On India’s 77th Independence Day, I, a female sportsperson who has spent her life striving for excellence, witnessed a moment that will reverberate through history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 10th address from the iconic Red Fort signalled a pivotal juncture in our nation’s journey — one that has the power to reshape the path we tread. As a keen observer and a participant in India’s progress, I can say that this speech was more than a statement; it was a clarion call that echoed transformative change.
What struck me most about PM Modi’s words was their authenticity. He didn’t address us as faceless citizens; he spoke to us as “parivarjan” — as members of his own family. With an emotion-laden fervour, he declared, “I come from amongst you, within your midst and I live for you. If I have a dream, it is for you. If I sweat, it is for you. Not because you have entrusted me with this responsibility, but because you are my family. As a member of your family, I cannot bear witness to any of your sorrows, I cannot bear to see your dreams shattered.” This declaration wasn’t just rhetoric; it was a departure from traditional leadership, a declaration that the highest office was bound to empathy and kinship.
This year’s Independence Day marked the culmination of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a celebration that commenced with PM Modi’s inauguration of the event from the Sabarmati Ashram on March 12, 2021. This celebration is more than just a commemoration; it signifies a resurgence, an “Amrit Kaal”, brimming with renewed determination, aimed at transforming India into a developed nation by 2047.
PM Modi seamlessly intertwined the threads of history, present and future in his address. He reminded us that our nation’s grandeur wasn’t merely historical; it was a testament to the power of democracy and the promise of an economy that ensures equal opportunity. He urged us to not avert our gaze or attention, for the world looked to us as an example of democratic triumph and global progress.
He encapsulated the moment — a juncture where the realm of possibility met the realm of reality. India, dynamic and resolute, stood poised on the global stage, ready to lead through innovation and cooperation. However, it was PM Modi’s unwavering commitment to battle corruption, eradicate dynasty politics, and eliminate the blot of appeasement that truly resonated with people. He declared with an undeniable fervour: “It is my personal commitment that I will continue to fight against corruption. Secondly, dynastic politics has destroyed our country. This dynastic system had gripped the country and snatched away the rights of the people of the country. The third evil is appeasement.” These words aren’t just a proclamation; they are a rallying cry, a testament to his unyielding determination to reshape our nation’s destiny.
This call to arms went beyond political speeches; it echoed the very essence of leadership — a call for unity and collective effort; a call to be guided by principles that transcend personal gains. As he called upon us to hold him accountable for his promises, he reinforced the significance of integrity in public life. His words were a reminder that effective governance wasn’t just a responsibility; it was a commitment to our history, a service to our present, and a legacy for our future.
As our nation embarks on the journey towards India at 100, the lead-up to our centenary in 2047, PM Modi’s words chart a course for success. His commitment to structural reforms, economic growth, and social inclusivity paints a portrait of India as a nation that thrives on diversity, innovation, and the collective strength of its citizens.
In the annals of history, PM Modi’s address stands as an inflexion point, a moment when leadership articulates a vision and a commitment that resounds with millions. It’s a testament that a nation’s trajectory is not solely shaped by policies; it’s moulded by the passion, resolve, and shared dreams of its people.
As a sportsperson who knows the thrill of victory, I see in his words a shared victory — one that beckons us to come together and forge a brighter future.
(The writer is an Olympian and a Rajya Sabha MP)