Alpesh Patel's Political Sketchbook: As We Approach India's Republic Day

Alpesh Patel Thursday 12th January 2023 00:38 EST
Forgive my presumptuousness. When Nelson Mandela visited the US Congress, the Congressman for whom I worked asked me to write a draft speech. Subsequently I've written speeches for the then Chair of the London Metals Exchange and Parliamentarians.So here my speech for the PM of India on India's upcoming Republic Day. With thanks to the President of another nation in whose parliament I worked!"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.We are a young nation, but in the words of our scriptures, man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the belief that all are equal; all are one family.In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.For us, they toiled in factories and worked the land; endured hardship and sacrificed for the greater good.For us, they fought and died, in places like Jallianwala Bagh and the Siachen Glacier; in the fight for independence and in the defence of our nation.Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked until their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.They saw India as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or religion.We will build the roads and bridges, the power grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will invest in science and technology to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare.Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage." 

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