Parliamentarians enter the new Parliament building, in New Delhi, on Tuesday, (Image: PTI)
It is an unimpeachable truth, self-evident and easily demonstrable, that there exists a strong and vibrant New India, which is already the fifth largest economy, further growing and surging, with one of the youngest set of demographics, a successful democracy despite the sieges within and socially transforming, as the gap between the rhetorical euphemisms — Bharat and India — shrinks rapidly and the people’s aspirations touch the sky.
It is equally true that the politics of India has, by and large, disappointed and let down its people. The politicians and power system inhabit a tangentially different construct where power and winning elections are central priorities, dividing and pandering to people in smaller groups based on caste and religion, and numerous other facets of identity. And they have rarely done their best to understand and fulfil their aspirations.
A new Parliament is an excellent icon, an inspiration to our democracy, worthy of welcoming and cheering. Having been built at a considerable cost paid for by the ordinary citizen and taxpayer, founded on the aspirations and dreams of people, it must both inspire and compel our parliamentarians, our lawmakers and politicians, and the officialdom to recognise New India, understand its aspirations and deliver to its expectations.
Understanding the historic imperative and a paradigm change needed both in mindset and the scope of ambition of endeavour so that policymaking and governance can be matched to the needs of New India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his three different speeches in Parliament over the last two days, one on Monday marking the last session in the old building, the speech at Central Hall, and his maiden speech in the new Parliament supporting the legislation in favour of the women’s reservation bill, spoke unequivocally in favour of bold, big dreams.
From the success of Isro to accomplishing the dream of landing on the moon, joining the most elite of space clubs on the planet, to the success of major schemes that have won the admiration, awe and praise of the entire world — bringing half a billion people into the formal banking sector, taking mobile connectivity with the lowest data costs and ensuring micro-payments through the mobile a reality for a billion odd citizens — the Modi government has indeed been marked by a spirit of aiming for and doing the impossible, powered by the audacity of vaulting hope.
The women’s reservation bill, first formally brought into the Parliament in 1996, finally found redemption, when the government tabled it in the Lok Sabha on its first day in the new building. If India has to renew its tryst with destiny, a new destiny, Mr Modi is ready for the historic burden, responsibility and duty, and he did refer to it when he said, "God has chosen me to empower women".
It is time for all parties and all leaders to rise to the occasion and the need of the hour. Young India is impatient, aspiration-filled, buzzing with energy and brimming with confidence. Opportunity must meet the New India for the tryst with a new destiny to be fulfilled.
Don’t let them down. And let the New Parliament remind you of promises and dreams, old and new, and give us all strength to make them true.