Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday. There are differences, but don’t deny his moment under the sun….writes Bikram Vohra
On Tuesday, I finally watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and I had tears in my eyes. On Wednesday, I watched Modi’s address the US Congress. It felt good; it had a certain honesty about it even if it broke no fresh ground. I really didn’t care that he could have done with a little bit of The King’s Speech where diction was concerned. It did not matter.He said it right and he said it good. I want to get my word in before the detractors start their trolling.
A little jest, some cliches that survive in speeches, a few gentle digs and a mention of Norman Borlaug and his rice revolution created a happy pastiche, thereby creating a speech that went down well with a supportive audience.
Did he pump sunshine and massage the US ego? Yes, he did and why not?
That 1.25 billion Indians do not live in fear may not sit very well with the anti-Modi brigade.Did he give them the impression that India recognised US’ commitment to individual liberty and freedom? Yes, he did.
Why his speech writers have to create sentiments that are open to violent interpretation makes no sense.
This is an occasion for a fluffy speech, more rhetorical and set to the rhythm of applause, not to break any new ground in finance, military spending particulars or bi-lateral agreements.
By the same token, knowing his limitation and his lisp in English do these speech writers not work on words that should not be tripped over?
But these are minor imperfections and are mentioned more for the record. Modi is at his best when he is colloquial: When he said ‘Let us work together’ or ‘search for new areas of economic growth’, a call to come together as across the board co-operatives.
Of course, the mini-spearhead was a call to the American nation to link up with India for its enterprise and our intellectual ability. There’s no caviling with that
He brought terrorism at various points into the quilt, but did not push it, and then named the militant organisations and put it on top of the agenda in his speech.
It made me wonder — come on chief, fling the gauntlet.
And he did.
I think everything went into the pale with this issue being suddenly yanked into becoming the main issue. Good on him. Many words were underscored by the phrase ‘new uncertainties, inclusive not exclusive policies, peace in the world.’
Nice stuff, nothing touched upon as such, but why deny his moment is the sun? He stood tall, went on about terrorism and separated it from religion.
I thought he would go away from the subject but he didn’t; he just went on and on and that is what made the muscle in the talk.
Few leaders have gone to this forum and mentioned specific entities and who kill it for no reason. I loved the way he segued, bringing the UN into the equation, and his call to fight terrorism was global, sans any connotations open to misinterpretation.
If out of all this we can get nations to come together and create a defence against the killing forces, it would be a massive milestone. So give him credit. He practically told the US that it was up to them to fight the good fight.
Sure, his expressions of love for nature and yoga and the need for solar power came as adjuncts and you could feel the interest lagging.
That said, he held his own and then some. He pulled, pushed and yanked the US onto the Indian platform. It was a ‘hey guys, smell the coffee, think long distance, work with us, get on the same page, change your foreign policy’.
It was good enough for me. Was it good enough for you? Yes sir, the symphony is new but don’t drop the baton.