The message in Prime Minister Modi’s 82-minute speech: dignity for women, pride in Indian roots


As India celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi framed his political argument on two pillars — spelling out a five-point “pran” (commitment/resolve) for the future and how the twin challenges of “corruption” and “dynasty politics and nepotism” confront the nation.

The Prime Minister’s Independence Day speech focused on the big picture, and not the micro as in the past. It was devoid of any announcements on any social sector schemes. Modi largely dwelt on the ideas for the future as he spelt out the vision for the next 25 years and painted the big picture.

The Prime Minister, who has taken up issues of importance in the past earlier — cleanliness in 2014 and getting rid of the “chalta hai” attitude in 2017 — struck a chord with women as he emphasised the “dignity” of women. “It is important that in speech and conduct, we do nothing that lowers the dignity of women,” he said, appealing to people to watch how and what they say to the women.

Modi in his speech gave a broad direction for the next quarter of a century. He described the “Panch Pran of Amrit Kaal” — the five commitments for the next 25 years.

And, then the PM laid out the first Pran (commitment) — the “goal of developed India by 2047”. This was an important target setting for people who, as he said in his speech, are part of an “aspirational society”. He stoked the ambition of Indians by firmly placing this target in front of them. At one point, he said that those who are 25 years now will be 50 when the country turns 100. And he knows his constituency: the youth. India’s median age this year is 28 years.