"Theek hai?" asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of his just-over-a-minute-long address to the nation asking people to maintain peace after Sunday's violence during the protests in Delhi against the rape of a student.
- The Hindu, December 25
Here are some other possible model addresses to the nation:
My fellow citizens,
I am terribly angry at the fact, reported by the United Nations Children's Fund, that 1.7 million children under the age of five die every year in our country, or over 4,650 entirely preventable deaths every day. I feel deeply sad about them. Let us pray for them and their families. I too am a father. It is a shame that countries far poorer than ours, such as Bangladesh and Nepal, have lower rates of under-five mortality than we do. But please stay calm and remember that violence and agitations serve no purpose. The ministry concerned will keep you informed of the steps we are taking. Theek hai?
My dear malnourished citizens,
I understand your rage at your growth being stunted because of malnutrition. I was as appalled as you are by the recent government report that said almost half the nation's children are stunted because they are malnourished. I too was a child once. Thank your lucky stars you do not belong to the 19% of children in the country who are categorised as 'wasted', or acutely malnourished. But we will give a big push to health in the next five-year plan, so please stay calm and wait patiently, as your parents and grandparents did. Theek hai?
Dear citizens sold into slavery,
I am very upset by the report about a young girl being sold by her mother for a few thousand rupees. We were distraught when the US State Department in June labelled India a child-trafficking hub for forced labour and baldly stated that girls are trafficked for forced prostitution. A newspaper report said that around 200,000 children are trafficked every year in India. Our hearts bleed for them. I hope and pray that none of you gets sold into slavery. We are doing all we can to solve the problem, so please stay calm. Theek hai?
Dear female foeticide victims who would have been citizens,
I am shocked at the increasing number of female foeticides in the country. In the age group 0-6 years, while there were 927 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2001, in 2011 there were only 914 girls for every 1,000 boys. We are totally against this murder of little girls. We propose to study in detail how exactly Lord William Bentinck was able to stamp out Sati over a 150 years ago. Theek hai?
Dear loser citizens,
I am outraged at the police atrocities; the discrimination against Dalits and tribals; the ghastly hovels in which people live like animals in the Mumbai slums; the way they travel packed like cattle in suburban trains every day, with some of them falling off; at rising prices; at unemployment and poverty. But we are working on it. First the stock market has to go up, which will increase economic growth, which will lead to some people becoming very rich, which will hopefully result in some of the money trickling down to the losers. So remain calm. There is no need for violent agitations. Theek hai?
Views expressed by the author are personal