Our PM’s address on the Independence Day this year must have been the most talked about event and also the most watched speech in the history of India. Ever since he took oath as Prime Minister there has been a hiatus, but for his brief speech in Kathmandu earlier this month. His election speeches had shown to the people of our nation his oratory skills, his clarity of thinking and his ability to connect with them. Therefore there was great expectation that he will not make a perfunctory address but one that had substance. Further there was heightened interest on whether he will continue with his extempore style or would he read out a written speech a-la Vajpayee style.
Would he be using a bulletproof glass cage or would he be addressing without that protection? There was some media speculation as to whether he will hoist the Indian flag from a location other than the Red Fort. Slowly it became clear that this year he will not break the tradition and will honour our flag at the Red Fort. All these issues added to the intrigue and people were looking forward to experiencing the event as much as listening to the man.
Like many, I was curious to know when exactly our PM will be addressing the Nation. Some TV Channels reported it would be at 8 am, while some reported, that at 7.20 am he would arrive and unfurl the tri-colour and then speak from 7.30 am. Not willing to take a chance I was ready before my TV at 7.20 am. Then he came, he saw, he conquered (Veni, vidi, vici – the phrase used by Julius Caesar to indicate a swift, conclusive victory).
I am not going to write about what he spoke, nor how he spoke. These have been reported extensively. There have been hours of TV debate on whether he was good, bad or indifferent. Comments were mirroring political positions already taken and there were no surprises there. However for once I saw the TV media rallying behind Modi and really appreciating his clarity of thought, his genuine concern for the welfare of the nation and his practical ideas for a stronger tomorrow. The print media too were generous with their praise. May be they were reflecting the views of their audience; else they would soon be losing their viewership and readership!
If one person was crudely harsh on Modi, it was Mani Shankar Aiyer. But this was the man who got Modi to win, probably an additional 30+ seats, by his loose comment on Modi being a chaiwala and that he was welcome to serve tea to Congressmen in its headquarters. Not surprisingly, Mani Shankar too fared poorly and finished fourth in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
Modi’s honeymoon period is far from over. The way he is conducting himself and the way he is running the Government, is endearing him with the people. The country is willing to give him time to solve her problems and to move up in the comity of nations. And for this, when Modi speaks, the nation listens!
The author is Chairman, R K Swamy Hansa Group.