In his third address to the nation on the occasion of Independence Day, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about his government’s achievements to make the common man’s life easier.  And as usual, he spoke on a range of other topics as well.

Here are the highlights: 

Criticism of the caste system

“Don’t disrespect anybody for reason of his caste,” Modi said.

“What lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, saint Ramanajucharya, B R Ambedkar, all our holy scriptures saints and teachers have stressed is social unity. When society breaks, the empire disintegrates. When a society is divided into touchables and untouchables; upper and lower (castes), then such a society cannot last,” he said.

The Prime Minister added that ‘hota hai, chalta hai (it happens, it is ok)’ attitude won’t help in dealing with social problems.

“These evils are centuries-old and will have to be tackled more sternly and sensitively,” he said.

“Only economic freedom is no guarantee to a strong society. Social justice is our collective responsibility,” he said, adding that dalits, tribals and the disadvantaged will have to be taken together for the country’s progress.

Moving from Swaraj to Surajya 

The Prime Minister said that 125 crore Indians have now resolved to complete the journey from Swarajya to “Surajya (good governance)”. 

He said the achievement of Surajya will require sacrifice, hard work, discipline, dedication and courage, and added that every institution from Panchayat to Parliament must work unitedly towards this goal. 

“There was a time when past governments used to be surrounded by doubts, not so anymore. The governments are now surrounded by aspirations,” he said.

“Suraaj means the progress of the common man, a govt that is sensitive to the requirements and aspirations of the common man. Responsibility and accountability are to be the roots of such a Suraaj,” he said.

Promise to deliver more

The Prime Minister had a barb that seemed obviously directed at the previous UPA government and promised to deliver on his promises. 

“To empty government coffers has been a tradition of past governments, I have tried to keep away from such a temptation. For me more than what the world thinks of the government, what the image of the country is, is important. Substance over symbolism. Empowerment over entitlement. The nation is more important than the party,” he said. 

Thanked all political parties for their support for GST

After all the political dealings over the GST, the Prime Minister thanked other parties for their support. 

He condemned terrorism and Maoism

“Violence has no place in our country. This country will not tolerate terrorism and Maoism,” he said. 

There was some pointed criticism of Pakistan

“I tell those who believe in human values, to weigh in the scale of humanity, when innocent children were massacred in a school in Peshawar. In India, every school was weeping, there were tears in the eyes of every parliamentarian. That was a reflection of our human value, but look at the other side which glorifies terrorists,” he said. 

“I say to our neighbours, Let’s fight poverty, by fighting our own people we will destroy ourselves, only by fighting poverty together will we prosper,” the prime minister said. 

And then he rubbed some salt in their wounds

The Prime Minister has earned criticism from Pakistan for his statements saying that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was part of India and on Independence Day he chose to rub some salt in their wounds. 

“In the last few days the way the people of Balochistan, Gilgit, from Pak occupied Kashmir have thanked me, it is the honour of 1.25 billion people of India. I thank those people from Balochistan, Gilgit and Pak occupied Kashmir,” he said.