Rajiv Gandhi Speaks Against Nuclear Weapons – Part II

In the second part of this speech, Rajiv Gandhi Speaks Against Nuclear Weapons, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi presses home the point of the futility of nuclear arms race. He outlines a process, which if adopted by the U.N. and the masses, would bring about complete elimination of nuclear arms from the face of this earth by 2010.

Alas, it is as much a reflection of the lack of leadership as it is about the dearth of a universal platform for masses to organize, that the race has only intensified by new entrants seeking to secure this invaluable diplomatic bargaining chip. India and Pakistan having already underlined their philosophy by the tit-for-tat tests in late 90’s it’s now the turn of Iran (to be clear Iran’s claim has always been it’s pursuit of nuclear technology for power generation) and North Korea.

Rajiv Gandhi
Shri. Rajiv Gandhi

This section of the speech is dry on emotions and full in procedural outlines. The need to hold an audience’s attention during such sections is a critical challenged faced by speechwriters, especially in speeches with such an ambitious objective. Shri. Rajiv Gandhi’s effort is satisfactory in this regard.

In this part of the speech Niels Bohr, Gandhi and Nehru’s quotes make an appearance. It ends poignantly, relying on a quote from Dhammapada.

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Nick Clegg’s first speech as Deputy Prime Minister

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats party as well as the current Deputy Prime Minister of UK delivers this speech in his typically blunt manner to students at a college in North London. This speech is categorically dry in many attributes that combine together to define a good speech but what it lacks in variety it makes up for by delivering in a healthy dose on one particularly powerful attribute, earnestness.

It’s rare in our times that a politician exudes so much conviction when speaking about reforming the idea of democracy. Most seasoned politicians, perhaps because they have been seasoned in a different age than current times, choose to protect the game and it’s rules for the benefit of a tenured reign. A younger candidate has an advantage to adapting over an ageing one. Nick Clegg has been consistently enthusiastic about his ideas about reforming the machinery of democracy.

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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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