Rise above touchables vs untouchables divide, says PM Modi at Independence Day event

In speech from Red Fort, PM warns against disintegration of society, attacks Pakistan and thanks Balochistan, mocks previous government and showcases his.

Written by Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Published: August 16, 2016 2:55 am
independence day, narendra modi, red fort, modi speech, narendra modi speech, pm modi speech, dalits, modi on dalits, dalit attacks, attacks on dalits, indian express news, india news PM Narendra Modi waves from Red Fort during his speech Monday, his third on Independence Day from the same venue. Source: Renuka Puri

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government has come under attack from the Opposition over atrocities on Dalits, used his Independence Day speech to stress that a society divided between low and high and by untouchability cannot sustain and call for “harsh but sensitive treatment” to address such “centuries-old evils”.

“Unity in diversity is our greatest strength. Our cultural tradition of respect for others, and assimilation is the reason why our civilisation has persisted. The sentiment of unity has struck deep roots in our society,” Modi said during his 93-minute speech from Red Fort.

It was the longest of his three Independence Day speeches so far, one that saw him wave his arms several times, the fists clenched, as he interacted with the audience with gestures, responding to applause sometimes with a pause and sometimes with a more vigorous wave of the arms.

The remarks that seemed to draw the loudest cheers were those about holding society together: “If the society disintegrates, the empire straggles, gets divided into the highs and the lows, the touchables and the untouchables, then that society cannot sustain. There are social evils, centuries-old social evils, but if the social evils have become chronic, they need a bit harsh and yet sensitive treatment. A lackadaisical attitude will not solve the social problems and this is the responsibility of 125 crore citizens. The government and the society together will have to steer through social conflicts… All of us will have to fight against the social evils. We all will have to rise above social evils in our own behaviour.”

The Prime Minister spoke at length about the work done by his government towards achieving “suraj” (good governance), fighting corruption and bringing accountability. He took veiled digs at the previous dispensation on issues such as sloth in implementation of development projects.

“When we speak of freedom fighters, a few are mentioned far more than others,” Modi said in a speech that had one mention of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Modi repeatedly spoke about his government’s focus on ensuring last-man delivery and credited his government with creating hope and expectations among people while recalling that “pessimism had started to become our nature” before the NDA government came to power.

He made three new announcements — of considering a proposal for a 20 per cent increase in pension for freedom fighter families, a plan to build a museum in memory of tribal freedom fighters, and a decision to bear the treatment expenses of poor families up to Rs 1 lakh.

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  1. C
    Aug 15, 2016 at 11:46 pm
    Talk.. talk and more talk and drma. When will he get out of election campaign mode abd start acting?
    1. B
      Aug 16, 2016 at 7:24 am
      Remaining in election mode is the only surviving mantra for him.
      1. S
        Sankaran Krishnan
        Aug 16, 2016 at 10:20 am
        Anyhow the message is very clear and reaches the Terror Nation stan that India will rise the subjects that bothered them - Baluchistan, Gilgit, PoK and it is better for them to hand over the PoK once for all or else stan will disintegrate into several nation.
        1. M
          Aug 16, 2016 at 7:38 am
          power and greed has gone to this man's head, no doubt about that, after hearing that most hypocritical speech by any PM, all he did was self boast !!! nothing to show though !!!! he will never have the cl of MMS. thats comes only from education, not fake degrees !!!
          1. P
            Aug 16, 2016 at 2:35 am
            .lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;RSS BJP has always been anti dalit. They just fool about "equality" until they conSolidate power. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;1. RSS/BJP even opposed equal rights for dalits when it was introduced by Ambedkar and Nehru. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;2. Rohit Vemula's insutional murderlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;3. Ambedkar Bhavan was demolished in Mumbai. It is now bEing rebuilt because of public outcry.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;4. Dalits were attacked by RSS in RSS BJPs Gujarat. There was no investigation until the recent protests and riots from dalits and the public outcry.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;5. RSS BJP minister in UP insults dalit leader, Mayawati, calling her a prosute.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;6. Dalit girl was raped twice by the same people in RSS BJPs Haryana. The investigation was only expedited afTer public outcry.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Time to expose these anti dalit, anti indian RSS terrorists.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;.
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