Why Prime Minister Narendra Modi Should Stop Giving Speeches from the Red Fort: There are Meaningful Civilisational Alternatives

The Prime Ministerial speeches from the Red Fort on Independence and Republic Days are Nehruvian relics and must be abandoned in favour of more meaningful civilisational alternatives
Why Prime Minister Narendra Modi Should Stop Giving Speeches from the Red Fort: There are Meaningful Civilisational Alternatives

The logical outcome of the alarming phenomenon of regional parties gaining prominence after the 1970s and eventually acquiring political clout grossly disproportionate to their parliamentary seats has been the appalling erosion of the spirit of national unity among the people of India. Perhaps the vilest regional party ever, the DMK, has been the most accomplished practitioner of this dark art. To take only the most recent example, in the two-term UPA Government of plunder and treachery, it was arguably the DMK that casually got away with nonchalant blackmail and profited handsomely. In the (united) Andhra Pradesh, we also had the examples of a sick political rhetoric where sitting Chief Ministers would boast that “we have turned the wheels in Delhi and brought the bosses to their knees.” The DMK’s fustian “anti-Aryan” and “separate Tamil nation” ideological narrative and the anti-Delhi discourse in Andhra have the same underlying theme: that “our state” is greater than the Indian Union. The same applies in varying degrees to other states with powerful regional parties.

This has happened because of the Nehruvian Indian National Congress which while boasting that it got us freedom, set about dismantling the unity and integrity of India that is the basis of this freedom.

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Nowhere is the integrity of India more pronounced than in its cultural unity which rests on the foundations of the Sanatana civilizational continuity. The emergence and growth of regional parties is akin to the axe that chops the very roots of the tree that nourishes these parties. What are the chances that the late M. Karunanidhi would get a position of even a clerk in Owaisi’s AIMIM? In the same vein, why does a chief minister like KCR succumb so easily to the selfsame Owaisi? What would be his exact position if the tables were turned? And even as we speak, guess which lobby wields the most powerful influence in Y.S. Jagan’s one-man party?

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A Prolonged Relic

If these are harsh, ground-level political realities, there is another prolonged relic that survives for no fathomable or logical reason: the seventy-plus-year-long precedent of the Prime Minister delivering speeches from the Red Fort on Independence and Republic Days. It was befittingly inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru entirely in tune with his Nawabesque temperament of regarding Delhi as the seat of imperial power. For all his eloquent and ornate speeches about democratic sensibilities and scientific temper, Nawab Nehru perhaps forgot that “independent” India after 1947 was supposed to be a democracy, not an imperialism.

If one were to go back to Bharatavarsha’s Vedic civilisational roots, Delhi was never the seat of concentrated political power at any point in its rich and chequered history. For example, even if we regard Hastinavati or Indraprastha as seats of great political power, we must not forget that their power was both circumscribed and checked by other equally mighty kingdoms. Besides, the notion and practice of Hindu political power was the exact opposite of the smash-grab-enjoy nature of its Islamic counterpart, which is basically a religious theocracy.

The True Legacy and Symbolism of the Red Fort

The Red Fort represents the most wasteful and the worst excesses of this religious theocracy epitomised by the drunkard-debauch Mughal, Shah Jahan. Like the Taj Mahal, this was also designed by the architect, Ahmad Lahori. The Red Fort, typical of the numerous grandiose projects of Shah Jahan, was built by literally starving and bleeding his own citizens, something regarded as an unforgivable sin in the annals of Sanatana system of polity and governance. Even as these magnificent structures were being built, his citizens, even in faraway Bengal were castrating their own children and selling them in slave markets just to survive. The Mughal highways were unsafe and bandits and robbers and kidnappers and extortionist government officials were the only ones who were gainfully employed. The Mughal currency became a joke and inflation soared.

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This is what we will be celebrating each time the Prime Minister makes a speech from the Red Fort. It was eminently compatible with Nawab Nehru under whose sustained Prime Ministership, the same things occurred in India as they did under Shah Jahan: destruction of free enterprise, nepotism, rising inflation, large-scale shortages, growth of the Communist nation-wreckers, strikes, public violence, jailing of Congress political opponents…at another level, the Red Fort speeches also indicate the Congress psyche and mindset whose vestiges still linger. The hold of psyche is not easily broken by mere political victories. As they say, Hitler might have died long ago but Nazism is also a psyche which merely needs another human manifestation. The same truth holds good for Nehruism as well. As the Rishi Sita Ram Goel said, Nehruism has to die if Hindu civilisation has to progress.

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PM Modi Enjoys a Unique Stature and an Unique Opportunity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has spectacularly smashed this Nehruvian hold in various other spheres and has also rewritten India’s political grammar will do a great national service if he delivers his 2021 Republic Day speech from a culturally appropriate and civilisationally profound location. Indeed, he has already set a precedent of sorts by meeting Xi Jinping at Mahabalipuram, one of the great cradles of Pallava architecture and Sanatana culture. My friend, a Sthapati at Mahabalipuram till today can’t stop gushing about how Modi’s visit beautifully transformed their city and catapulted it on the world stage.

Narendra Modi can also deliver his Prime Ministerial speeches from different civilisational locations, one each for the Independence and Republic Days. And he will never run out of such culturally significant places.

Hampi would be a highly-appropriate place to deliver his Republic Day 2021 address. It will also be hugely symbolic: that the spirit that Vidyaranya Swami seeded here is still alive, still strong and raring to go. In one stroke, it will also shatter the reckless encroachment by dargahs that have sprouted there overnight, and will perhaps kill the flourishing narcotics economy in its precincts. PM Modi’s 2021 Independence Day address can take place at the immortal Ujjaini, once the Greenwich Meantime of India. Followed by Rajagriha (Rajgir), then by Kalady, Dakshineshwar, Anahilapataka (Anhilwad) in his own state, Amaravati, Dharanagara (Dhar), Badami, Madurai…like I said, the list is endless.

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With his enormous personal popularity, the nationwide goodwill he enjoys and his stature in world politics, Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial addresses in all these civilisationally significant cities and towns will undoubtedly transform them for the better. Historians, scholars, writers, and the media will mine books and research papers and other literature to bring the historical glory and cultural wealth of these places once again into public consciousness. And where chief ministers of true calibre exist, they will vie with one another to identify such cities and towns in their states and invite the Prime Minister for his next address.

These are mere outlines, and in able and competent hands, they can become workable action items, which will reinforce the cultural unity and civilisational integrity of Bharatavarsha.

The Red Fort exercise does just the opposite and it is high time we show it its rightful place. Indeed, we have a verifiable real-life example of a relic of Mahmud of Ghazni.

For hundreds of years, Mahmud’s tomb was a place of great reverence. Every aspiring Ghazi, Islamic conqueror, and military adventurer prayed there for success. After offering their prayer, they would take something from the place: a fragment of wood or a clump of soil and keep it with them as a symbol of good luck. In 1842, Lord Ellenborough yanked out the gates to Mahmud’s tomb thinking it to be the original gates of the Somanatha Temple and carried it with him. Today, it lies in the Agra Fort, decrepit and decaying.

Think about it.

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