The idea and the nation

The process of realization of the ideas of India and Pakistan seems to have followed the path of it’s principal founders, Nehru and Jinnah. Both had a convincing idea of India and Pakistan. Both derived it from their family, their neighbourhoods, their education and most importantly the people they chose to call friends later in their lives. Jinnah’s idea of an equally secular Pakistan, but one primarily based on the undeniable right for Muslims to a majority was as convincing as Nehru’s idea of an undivided secular nation with a Hindu majority. Jinnah had to fight for his idea while Nehru appeared the dignified statesman, yielding. The realization of their ideas seem to have traced an unmistakable parallel with their lives. Jinnah’s idea died with him, soon after Pakistan’s conception. India was considerably lucky in receiving the stewardship of Nehru in further crystallizing this idea for 17 more years. His idea, after his passing, over cyclical iterations of selfish and ambivalent governance, is now indistinguishable.

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Shri. Manmohan Singh’s speech at Oxford University

This speech by our Prime Minister Shri. Manmohan Singh is another jewel in the necklace of great speeches by our Prime Ministers. Shri. Manmohan Singh’s challenge in this speech is to tread a fine line between his desire to express his sincere gratitude for his much substantial life, which would not have been possible without the great minds assembled by Oxford in it’s quest to impart quality education, and the restraint in perfect measure of this gratitude which he needed to impose, as the chosen representative of the spirit of a billion people, against it’s former masters.

As is the case in all great speeches, even in this one, Shri. Manmohan Singh invokes anecdotes and quotations from some of the best minds of his previous generation with finesse. His invocation of the anecdote between Mahatma Gandhi and A.D. Lindsay succeeds in cementing the idea he wishes to convey by using it at the perfect section of his speech.

Despite the fine balance which he achieves, this speech was responsible for some heated debate within our political and other intellectual circles on whether Shri. Manmohan Singh failed in this effort by bowing his head further than was needed. Whether that charge holds water or not is something you can only find out by reading the speech yourself.


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A good speech

I have always preferred reading a good speech over reading anything else. Well…actually, Calvin and Hobbes is still my first choice but a good speech comes in at a strong second.

A good speech is always a well constructed speech. Much more than in theater and drama, a good speech has many acts and sub-acts. It’s Act I where it introduces all the players and ideas is crucial and the science of how long that section should be is what defines a good speech maker. The Act II is the lengthiest because of all the sub-acts. The final act of most good speeches is short but it’s also the most important of them all.

Narendra Modi speech
Narendra Modi – an effective speech maker.

In theater and drama, after all the emotions of it’s characters and the circumstances they negotiate has been transferred to the audience, the final resolution still remains with the characters, not with the audience. Most good speeches have a call to action. Whether be it to give hope, to inspire, to create a revolution or to fight and win a battle. They all need the emotional buy-in as well as the timely participation from the audience to give birth to a pregnant idea.

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Mumbai’s trusting side

I was involved in my regular monthly catch-up conversation with my cousin in Bengaluru when she mentioned that an acquaintance of her had recently moved to Mumbai after living in Bengaluru for many years and that he needed some help in finding accommodation. She had given him my contact information. She also proceeded to narrate this person’s excitement at experiencing Mumbai first hand and how surprised he had been in finding the auto drivers and shopkeepers being so courteous. Anybody who has any experience dealing with auto drivers in Mumbai and Bengaluru will vouch for the professionalism of the man in khaki from Mumbai. For the rest, I’ll attempt to elaborate.

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