While Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his 10th consecutive Independence Day address today, a lot of criticism hemmed up against him.
Standing at the renowned Red Fort, he tweeted, “At the historic Red Fort, the magnificence of our Independence Day celebrations unfolds and the Tricolour waves majestically. A sight of unparalleled grandeur, a testament to our proud heritage.”
While delivering his 10th consecutive Independence Day address today. around 1,800 people from various walks of life were present at the Independence Day celebrations including more than 400 Sarpanches of 660 vibrant villages, 250 from the Farmer Producer Organisations scheme, 50 participants each of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, 50 Shram Yogis of the Central Vista project as well as 50 each primary school teachers, nurses, and fishermen.
During his address, he said that “Demography, democracy and diversity” were India’s strengths and the country’s youth would have unlimited opportunities.
Speaking on Manipur, he said, “I want to tell the people of Manipur that the country is with you,” He added that a lasting resolution could only be found through peace.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “In the last few weeks, Manipur witnessed a wave of violence. Several people lost their lives and our mothers and sisters were dishonoured,” he said. “Manipur has been peaceful for the last few days,” he said on Tuesday. “The state and the federal governments are working to ensure this continues.”
The Prime Minister said that the country’s economic situation post the Covid-19 pandemic was better than most other countries. “We have been able to control inflation successfully,” he said.
Criticisms on Narendra Modi’s Speech
“Demography, democracy and diversity”
In a hashtag #PMModiSpeech, netizens expressed their angst. While speaking on democracy and diversity, he never touched on the burning issues of hate crimes pitted by one community against another. The 2023 Haryana riots, the Gurgaon Riots, and the Manipur Massacre were on the brink of civil war all in recent months. In recent years, India has seen communal spurts and violence against minorities. A lot of this is exploding by allowing nefariously charged people to continue their open hate speeches with no arrest warrants made. It is permitted by most of the BJP-led governments.
On the other hand, police are seen aiding the aggressors when it is from a certain community, thus when speaking about equality, this is not seen coming from the top and the Prime Minister has been ineffectual in stopping it, and to many, he is seen as the propagator.
This should concern us as Indians.” said senior journalist Javed Ansari referring to Mr. Modi talking about the Manipur violence when he said, “Under Biren Singh, Manipur has seen relative peace.”
There has been complete complacency on the communal violence on the part of the Prime Minister leaving most minorities to fear he will allow these eruptions to continue while he keeps silent while this occurs. In other democracies, when there is a shootout or some disturbing event, their presidents or prime ministers immediately give a televised speech to their country’s people to calm them down. This has never happened in the Modi governance.
Politicizing the Event
“Party of family, by family and for family…”It is my life’s commitment to keep fighting against corruption. Dynasty politics has ruined the country. It has taken away the rights of people.”: Prime Minister Modi slams dynastic politics in his Independence Day address.
People ask whether this was a political rally and one citizen quipped, ”
Was this a political rally ? Give me one example of any previous pm doing this on this day
— surcastic (@nkotb2023) August 15, 2023
Ria, a journo in Times network n Zee News retorted, “Is the PM out of his mind.. Who does politics on the podium of independence day..???
Is the PM out of his mind.. Who does politics on the podium of independence day..???
— Ria (@RiaRevealed) August 15, 2023
Uttarakhand Congress Sevadal went on to share an old speech from Pandit Nehru saying, “This even after 77 Years, remains the best speech by a leader in the world. Share it with every young Indian who has never listened to Pandit Nehru speaking. Goosebumps.”
This even after 77 Years,remains the best speech by a leader in the world 🇮🇳
Share it with every young Indian who has never listened to Pandit Nehru speaking.
— Uttarakhand Congress Sevadal (@SevadalUKP) August 15, 2023
The outstanding speech of Nehru was inclusive and healing on the eve of Independence without slamming any other person or party, adding a completely different timber to it. In contrast, Prime Minister Modi’s speech sounded to many like an election campaign, drawing out the wonderful way his governance managed COVID.
This was not the reality because the second wave revealed the unpreparedness of hospitals where beds, oxygen, and not enough space to cremate the dead with cemeteries and crematories overflowing with dead bodies such that the Ganga River was flooded with dead bodies. It was said that the poor did not have wood to cremate their dead as well. Perhaps no country suffered as India. During the second wave, waves of sympathy rose for India and other countries sent oxygen and vaccines to India uncovering India’s unpreparedness. Given India has an explosive population of over one billion, it was understandable, but it could have been avoided. Some of the state governments managed the COVID crisis beautifully in spite of not getting sufficient help from the Center.
The Center was also criticized for rejecting BMC’s (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) request to allow it to go door-to-door for vaccinating 1,50,000 old and disabled citizens who can’t access vaccines because the Center says it “has no such policy.’
