Mov­ing from Swara­jya to Su­ra­jya:

Prime Min­is­ter Modi

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - [ By R. Chan­drakanth ]

On the oc­ca­sion of In­dia’s 70th In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions, the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s his­toric speech from the ram­parts of Red Fort has got global at­ten­tion, par­tic­u­larly for his men­tion of how Pak­istan is cre­at­ing a ‘hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis’ in Balochis­tan, Pak­istan-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, Gil­git and Baltistan in the name of counter-in­sur­gency. Stat­ing that the peo­ple of th­ese re­gions are thank­ing him for tak­ing up their cause, the Prime Min­is­ter, in a way, has re­sponded to Pak­istan’s at­tempts to in­ter­na­tion­alise Kash­mir, when in its own back­yard it was com­mit­ting heinous crimes in the name of counter-in­sur­gency.

Tak­ing on ter­ror­ism, in­clud­ing state-spon­sored, Prime Min­is­ter Modi placed two per­spec­tives in the ad­dress. One on how hu­man­ity is the driv­ing fac­tor for one set of peo­ple, while there is an­other kind who re­ward ter­ror­ism. Men­tion­ing the bru­tal killing of in­no­cent chil­dren in a school in Pe­shawar, the Prime Min­is­ter said the ter­ror strike had moved him and In­di­ans. “In­no­cent chil­dren be­came vic­tims of the blood­bath; the tem­ple of learn­ing had blood strewn all around; in­no­cent chil­dren were slaugh­tered.” While the ter­ror strike on in­no­cent chil­dren ached the hearts of In­di­ans, in Pak­istan there were those who glo­ri­fied ter­ror­ists, thus strik­ing a con­trast be­tween good and evil.

Ques­tion­ing on what type of‘ ter­ror­is­min­spired’ life they were lead­ing and what type of ‘ter­ror­ism-in­spired gov­ern­ments’ ex­isted, the Prime Min­is­ter was clearly point­ing to state-spon­sored ter­ror­ism. The world, he said, would un­der­stand th­ese two dif­fer­ences. “For the past few days the peo­ple of Baluchis­tan, the peo­ple of Gil­git, the peo­ple of Pak­istan-oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, have heartily thanked me and they have shown good­will, a land which I have not seen, the peo­ple I have not met.” He was high­light­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween hu­man­ity and ter­ror­ism to the world at large.

The Prime Min­is­ter also took up the is­sue of in­ter­nal se­cu­rity and came down heav­ily upon Maoists and other ex­trem­ists who in­dulged in killings. “Nowa­days a game of killing in­no­cents is be­ing played out, on the pre­text of Mao­ism in forests, on the pre­text of ex­trem­ism at bor­der, on the pre­text of ter­ror­ism in hilly ar­eas by car­ry­ing guns on shoul­ders.” Even af­ter 40 years of blood­shed, th­ese ex­trem­ists had not re­alised that they have not achieved any­thing, they have not un­der­stood that vi­o­lence is not the an­swer to de­vel­op­ment. Sternly warn­ing those who strayed into such mil­i­tancy, Prime Min­is­ter Modi said vi­o­lence of any kind will not be tol­er­ated and cer­tainly not ter­ror­ism. “The coun­try will not bow down to ter­ror­ism, nor will it suc­cumb to Mao­ism.” Ex­hort­ing youth to give up such thoughts, he struck an emo­tional chord talk­ing about dreams that par­ents would have for their wards. Ap­peal­ing to the youth to re­turn to main­stream life, Prime Min­is­ter Modi said: “Live a happy and peace­ful life, for the path of vi­o­lence never fetches ben­e­fit to any­one.”

Prais­ing the army per­son­nel who ‘live and die for the coun­try’, he said his gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edged their im­mense role and never de­layed in re­solv­ing their is­sues, in­clud­ing the ‘One Rank One Pen­sion’ im­broglio. Over 33,000 per­son­nel had got mar­tyr­dom since In­de­pen­dence and In­dia can­not for­get their sac­ri­fice. In a way the Prime Min­is­ter was say­ing that it was time to go be­yond lip sym­pa­thy and get things done for those who pro­tected our borders, those who main­tained law and or­der, and those who en­sured in­ter­nal se­cu­rity, while deal­ing se­verely with those who in­dulged in ex­trem­ism.

In­clu­sive Growth

The un­der­pin­ning of his speech was for ci­ti­zens to take the na­tion from ‘swara­jya’ to ‘su­ra­jya’ to bring about a qual­i­ta­tive and pos­i­tive change in their lives. The gov­ern­ment’s mantra was to re­form, trans­form and per­form, he said and added that the im­age of the na­tion was more im­por­tant than the im­age of the gov­ern­ment or the party. And that the gov­ern­ment was fo­cused on sub­stance over sym­bol­ism; in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment over iso­lated de­vel­op­ment and em­pow­er­ment over en­ti­tle­ment. The Prime Min­is­ter listed out the var­i­ous achieve­ments across a broad spec­trum of life and said there was more to be done.

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