At midnight on August 15, 1947, India became a free nation, emerging from more than 100 years of struggle for independence. It has been 73 years since then, and each year, the Prime Minister in a ceremony watched by millions hoists the Indian flag and then addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on Saturday was his seventh consecutive one. But at 86 minutes, it was not his longest. Rather, it stands third on the list.
2019's address had been slightly longer at 92 minutes, while the position of longest Independence Day speech by Prime Minister Modi remains with his 2016 address which clocked in a rather lengthy 96 minutes. Incidentally, this too is a record, as this had been the longest Independence Day speech by any Prime Minister.
Following the lengthy address, Modi had said during a Mann Ki Baat address that many had urged him to keep his speeches shorter. Reacting to the same, he had promised to keep his speeches shorter in the coming years -- something he seemed to keep in mind while delivering the next few addresses. His 2017 address had been a comparatively shorter 56 minutes. -- his shortest till date.
Before Prime Minister Modi's speeches, the longest Independence Day address had also been the country's first -- delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947.
Incidentally this is a record of sorts as no other non-Congress Prime Minister has delivered seven speeches in a row. He had also recently surpassed Vajpayee to become India's fourth longest serving Prime Minister as well as the longest serving leader not affiliated with the Congress.
(With inputs from agencies)