Freedom from poverty. Freedom from the poison of casteism and communalism. Liberating India from the curse of gender bias. Making India a manufacturing and export hub. Building a new and clean India, based on financial empowerment and inclusion of all Indians, cutting across all parochial categories.
These were some strands of Prime Minister Narendra’s Modi’s anthem of national renewal outlined in his maiden Independence Day address. On a radiant and bright morning, Modi spoke to thousands of people assembled at the Red Fort complex, kindling new hopes about his vision of a national renaissance. Refreshingly, Modi, sporting a polka-dotted blazing orange turban, spoke extempore, without notes, and eloquently underlined the need to forge a national consensus on key issues and making the country into a formidable manufacturing hub, underpinned by enterprise and innovation.
Indians, the prime minister underlined, needed to give up the “poison” of casteism and communalism, and called for a moratorium on violence for the next 10 years. “How long will this continue?” he said in an emotive tone. “We have fought enough, we have killed enough. Turn back and see, has anyone gained anything?”
This emphasis on burying parochial agendas to rebuild the nation, the spirit of service to the nation, combined with his stress on seemingly mundane issues like keeping the country clean has reinforced his credentials as a development-focused leader.
Invoking his dream of building a “Digital India,” the prime minister said he will encourage e-governance, which he translated as easy governance.
Known for his pro-business and pro-reform image, Prime Minister Modi pitched for attracting greater foreign investment and making the country the world’s preeminent manufacturing hub. “Come, Make in India!,” Modi urged global investors. “I tell the world, Make in India! Sell anywhere but manufacture here. We have the skill and talent,” said Modi, the first Indian prime minister born in independent India.
Striking a patriotic chord, Modi, who rode to power over two months ago after a resounding victory in the May parliamentary elections, said it should be every Indian’s dream to see “Made in India” products around the world. These products should be eco-friendly and zero-defects, he stressed, adding that India should aim to be the world’s leading exporting nation.
Celebrating the potency and resilience of Indian democracy, Modi, who proudly flaunts his days as a tea-seller, said it allowed “a poor family, an ordinary family” to get the country’s top post. “I stand before you today not as the prime minister but as the Pradhan Sevak (Chief Public Servant).”
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