Pyare Deshwasiyon, Bhaiyon aur Behenon
Today, I stand before you at the Red Fort for the fifth time as your Prime Minister. In these four years, I have realised that it is easier to speak when you are not heading the other 1.25 Billion people of this country. Mere pyaare desh vasiyon, I used to mock former PM Manmohan Singh for his silence but as your Pradhan Sevak, I realised the virtues of silence. But in reaping the benefits of silence, I went a bit too far, keeping silent at times when I ought to have spoken. I ignored my duties towards you as your Pradhan Sevak. But today I shall speak and I shall speak the truth, be it bitter or sweet. I shall speak my heart out on everything that I ignored in these past four years.
As we celebrate our 72nd Independence Day, our country is facing the threat of communal disharmony which has put the social fabric of our country at risk. I see today, our countrymen have turned into self-appointed courts of law, pronouncing death sentences on their fellow citizens without proper trial. Bhaiyon aur Behenon, today Indians are killing Indians in the name of cow protection, in the name of love jihad, over rumours circulating on the internet, and what not! These last four years, I spent voicing and sharing my “Mann ki Baat” but failed to listen to the cries of the innocents lynched on the streets of India in the name of religion, caste and honour by mobs not afraid of law.
Deshvasiyon, I apologise to you today for not speaking when Akhlaq was killed in the name of cow protection. Had I spoken then, many more Akhlaqs would have been saved from the so-called self-appointed Gaurakshaks. The cow is revered as mother in Hinduism but India is not just a Hindu nation. No matter what, killing a human in name of Gau Rakhsha is not acceptable. I condemn every killing, I condemn everyone who has spoken in favour of mob lynching, Gau rakhshaks and I apologise for my silence as intolerance engulfed our nation.
Bhayion aur Behenon, I apologise to you today, for when I was travelling the world, bonding with Indians abroad, people in my own country were being separated in the name of love jihad and what not.
I seek your forgiveness for all the lies that emanated from me, my MPs, my MLAs and anyone who ever spoke for me. Our first PM Jawahar Lal Nehru devised the term scientific temper and I intentionally or unintentionally devised unscientific lies. I promise you that from now on, I shall not make baseless statements.
Bhayion aur Behenon, I made promises of a corruption free India. I remember shouting at election rallies in 2013 about all the scams that took place in the Congress era. But today, when people looted money from our banks and fled to foreign countries, I chose to remain indifferent. Today, I vow to take action against the perpetrators and serve justice.
Mere Desh vasiyon, I kept quiet when an eight year old daughter of this country was raped and murdered in Kathua, when another was raped in Unnao, when children died at a Hospital in Gorakhpur, when cities burned curbing freedom of speech, when violence erupted in Koregaon, Asansol, Kasganj in the name of religion and caste. Had I spoken, differences could have been solved by dialogue and not hatred. I bow my head and apologise to you for being silent when our daughters were tormented and when our sons died fighting in the name of religion.
Bhayion aur Behenon, I speak from the bottom of my heart today, that you would be no less Indian if you don’t say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” till you pay your due respects, that you would be no less Indian if you are an advocate of peace with Pakistan, that you would be no less Indian if you question my government or its policies. Your Indianness, your nationalism and your loyalty towards this country does not and will not depend on how well you can follow my diktat but on how well we can take our nation forward based on dialouge and discussion.
I turned blind when our students suffered in the name of nationalism. At JNU, at Delhi University, at Aligarh Muslim University, at Hyderabad University, our students were asked to prove their love for their Motherland. Mitron, we don’t need any certificates of nationalism from them, we don’t need any proof. Our students are our future, they have the freedom to discuss, debate and reflect on every issue of our society. They have every right to criticize my government where they feel betrayed. I condemn everyone who became an obstacle in their path and I apologise for not standing up for them at the right time.
Media is the life line of a democracy. With journalists getting murdered, threatened and now pressured to not speak against me or my decisions, my government has played with the principles on which our democracy rests. Today, I vow to never interfere again with free and independent media. I shall let the journalists do their job without interference. I will take every constructive criticism in my stride and work on improving as your Pradhan Sewak instead of labelling every dissenting voice as “ANTI NATIONAL”. Aakhir, Apne Mann ki Baat kehne ka haq to sabko hai.
Mitron, our country has come a long way since 1947 and I must accept today that India’s first Prime Minister is not responsible for everything wrong with India. Not everything is Jawaharlal Nehru’s or Congress’s fault! Afterall, we have been in power for almost four years now. I apologize today for portraying Nehru as the villain of India. I may not agree with everything that Nehru did but I do believe that, Jawaharlal Nehru was a patriot and had the best interest of India in his heart.
Bhayion aur Behenon, every government, every Prime Minister played their part in making our country what it is today. I started very late in the development of this country. I am grateful to my predecessors for decreasing my work load. I am grateful to those who spent their lives making this country what it is today and I promise that I will take their dream forward, that I will speak when it is necessary and that I will not shy away from my duties. On this 72nd Independence Day, I would like to repeat that promise that I will do whatever it takes to ensure peace, amity and good governance for all 125 crore Indian. My government will work for all Indians, without considering their caste, religion or language.
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.