Haritha Sharma, SpeakingThreads
Photo Source: BigStockPhoto
My name is Narendra Damodardas Modi, I have arrived and I am here to stay. No he never said that but he surely meant that. His speech, his effort in delivering that impeccably and content thereof will be remembered ever after.
Indian Prime Minister Modi was definitely not the pioneer leader from India to have addressed the joint meeting of the US Congress on 8th June, 2016. Many other Prime Ministers from India have had that privilege starting from Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi to Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Manmohan Singh. And now the show stopper or show stealer PM Modi.
There is absolutely no doubt about few facts which may actually translate into compliments in so far as PM Modi’s speech goes. He is a good orator; not only good but a master orator. He prepares and masters his speech. He does not take the speech casually when it comes to an international event. He spoke in extempore English so that he could connect well with the audience, which comprised of the top leaders of the US including the Speaker of the House and also the Vice President Joe Biden. Despite English being not even his second language and his dialect or pronunciation being not very clean and clear, PM Modi without any iota of hesitation, stole the show in the US Congress so much so that he got nearly 10 standing ovations and humungous 66 applauds or clapping interventions. This number was huge apparently one of the highest to have got by any world leader and definitely highest for any Indian PM in the US Congress. There can be no second opinion or thought that PM Modi would have rehearsed this speech and that shows high level of commitment and hard work. At the end, he made India proud.
On the top of it, PM Modi’s speech had fairly good content, which had a 360-degree perspective. He literally touched each relevant issue, which is pertinent to India and Indian gamut. By and large, across all party lines and ideologies, PM Modi’s speech was liked and complimented by each and every one.
He started his speech by quoting Abraham Lincoln’s words about liberty and equality and then made a point about India being the world’s largest democracy with its 1.25 billion people.
He touched the American sentiments by referring to the Arlington National Cemetery – the final resting place of their soldiers. He deeply acknowledged the courage and sacrifices made by Americans for the ideals of freedom and democracy. His statement that “I applaud …India applauds, the great sacrifices of the men and women from ‘The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’ in service of mankind.” brought about a resounding applaud in the US Congress.
He also placed much emphasis on the similarities between US and India with regard to the principles of democracy and reiterated the relationship between the two as that of ‘natural allies’.
Comparing the Indian Constitution to a holy book was another great theme of PM Modi’s speech thereby asserting that the holy book consisted of freedom of faith, speech and franchise, and equality of all citizens, regardless of background.
Reference of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Martin Luther King also got tailored very well in the speech.
The subject of terrorism dominated PM Modi’s speech in the latter part. He very candidly said that “We have both lost civilians and soldiers in combating it. The need of the hour is for us to deepen our security cooperation. And, base it on a policy: that isolates those who harbour, support and sponsor terrorists; that does not distinguish between “good” and “bad” terrorists; and that delinks religion from terrorism. Also, for us to succeed, those who believe in humanity must come together to fight for it as one, and speak against this menace in one voice. Terrorism must be delegitimized.”
India’s lead role on humanitarian front also got deserved emphasis in his speech when he said that
“Far from our shores, we evacuated thousands from Yemen, Indians, Americans and others. Nearer home, we were the first responders during Nepal’s earthquake, in the Maldives water crisis and most recently during landslide in Sri Lanka. We are also one of the largest contributors of troops to UN Peace Keeping Operations. Often, India and the U.S. have combined their strengths in science, technology and innovation to help fight hunger, poverty, diseases and illiteracy in different parts of the world.”
There was reference of demands of climate change related issues, technology, intellectual property etc. In other words, there wasn’t any germane topic, which wasn’t touched upon by PM Modi in his speech.
But the concluding lines were very deeply worded. These closing lines had resounding effect and impact. PM Modi said that –
In the lines of Walt Whitman, “The Orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments, the baton has given the signal.”
And then PM Modi said “to that, if I might add, there is a new symphony in play.”
Yes, new symphony where US and India emerge as new partners in the global band. PM Modi was congratulated on the social media world across for his outstanding speech. In the US Congress, he was also seen giving autographs to senior US leaders. All this makes him somewhat of a skilled and respected statesman.
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