This is a transcript of a speech by video
This is my dream. I’m gonna tell you about my dream. My dream for this country, my dream for all of us.
I have a dream, that the 26/11 attack on Bombay will spur civil society to unite, and present a force that the government will never again ignore. I have a dream, that our new generation of political leaders will look beyond their party lines, and do what very few leaders in India have done, their duty. I have a dream that one day the next time women are thrashed anywhere in a pub in India, the entire country’s women will march, half to Mangalore, stopping the entire city for months, and the other half to the Prime Minister’s house, stopping the government for months.
I have a dream that a 100 million Indian children will not go to bed hungry every night. A 100 million, that is 2 United Kingdoms. That pregnant women will never again have their wombs slit, their living foetuses torn out and dashed to death, and then they are set on fire, like they were in Gujarat in 2002. And that there will not be a rape every 23 minutes in this country or a dowry death, every 33 minutes. I have a dream that small farmers, farmers who have little plots of land, will never again have to say sorry to their children, and then commit suicide. I have a dream that when a girl goes to her mother and says her uncle or her father has sexually molested her, she will not be asked, are you sure? She will not be told, Don’t be silly, you’re imagining things.
I have a dream, that one day, Muslims who fled Bombay in 1992 will return to their homes and MF Husain will return to his. I have a dream of a time, when we will cheer a Younis Khan sixer as madly as we cheer a Yuvraj Singh one. Of a time where no girl child will have to walk the 4 km average to fetch water every day. Instead, she will spend that time in school. That we will allow people with AIDS to work with us, eat with us, live with us with dignity. I have a dream where God is not a setu or a pandal blocking the street, or the reason for jihad, but God is someone, something that is linked with our hopes, our hearts and our homes.
I have a dream that one day I’ll be 6 inches taller, have a full head of hair, and look 19 forever. And always have the right, witty answer when I’m face to face with a beautiful woman. But I also have a dream, that I will never, ever be scared to speak the truth. That one day I will have the means, the time, the heart to gather all the street children in this country, put them on a train, take them to a land where they can heal, where they can laugh, play, eat, do nothing. That we realise that slum dwellers are not the cockroaches of the world. Slum dwellers are fathers, fathers who have been forced out of their villages because of poverty, now struggling to make money, pushed and abused every day by the police. They are mothers, working as kaam-waalis working in 3 houses a day, so their children can do what they didn’t, go to school. And they are children, who have like all children, an equal dose of delight and tears in them. They are not those dirty lice ridden creatures, shivering in the rain, holding today’s newspaper in a plastic bag knocking on your car window.
I have a dream where every Indian plays a sport, any game, for atleast an hour a day. Where no hockey player will ever again have to sell his medals to feed himself. Where we win 20 gold medals in London 2012 (If we do things right, its possible). And, where the Indian Rugby team wins the World Cup. We are ranked 83rd now, so I think I’ll have to cheer from my wheelchair. Finally, I have a dream that one day, all of us will stop what we are doing. Working on our laptops, tending to hundreds of patients, sweating it out at cricket practice, trying to balance the books at our organization, begging our child to have just one more bite, driving a local train, closing a complex merger, we will all stop what we are doing, and suddenly realise, all of us together, at the same precise moment, that we are all Indians. And that there is no one like us on the planet.
We are unique, because we fight with words all the time, with fists some times, we talk loudly on our phones, we laugh loudest at our own jokes. We are sexist, smelly, love sweets, swear we will exercise tomorrow and don’t believe in queues. But, that we are also moved to tears by a sad film song, we fight to pay the bill in any restaurant, you cannot leave our home without atleast a cup of tea and some thepla or wada or shinghada or mithai or you get my point. We feel guilty if we don’t stand up when someone elderly walks into the room. We don’t shake hands, we hug. We are all first cricket selectors, and then we are bankers, engineers, lawyers, whatever. We stand up together and cheer during the climax of Chak De, we all watch terrible soaps on television and swear we don’t, and we all love Sachin Tendulkar.
And at that moment when we realise, that we are all the same, the choice will be ours. To turn to the foreigner on our side and say, you know what? We are 1.2 Billion. 1.2 Billion. The world is 6 Billion. That’s 1 Indian for every 4 non-Indians and we’ll turn to the rest of us and say, sounds good, let’s do it.