Place: Madison Square Garden
Occasion: Indian Prime Ministers speech
I was one among the thousands at least for the first half of the speech inside MSG and for the remaining half, I was talking to a few protestors outside MSG
The divide @ MSG
There were people (in thousands) inside the Madison square garden to hear the prime minister talk about India’s future and then there were people outside (in hundreds) shouting slogans so the prime minister can hear them about India’s past. They were only divided by some barricades, a road and a few cops. The concern was not about this physical separation; the concern was that the people on either side of this were also getting divided.
A few among the thousands were abusing the protestors, swearing names since they were protesting against their beloved leader. The people abusing the protestors are well mannered individuals who have high hopes for India and want to see a developed India but want to move on. And the people fighting for justice also have very high hopes for India and want the country to succeed in all aspects of development, not just the economic development but also the human development.
So it’s important that both the groups hear out each other rather than resorting to name calling and abusing.
The Prime Minister @ MSG:
The prime minister, no doubt, rally the crowd, gave them high hopes for India, spoke like no other prime minister did, but I felt it could be a bit more objective and inclusive so he could address some of the major concerns plaguing India today. And this is not a mere reaction to the one speech @ MSG; this is a reflection on all the speeches the prime minister gave ever since he took office. The Prime Minister assumed power at the back of a landslide victory. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.
He and his party now have a huge obligation to change the fortunes of the billions of Indians, not just the billionaires of India. Below are some of the anecdotes from the PM’s speech @ MSG and I added what more I wanted to hear from the PM or that needs to be put into action for each one of those anecdotes.
Earlier we used to play with snakes, now we play with a mouse – thanks to transformation by India’s Information Technology Industry. The agriculture sector unfortunately has not seen the benefits of the technology. They are still getting troubled by snakes and snake bites, there is a great need to make technology more accessible to the farmers – for e.g. access to market, sharing knowledge, leveraging expertise and so on so forth.
I assure you that with the massive mandate I have received, I will not do anything that lets you down – we need a system that shouldn’t let us down. With a massive mandate unlike no other government has ever seen, you sir, have a great opportunity to build a robust system that will not let anyone down no matter who is at the helm of affairs. It’s easier for individuals to let the people down but it’s a little harder for the systems.
India has three things: democracy, demographic dividend, or the youth and demand – Make that 4 and add diversity to this list. If the diversity can feel they are still part of the majority and not forming smaller minorities, India’s strength can really be diversified and actually doubled up. They should feel inclusive not elusive.
Economic development to become a public movement: This is bang on target and for that matter so should be the human development – it has to be a public movement. The people in general also must feel that they are part of this and also feel they are fully empowered. RTI must not be protected anymore it needs to be socialized and it needs to be further strengthened
Removal of archaic laws: While at it, also considering reforming the laws. The 1861 police act still governs the police forces in India with some minor changes in more than a century for e.g desperately needs a make over. Likewise there is a great need to clean the cobwebs of the judiciary.
Make in India: Bhopal is a grim reminder and very big example right in front of us that things can easily break in India. And it’s so broken that even after 30 years the victims of the incident are still trying to fix it and all by themselves. Union Carbide was given a red carpet to make in India and was given a red carpet to exit after they broke in India. While we want to move forward and get rid of the red tape, it’s equally important to learn from our past.
Clean India: Not just the roads, the rivers but also the mindsets and our attitudes. Manual Scavenging should be banned with immediate effect. Let people using the dry latrines face the situation themselves or change it. Also our attitude towards someone doing a lesser job should be cleaned, there should be dignity of labor, a culture that needs to be adopted and encouraged.
Indians living abroad: While Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, OCI/PIO are all welcome decisions, equally important is for NRIs to have a voting right. Especially after the previous elections where NRIs played a role in campaigning, fund raising and socializing, it’s important to bring them into the democratic process.
With a billion plus population, India presents a huge market: The billion plus population is not only an opportunity for the investors but should also be for themselves. The billion plus includes people from all walks of lives, religions, castes, economic background and as such must feel India as a land of opportunity, a land of equal opportunity for everyone
The world’s youngest country combined with the most ancient culture: The exuberance and experimenting youth combined with a culture that promotes tolerance, inclusiveness and empathy, India can really be the leader of the 21st century.
And while the Make in India, Clean India slogans are good, we should also strive for An Equal India, a Tolerant India and a Diverse India
Let the tribals be proud of their roots not removed from their roots
Let the north east be part of mainstream India not just bordering India
Let business be the vehicles to improve the living conditions for everyone not just for a select few
Let the religion be forces to unite the people not divide them
Let people be respected irrespective of their caste not because of their caste
Let education be a means of empowerment not a means of exploitation
and so on ….. so forth ….
If anyone has a chance to do this, then it has to be the current day government and it has to be done now or at least the ball must get rolling