When oratory gets defined by a teleprompter glitch

Little did anyone know that the PM’s confidence came from a teleprompter that aided him to speak!

It was a test of great oratory skills. And, good heavens, look how the man known for his Mann ki Baat fared. It took just a teleprompter glitch to expose Narendra Modi’s oratory skills – and that too on a global forum, no less!

If there was one moment that Prime Minister Narendra Modi threw up his hands and looked heavenwards, this was it. The podium was that of World Economic Forum’s Davos summit, and the speaker none other than the chief executive of India.

And when he went on to speak, it was hope all around. At the global summit, it was all ears listening in to hear what Narendra Modi spoke. Pradhanmantri ji was his confident self, as always. But little did anyone know that the confidence came from a little digital device that prompted him to say what he was supposed to say!

Teleprompter hits speed-breaker

And then, when he excitedly started speaking about the talent that India possesses, his own talent at weaving words hit a speedbreaker. And how! The prompting device (or the teleprompter) seemed to have run into a hassle and malfunctioned, thus exposing the Prime Minister’s talent for extempore speeches!

Talent shortage was at play immediately after the teleprompter malfunctioned, with Narendra Modi stuck all at sea.  The talent he had attributed to all Indians came nowhere in the picture, forcing him to grapple for words.

The question that arises is this: Does the Prime Minister have to rely wholly on a digital device to speak his mind? Is this what is expected of a senior leader who is known for his Mann ki Baat, where he doles out advices as if they come straight from the heart?

We are a generation who have had exciting times listening to world leaders who spoke from their heart. India has had orators who spoke on subjects that are close to their hearts without even a slight glitch. India still has such personalities who could speak their mind.

At the World Economic Forum’s Davos summit, what we saw is a shame. India, which has produced visionary leaders of the highest order blessed with great oratory skills, has seen many speeches that had taken the audience to a whole new level. This, the Prime Minister should have realised, was a global forum which had the attention of many global leaders and policy makers. And yet, he stumbled, as he relied fully on digital prompting.

Its trending time in social media

No wonder the event has been trending on social media. PM Modi and his team of digital experts need to know that every retweet is a stamp of shame. Forget Rahul Gandhi’s tweet which said “Even the teleprompter could not take so many lies”, but the general public who had been waiting to hear what the Prime Minister had to say in front of a global audience, is irked big time. The tweets, the memes and trolls speak volumes about the mishap, which should never have happened.

After this episode, if the kids of this great nation tend to think that the Prime Minister doesn’t even know what to speak at meetings or global conclaves, what response would the government, or the PM, have for them? What use would be the widely marketed Mann Ki Baat have then?

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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