From the Viewsroom

Keep it short and sweet

NS Vageesh | Updated on January 09, 2018

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A plea to the PM not to drone on this I-Day

The PM made a rare admission in his Mann ki Baat broadcast this Sunday. He said, “For the previous three 15th August speeches, one consistent complaint has been that my speeches tend to be a little lengthy. I have planned to keep my speech short this time — not more than 40-45-50 minutes. I have tried to draw these rules for myself, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to stick to them...”

Oh, come on dear PM, you are being too modest. You are aiming too low. Even 45 minutes is too much. Please keep the speech even shorter — cut it to 20 minutes. Every one will listen to you keenly. Isn’t that what you want as a speaker?

Most I-day speeches have been rituals — and treated as such by our smart countrymen. They know how to tune off when the speech goes on familiar lines and when the time exceeds 20 minutes. Exhortations about patriotism, a few dire warnings to our difficult neighbour, routine homage to the armed forces and to farmers, and doffing the hat to our pluralism, culture and heritage have been the staple diet of such speeches over decades.

You can see the restive but captive audience of Cabinet ministers, diplomats, sequestered government officials and school children lined up and sitting patiently for you to finish your ‘bhashan’. The happiest words they are likely to hear are of course the resounding cry of ‘Jai Hind’, since that marks the end of what is definitely an uncomfortable experience, sitting in hot/humid or cold weather.

You have tried to change many things. Here is a chance to send the most valuable message — of the value of time — yours as well as others’ — and to do it from the platform where it will hit home. Keep the speech short and tell people to get on with their work and you would have achieved quite a bit in the move to usher in ‘Acche Din’.

Associate Editor

Published on August 03, 2017

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