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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Words Of Gold

Election days are here again. The time to make many speeches a day for the well-known leaders and the unknown aspirants to leadership. But when was it last when we heard a great compelling speech. Must be long time back. Leave aside extempore speech, leaders no longer have the time or the inclination to even write their speeches, and prefer to depend on their speech-writers to do the job. It is an open secret and very often when a leader gives a great speech, it is the speech writer who is acclaimed by the media. Here is how the White House speechwriters, McGurn, Thiessen and Michel, took a break to offer a glimpse into how the presidential address was put together: “Planning for this year's speech began in earnest in December, and by Christmas the speechwriting shop had an outline ready for Bush, and sent it out to the President. We often met with him twice a day to go over drafts, while also getting input from the rest of the White House staff. Bush started practicing the speech in the White House movie theater daily till the D-day, when the President delivered one of his most applauded State of the Nation addresses.”

In this age of the internet, the leaders now have a huge choice to chose their speech for a particular occasion from hundreds of speeches offered on the net. There is no dearth of websites advertising their business of speech writing, e.g. - “......com has been writing speeches since 1994 with over 150000 satisfied customers”! Another website claims: “The next time you're up for public speaking, do you want to just speak, or do you want to give a great speech? I'd like to do the same for you, turning your general ideas into words of gold. I'm here to help you look good when you step before your next audience to speak.” And so on. These speeches by professional writers may have the right language, but the soul is lacking. A speech that does not come from the heart, cannot touch the heart. That is why most leaders today fail to lead their followers for long; they don't speak from heart. Speeches made by great leaders in history attain immortality as they themselves have. Here are a few picked from the recent past, which never fade with time:

Jawaharlal Nehru – Tryst with destiny speech (Midnight Aug. 14, 1947)

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?...............”

John F. Kenndy – Inaugural Address (Jan. 20, 1961)

“......Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation" -- a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?......And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country............”

Martin Luther King Jr. - I have a dream speech (Aug. 28, 1963

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today......”

There are many more eminent leaders in history who were also great orators, but the blog cannot be concluded without mentioning present times' foremost orator, former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He has millions of admirers, most of whom may have become his fans and followers because of his superb eloquence and masterly command over language. The audience loves the element of surprise in his inimitable style of speech making – pause after a pause – and then follows a thunderous applause when the words come that invariably become the famous quotable quotes of all times.


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