Modi gives a mantra before the stimuli

Motivator Modi sets vision for self-reliant India out of the Corona crisis.

 |  5-minute read |   13-05-2020
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As soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi finished his 33-minute address to the nation, his fourth since March 18, with a call to the nation to turn the Corona challenge into an opportunity, there was jubilation in almost every camp, from top businessmen to the middle class and the working class. His call to become self-reliant came with a Rs 20-lakh-crore stimulus package for the economy.

The quotes from Sanskrit texts and high philosophy went over the heads of many disconnected with the Indian ethos. But those who had a connect couldn’t miss on the message as Modi called for taking India to its rightful place as a Vishwaguru in the post-Corona world by taking the lead, as prophesied by spiritual giants like Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Maharishi Aurobindo, and Swami Vivekananda.

Those who were looking for a financial package were of course more than happy and it exceeded the Rs 15 lakh crore that the CII had demanded as a stimulus to pull the industry out of the crisis created by the lockdown. But those who knew the essence of Indian philosophy were simply stumped by Modi’s speech that seemed to shake the nation’s inner soul out of slumber and reminded its citizens to work for India’s rightful place in the comity of nations.

Modi sought to draw a distinction between the Superpower status of World powers and the future status of India as a Vishwaguru. He said India believed in the great principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is but a large family) and that India’s rise meant benefit of the entire humanity. The speech was a propeller for many who were wedded to the Indian traditions but were still unaware of their own true potential.

Vidyut Thakar, the veteran politico-social scientist of Gujarat who has seen Modi grow in politics over the past three decades put it like this: “Modi’s speech was full of wisdom at a time when the corona cases are rising and the menace is here to stay. To be able to think of India’s progress in the post-corona era in such a situation and motivate the distressed people and give them a new vision was a big thing, as many a leader the world over have wilted under the corona pressure."

The address changed the mood of the nation which was slipping into depression. Industrialist Anand Mahindra said he believed he wouldn’t get much sleep after the Prime Minister's Carpe Diem speech. The industry captains were, of course, overjoyed. Heart surgeon Devi Shetty said, “It is not good news but great news. The PM has shown remarkable vision from Day 1 when he enforced the lockdown in time and much before many world leaders. He has now pressed the reset button for a great future. Whether it will happen in my lifetime or later, but it will surely come."

The chairman of Boston Consultants, Janmajeya Sinha observed: “Big picture is spot-on. It addresses demand, infrastructure, improving supply and all other major factors needed to revive the economy and make India self-reliant." Vikram Kirloskar, chairman, CII, said the CII had asked for a Rs 15 lakh crore package. What has been announced is substantially more and beyond imagination. The next wave of economic reforms is here."

Modi announced the five pillars of India’s resolve to be a self-reliant nation in the form of economy, infrastructure, systemic change, the demographic advantage to India, and demand. On each one of these, he elaborated in detail. Each pillar was lucidly explained as to how it will contribute.

The idiom that he used to convey his national message was a judicious mix drawn from ancient Indian spirituality and history and on the other hand, the modern idiom. He said India’s road to self-reliance would be ground-based and humanity-based in the realm of the world being one large family. He said when a nation like India becomes self-reliant, entire humanity benefits. Then he reminded the people about past successes of India like its victory over polio and other diseases, and then linked it with the modern examples like the floating of the International Solar Alliance of 130-odd nations to tap solar energy which he himself had floated in 2017.

This followed his reference to how India had turned the corona calamity into an opportunity by manufacturing PPE Kits and N95 masks for the first time in the country and how the time to realise India’s dream of becoming a Vishwaguru, which was being talked about for almost a century now, had now come.

He listed India's advance towards the goal when he said Yoga Diwas was India’s gift to humanity for a stress-free world. In Hindi his idiom had a propelling appeal: "Sankat Se Virat Sankalp Tak (From A Crisis Into the Great Resolve)."

In the modern idiom, he spoke about demand and supply, India’s goal to enter the global supply chain, about local manufacturing, local markets, local supply chain, and the need for being vocal about local. “We will fight corona and also move forward towards our goal of a self-reliant India," he said, before talking about the woes of the small people, from vendors and small traders to migrant labourers, no less than the middle class and the industry owners. And then came the last punch: “If 130 crore people decide to make India self-reliant, who can stop us? We will win this battle and also become self-reliant."

All in all, it was an empowering speech matched by actions on the ground, and added to Modi’s stature as a world leader at a time when other world leaders are wilting under pressure and are unable to give a clear-cut vision and road-map to their people.

Also read: DailyOh! India isn't aatmanirbhar, Indians are. What Nirmala Sitharaman is doing to get India there

Writer

Uday Mahurkar Uday Mahurkar @udaymahurkar

The writer is deputy editor, India Today.

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