonial World is still, fundamentally, and at a very basic level, colonial in nature."

      Please read the 3 posts and comment on the same as well

      4) Will the people be so proactive? I hope so, but I fear they wont be

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