If India rose after the second wave, it was merely due to great tenacity and personal willpower because most people reiterated they felt abandoned by the government. During this time, even Opposition party workers pitched in to help the public even if it was a BJP-ruled state. Thus, his speech giving credit to none except his own governance has irked many.
While the prime minister kept sharing about what will be done for India, a farmer, Rohan Ramchandra Pandey said, “To avoid questions, a dream of a thousand years is being shown. The CAG report is being audited, the truth shall be shown.”
77th Independence Day
— Rohan Ramchandra Pandey 🇮🇳 (@RohanPandey__) August 15, 2023
The anger of the people was irked on more when he denied the gravity of inflation in India and said, “The world is facing inflation but India has taken several measures to tackle inflation and will continue to do so. Prime Minister Modi said, “The world has still not recovered from Corona. The war gave rise to another crisis. Today, the world is facing the crisis of inflation. Inflation has the entire global economy in its clutches…It is unfortunate that when we import goods of our necessity, we also import inflation.”
“But, India made all efforts to control inflation…We can’t be content just because our situation is better than the rest of the world. I have to take more steps to see that the burden of inflation goes further down on the citizens of my country. We will take those steps and my efforts will continue…,” he said.
However, India is being swallowed by a huge inflation wave with soaring prices everywhere such as milk, vegetables, and even medicines so massively expensive that it is difficult to survive with ease.
Concerns about the Indian Economy Were Not Addressed:
Records show that the GST collection for 2022-2023 was one of the highest, with 18.10 lakhs crores with the BJP government benefiting from the rich collection. The uses of this GST money include Prime Minister Modi’s lavish lifestyle, his clothes, gifts, his event management, his advertisement, and his election rallies with zero accountability. On the other hand, the poor beggars and hungry on the road are suffering with no provisions made for them.
Mr. Imran, a stock market investor and analyst expressed, “The Indian currency is heading to perhaps surrender to US Dollar by crossing previous lows of ₹,83.2850 against the US Dollar. The middle and poor were bearing the brunt of these attacks.”
What a good Indipendance day is today in Modi Era
— ImranINC (@Imran_SaveIndia) August 15, 2023
The Manipur Massacre Will Be Prime Minister Modi’s Downfall
Presently, Indians have witnessed horrific visuals of the violence in Manipur that the central government allowed, ongoing now, it has been three months with violence erupting every now and then today also. Veteran senior police officer, Vibhuti Narain Rai said in 1995, “No riot can last for more than 24 hours without the consent of the state.”
When Prime Minister Modi spoke on Manipur, he said that while there were a few days of violence in Manipur, there is now peace “Manipur has been peaceful for the last few days,” he said. “The state and the federal governments are working to ensure this continues.”
Mahua Moitra on the Floor of the House made a fiery speech pointing out that the BJP supporters justify the violence in Manipur saying it also happens in Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Chhattisgarh calling it the government’s whataboutery.
Ms. Moitra said, “The treasury benches have said, Why only Manipur, what about the instances of rape and murder in Rajasthan, in Chattisgarh, in West Bengal. We turn have felt compelled to ask, “What about the violence in Haryana?
She pointed out that Manipur is different, that Manipur has an issue of a hate crime of one community against a particular community where it is understood that police personnel of one community, possibly the same community of the chief minister handed over women of another community to be raped and pillaged by a mob and made every attempt to prevent those women from seeking justice.
Mahua Moitra said that the situation has led to an atmosphere of civil war with two communities pitted against each other in ethnic violence rarely seen in India in the past few decades.
In her animated address, characteristic of her style, she shot out:
“6,500 FIRs in three months, which state has seen this?
4000 houses destroyed in three months, which state has seen this?
60,000 people displaced, 2% of the State’s population, which state outside of wartime or natural calamity has seen this?
150 people dead in three months, which State has seen this”?
300 places of worship destroyed, which State has seen this?
An armed standoff between the Manipur State Police and the Assam Rifles captured on video, one controlled by the Minister of Home Affairs, the other controlled by the State Polic,
which State has seen this?
5000 firearms and 6 lakhs bullets looted from police stations by mobs, which State has seen this?
Two ethnic groups armed to the teeth, a buffer zone where hill cannot go to valley and valley cannot go to hill, which State has seen this?
The chief minister supports one group and accuses the other of being drug runners.
In truth, over 15,000 acres of poppy have increased in cultivation in the past five years.
250 km of forest land has reduced under this chief minister’s watch, which State has seen this? Only Manipur
Moitra pointed out that no action or changes of ministers were taken after this.
Manipur is a tacitly approved hate crime, this is civil war; these are crimes against humanity.
She ended resolutely with these words: “The prime minister’s inaction in Manipur where he had absolute power to intervene but did not is a cornerstone after which India will say, “Anyone, but Modi!”
Thus with this echo, people are stirred to say that will be Prime Minister Modi’s last speech in the Red Fort, perhaps that’s why he made it his longest speech, he knows it will be his last speech.