By Manju Gupta
Mahan Vyaktiyon ke Prerak Bhashan (Hindi) by B.N. Goyal, Arya Book Depot, 295 pp, Rs 125.00
In man’s life many an occasion arises when he is asked to address a small crowd or gathering and he finds himself unable to speak anything. Then there are also men who at any time of the day and on any issue are ever willing to lecture. In reality, giving a speech is an art that can normally be acquired through practice. In some men the art is present since birth.
In India, normally one comes across two types of speakers—religious or political. A famous US Ambassador to India called John Kenneth Galbraith, who stayed in India for long, once remarked that it was in India that the people had the capacity to talk endlessly. So much so, that in a column in Indian Express dated June 3, 2001, it was published that Indians possessed a voice-box which contained no button to either stop the speaker from speaking or control the volume of the speaker’s voice.
It is said that Bernard Shaw overcame his incapability to speak thus: “The way I learnt to skate, I kept on practising till the point of even being called a fool, but this way I succeeded.” Britain’s former Prime Minister would stand up to speak and members of Parliament would start tittering. He resolved in front of them, “One day you will have to listen to me.” And, he went on to become one of the greatest orators.
The book provides in detail the points required in giving a speech—preparation beforehand, language and style of presentation, physical posture and language of the eyes when speaking. The book then produces excerpts from important speeches by leading personalities of the world. Beginning with the speech made by Mahatma Gandhi, on what Hinduism is, the author says that though Gandhi was all praise for the Gayatri mantra, and the Bhagwad Gita, he had said that “there is one mantra in which the essence of the entire Hindu Dharma is available.” Gandhi had added, “I believe that many among you will be knowing about the Ishopnishad. Years ago I had read its translation and abridgement. In the Yervada Jail I learnt it by rote. But, I was not as much fascinated by it than as I was in the recent past few months. Now I’ve at last come to the conclusion that even if all our Upanishads and other religious texts are destroyed, if only the first shloka of the Ishopnishad remains presenting the minds of the Hindus, then the Hindu Dharma will remain forever alive.”
The author has provided some very interesting excerpts from speeches of Bhimrao Ambedkar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghose, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda and also those made by foreign leaders like George Washington, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and others. These speeches are worth reading and what is more, it is not easy to find certain very good speeches of politicians, scientists as also dictators under one cover.
(Arya Book Depot, 30 Naiwala, Karol Bagh, New Delhi-110005.)