In his first speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August 2014, Narendra Modi had spoken frankly about being an outsider who was taken aback with the way things functioned in New Delhi.

He also told citizens that they should feel personally responsible for national problems such as gender violence.

Modi asked tough questions about our national character. He tried to reframe the narrative towards social failures rather than state or market failures.

His third Independence Day speech on Monday was a study in contrast.

It was of a man who has found his feet in New Delhi, knows how to deal with the maze, if not a man who has become an insider.

The focus was on rewiring the social contract between the state and citizens—and on how simple changes in administrative rules can make the bureaucracy work for the benefit of citizens.

The change in subtext of Independence Day speeches over the past three years has been remarkable.