Dear Prime Minister,
On Wednesday, on Independence Day, you will address the nation for the 8th time.
The Independence Day speech perhaps sees you spouting more words than the sum of all the words we hear from you during the rest of the year.
It is the greatest opportunity for you to share with the people of India and the people of the world your thoughts and your opinions on issues that matter to you and to India.
And each year, you blow the opportunity.
Please do not blow it again this year. As things stand, 2012 could be the last speech you make to the nation on Independence Day.
To begin with, please sack your speechwriter.
All your I-Day speeches, thus far, stupefy most thinking, educated and intelligent Indians. They talk of an India we do not know. They talk with an optimism that we, today, have no cause to feel, believe or embrace. They ignore or brush aside the concerns we have. They tell us that you are concerned with many grappling issues and how you and your government plan to deal with them -- and then we wait patiently in the hope that you will, indeed, deal with them. We’re disappointed and angry when you do not.
Make a departure this year. Do away with the pontificating and the obfuscation. Do away with the unbridled and unfounded optimism. Stop treating Indians like idiots, stop the condescension. We are not fools. When you told us that your government was committed to bringing in a strong Lokpal, few believed you were sincere. When you tell us that the economy is robust, your bank balances and job insecurity tell us another story. I could go on and on.
The bottom line is that we are all tired of hearing this piece of fiction that is doled out to us each year.
You are managing a coalition government – that we understand. There is a need to get many others on board to pass laws, change policy, etc. We know all that. But you do not need Mamata Banerjee's approval for the contents of your speech. You do not need Mulayam Singh’s votes to tell us the truth.
This time, deliver a speech that we can believe. Make clear, black and white statements on what you will set out to achieve in the year to come. Be specific.
Include a few clear, tangible, measureable demonstrations of intent. For example, you could ensure that your party sacks—from the party, not from their positions—tainted ministers and officials. You could, in the handful of the states where your party is in power, crack down on corruption. You could give us your specific position on the Lokpal Bill and gives us a precise date on which the bill will be placed in Parliament.
If you’re wondering why I request you to do all these things, here’s a link to your speech last year. Read it. Once you do so, one hopes, you will agree that the nation should not be inflicted with such drivel ever again.