Chandigarh, June 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi received standing ovation repeatedly as he addressed the US Congress. His speech was unquestioningly brilliant. And it was in English, as a TV anchor pointed out whom Modi had “revealed” years earlier that one day, he would also graduate into English speaking. This is a different issue that he had gone with a shopping list and six nuclear reactors is not a small order.
Here is the beginning of his speech and there is a reason as to why some paras are being reproduced here verbatim:
“This temple of democracy has encouraged and empowered other democracies the world over.
It manifests the spirit of this great nation, which in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
In granting me this opportunity, you have honoured the world’s largest democracy and its 1.25 billion people.
Our nations may have been shaped by differing histories, cultures, and faiths.
Yet, our belief in democracy for our nations and liberty for our countrymen is common.
The idea that all citizens are created equal is a central pillar of the American constitution.
Our founding fathers too shared the same belief and sought individual liberty for every citizen of India.
There were many who doubted India when, as a newly independent nation, we reposed our faith in democracy.
Indeed, wagers were made on our failure.
But, the people of India did not waver.
Our founders created a modern nation with freedom, democracy, and equality as the essence of its soul.
And, in doing so, they ensured that we continued to celebrate our age old diversity.
Today, across its streets and institutions, in its villages and cities, anchored in equal respect for all faiths; and in the melody of hundreds of its languages and dialects.
India lives as one; India grows as one; India celebrates as one.
Modern India is in its 70th year.
For my government, the Constitution is its real holy book.
And, in that holy book, freedom of faith, speech and franchise, and equality of all citizens, regardless of background, are enshrined as fundamental rights.
800 million of my countrymen may exercise the freedom of franchise once every five years.
But, all the 1.25 billion of our citizens have freedom from fear, a freedom they exercise every moment of their lives.”
Freedom from fear, indeed. Ask the family of Mohammad Akhlaq who was lynched in Dadri. People are lynched by angry mobs in the name of Holy Cow. Human life is less important for the hate mongers. It was freedom to kill in November, 1984 and again in Gujarat in 2002.
One wishes Modi delivers such a speech from the bench of the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha.
One wishes he delivers the same speech to the Nagpur School where he got his training. This speech must be delivered in Hindi for the convenience of the Sadhvis of the Sangh Parivar who call for Muslim Mukt Bharat. One just can’t understand as to how these spiritual people (Sadhvis are supposed to be spiritual) can preach such hatred.
He might get standing ovation from 1.25 b people of this country in case he repeats this speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on comingAugust 15. India has a Prime Minister with a massive mandate after years and as such, he is supposed to weed out poison from the social system so that every man is treated as equal, without any caste or creed, high or low.
There was yet another visual treat on the front pages of Indian newspapers today. It was the picture of Modi being driven to a restaurant by President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto that is significant in many respects. This is in stark contrast to even third wrung Indian leaders being escorted by security people. It could be normal for President of Mexico driving down to his office himself. This is a lesson that the so called VVIPs in India have to learn from the Western countries.
The media had given several counts like number of standing ovations during his speech to US Congress but none mentioned the menu at the Mexican table.
As usual, Indian media went ga ga over Modi’s US visit, overlooking earlier stand of the BJP on nuclear treaty that at least should have been mentioned. There is nothing static in the world but it is the re-positioning that can be taken notice of.
However, the US media, as usual, gave little space in the newspaper columns to the visit, despite the shopping list.