Hum sabke Mann ki Baat - A suggestion for the PM's next address
Prime Minister Modi has asked for ideas towards his radio series. So, here's a full speech he could deliver.
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Having aired 45 parts of Mann ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have run out of big ideas for his radio programme which sees him talk directly to the people of India. Having spoken about issues ranging from yoga to toilets, sports to meeting the Queen of England, books as gifts and fighting for the girl child's rights, Modi has now apparently exhausted his stock of issues that a Prime Minister should discuss.
Surprising, given that the PM is yet to share his mann ki baat over the most important issue — the spate of lynchings that have become India's new 'normal'.
Since October 3, 2014, Modi has driven our collective attention to a host of issues that do need to be spoken about. However, it is time to drive the PM's focus to the one topic that has skipped his attention.
Both listening and speaking make a great Mann ki Baat
To be fair, he did seek ideas from us who hear him. And to make things easy for him, here's a full speech he could deliver to the nation as part of his next Mann ki Baat:
'Mere pyaare desh wasiyon, namaskar!
I speak to you at a time when we have apparently turned our individual selves into absolute beasts by killing fellow human beings on any random ground we so choose. With the power of a mob behind us, we have thrown back our Indian civilisation into the Dark Ages.
As your pradhan sevak, who vowed to take everyone along in India's march towards prosperity, I share the blame for not speaking up when a mob comprising those among us unleashed terror of the worst kind, knocking on the doors of Mohammad Akhlaq's house in the dead of night, to kill him in cold blood. A mob that, in the name of cow protection, claimed the life of a man. A man living in a nondescript Indian village. A village where I promised to take development. To that village, the mob introduced lynching instead.
My condemnation that came almost two years later, when a spate of such killings had started pushing a whole community into a fear psychosis, I understand now, wasn't enough to deter those whose resolve to challenge the idea of India was firm.
I travelled abroad and met Pravasi Bharatiyas across the globe whose chants of "Modi, Modi" overwhelmed me. Perhaps to the point that I didn't notice the cries of those groaning in pain while being surrounded by mobs of murderous people who simply wouldn't stop. Like the mob that surrounded the helpless Pehlu Khan.I should have spoken very strongly then. I didn't. And now, the cycle of killings has run amok. The mindless cycle, devoid of reason, logic and justification.
This has immensely pained me. I see the growth model I so enthusiastically sold you runs the risk of derailment because the poor, the minorities, the weak, the marginalised in this country are threatened by the mobs that have found vociferous encouragement in the silence of the political class — of which I am the leader.
I was sensitive enough to feel the pain of even a puppy that might have come under a car I was in, even if I wasn't driving it. But somehow, the cries of the families who have lost their loved ones to mob lynchings one after the other did not reach me.
But we have reached our nadir as people, humans, citizens now.
And therefore, as Prime Minister of this country, I must say this in unequivocal terms to all the bloodthirsty out there on the prowl for their next prey.
You are being watched by the country's administration — which is under me.
And you will face the most stringent punishment for taking the law in your hands by turning judge, jury and executioner. That is not your job.
There should be no more killings in the name of religion, cow slaughter, fuelled by rumours, by hate.
Spread love and education instead. And keep sending me ideas for our collective Mann ki Baat.'