Independence Day speech: PM Modi ditches teleprompter for paper notes

This was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ninth consecutive Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

Independence Day speech: PM Modi ditches teleprompter for paper notes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo source: ANI)

In a break from practice that had come in for some criticism and embarrassment at times due to technical glitches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today ditched the teleprompter while delivering his Independence Day speech and was instead seen referring to paper notes. 

In January this year, the Prime Minister had come under attack from the Opposition after he had to restart his virtual address at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos agenda. In a two-minute interruption that the government termed a technical glitch, the PM was seen pausing before looking to his left, then plugging in his earphones before checking with WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab if he was audible. 

The incident gave the Opposition fodder to attack the PM, who is otherwise known for his oratory skills, to suggest that he had run out of words as his teleprompter failed. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has suggested earlier as well that the PM could not speak without a teleprompter.

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This Independence Day though, PM Modi went old school and delivered a passionate speech that encompassed the achievements of the past as and an agenda for the future as India undertakes its next journey to 100 years of Independence. 

“It is a historic day for India as it takes a new path with a new resolve,” the Prime Minister said congratulating countrymen on the completion of 75 years of Independence which is being celebrated under the banner of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

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Exhorting countrymen to focus on five resolves to help India become a developed nation in the next 25 years, the Prime Minister said: “In the coming years, we have to focus on Panchpran (five promises) – First, to move forward with bigger resolves and a resolve of developed India; second, erase all traces of servitude; third, be proud of our legacy; fourth, focus on our strength of unity; and fifth, fulfil the duties of citizens with honesty, which should be done by the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers as well.”

What is a teleprompter?

A teleprompter, also known as an autocue, is a display device that helps a person read a speech or script without losing eye contact with the audience as one would have to if referring to paper notes too often. While commonly used by news anchors on TV channels, the teleprompter screen is placed just below the video camera allowing the presenter to read the script.

The teleprompter used by the Prime Minister is different from what one would find in a newsroom. One can spot the glass panels seen around the prime minister when he delivers his address on a stage during rallies or public meetings. The teleprompter tends to give an impression that the speaker is speaking extempore.

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