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Five Lessons World Should Learn From India

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Patrick French, writer and historian. Photo:  Outlook India

India is a vast nation now considered as a military and economic giant of Asia. In past fifteen to twenty years Indian growth story has changed the complete geopolitics of the region and how the rest of the world looks at this nation. Just recently until 1980s the country which was known as the country of snake charmers today the same country is ruling the software and service sector of the world with its mouse charmers “highly qualified engineers” making undisputed fast delivery services to the end users in US, Canada, Britain and other European countries.

India’s growth story is different than many others, India is largely diverse. Hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects, ethnic differences and variety in religions and food. Large number of riches, larger number of poors, and a big size of middle class population, India has somewhat managed to keep them all together in the growing path. Having so many people below poverty line and literacy rate 74.04%, if India can be one of the fastest growing country in the world, then what will happen if India improves its above statistics. All these gives us great lessons which the world must learn from India and implement.
This article is based on the views and the research done by award winning writer and historian Patrick French whose video is embedded in the end of the article for your reference. These are the lessons which he believes Britain should take from the good or bad conditions in India. Please note that any reference to any particular community, religion or caste is only for the purpose of example.
The growth story of India in the world outside India has become so popular that everyone in Europe and the US is attracted to India. However, on reaching India the first impression which it gives cannot support the argument that India is third largest economy by GDP (PPP). Unplanned infrastructure, damaged and dirty roads, shortage of basic amenities like water and electricity in some of the major cities gives a negative impression.
Indeed growing with the pace of 7% to 9% has changed a lot in the country which has generated world class economic regions like in Bangalore and NCR (National Capital Region), etc. Somewhere in the growing process nearly one third of the India’s poor population has been left behind who are still struggling to find their ways to eat two times a day. If India is able to check that in coming days, it can make progress smoother and faster.

Lesson 1: Idea of Managing and Dealing with Diversity

India is a country of Indians, but it is better to say that India is a multi culture, multi ethnic, multi lingual and multi religious society. People are ethnically, linguistically and religiously diverse and still living in harmony since independence for past more than six decades. There have been severe conflicts around the world on ethnic and religious issues, and India too had to struggle when it was partitioned in the name of religion that resulted into religious violence during mass migration between a secular India and Islamic Pakistan. Once the formation of a secular India happened, the nation continued getting stronger.
Today religious practices and festivals are celebrated in India that encourages collective security and peace within communities. It is common to see Muslims and Hindus decorating and lighting their homes on Christmas, people of all religions celebrating Christmas in their office or in shopping malls. Similarly it is common to see people of other religion celebrating and enjoying playing Holi and Diwali which are fun filled Hindu festival of colours and light respectively. Celebrating Eid is a friendly gesture and wishing their Muslim brothers with a hug and then having delicious sweet at their homes made with vermicellis and milk is a wonderful feeling.
You are not only exposed to various cultures and customs but another interesting thing in India is that religious holiday of any religion is a public holiday and hence you get more holidays in a year to get a day off from work.
In the 21st century when people are leaving their religious and ethnic differences to grow together, there are instances where ethnic or religious hatred are creating problems resulting into wars, whether it is Israel or Palestine or Tamilians and Sri Lanka or North and South Sudan. The world must take this lesson from India for their benefit.

Lesson 2: Flexibility

Flexibility can be in anything, flexibility can be in time, in religion, in politics, or in society. Those who have done business in India or who have to deal with Indians always complain about time that Indians fail to be on time. Those who schedule meeting with Indians often experience delays. When most of the world has defined time limits and schedules and strictly bind to it. Indian believes in infinity, In the broader perspective, Indians will finish their work on time, but in narrow perspective how do they do it, what timings they follow, leave it on them. Importance of time and self discipline is taught in many religious teaching. The idea of flexibility comes very much from the religion that most of the Indian follows, which doesn’t prohibit you from alcohol or non vegetarian food, and leaves  decision making ability and philosophy on you encouraging you to feel the god within yourself.
The concept of flexibility also comes from the centre. In the true sense, democracy is in India that involves nineteen to twenty two political parties based on different ideologies forming one central government in alliance in Delhi. It requires you to be very flexible in thoughts as you need to make and run a government that is formed of various ideologies. There has been times in India when communists and capitalists co-existed in the central government of India.
Dalit comunity of India, which is one of the backward community came up with an idea of learning and teaching English among themselves to improve the employment conditions in the community. For this they invented a new god, English goddess, showing the flexibility in the religion. They made temples around and encouraged dalit children to come and learn English that would give a better image and job for their community.

Lesson 3: Learning and Education

Indians have extra ordinary devotion to education and academic attainment. It is in their culture to compete not only with their batchmates in the school but also with their neighbours and also with their siblings and cousins. Often students in 10th and 12th grade prepare themselves to break the records set by their seniors or cousins may be 10 years back, it doesn’t matter. The seeds of competition are sowed in much early age of a student by the parents and other relatives in the society.
India is also one of the largest producer of first class internationally accepted degree holders like doctors, engineers, MBAs and lawyers. India is one of the largest producers of high quality resources that drive companies and economy around the world.
Again this dedication towards education has a religious impact. The idea of learning is considered as a social duty and service to the goddess “Vidya mata” or Goddess Saraswati.
Still there is a big population in India who are not even literate. India’s literacy rate in recent years has climbed to 70+ mark. If India’s education system can pump hundreds of thousands of engineers, doctors, lawyers and business administrators during current conditions, its result will be enormous if India can also give  attention to the other half of its population who have not been much blessed with primary education.

Lesson 4: Environment

This is an important lesson to be learnt so that the rest of the world do not end up like how Indian natural resources and environment has ended up in pollution due to extremely fast growth. Those who travel to India are shocked by the level of public mess, garbage dumped along the roads and in the drainage, polluted rivers and deforestation in central India and Himalayas for farming or mining etc, although efforts of reforestation have also started on  a big pace. Still in many Indian cities even if you are sitting indoors you might feel eyes burning due to pollution. Some cities like Delhi have made enormous progress in reducing air pollution by introducing Natural Gas for vehicles, cooking, and heating purposes. The city where just 10 years back eyes used to burn, today you can breathe freely.
Flora and fauna holds a great impact on Indian society. For thousands of years Indians have been worshipping trees and animals as they believe in collective society where not only humans, but trees and animals also have an important place. Often in the morning and evening women can be seen tying a kind of thread on the branches of peepal tree which sets up a kind of relationship with the trees who are the pillar of the life on earth. With high demand and improper infrastructure, forests are being destroyed for illegal construction and mining, a large number of endangered animals like leopard and tigers continue to be killed by the poachers increasing the risk of their extinction.
In a moment against deforestation in north India, famous as chipko movement, local people would hug a tree if the authority or industrialists would come to cut down the trees forcing them to stop. Indians also celebrate vanmahotsav festival where before the raining season everyone plants a sapling of plant. However, the popularity of such festival has gone down in recent years which needs a promotional campaign.

Lesson 5: Idea of Contradiction

When you will reach India, you will immediately notice two Indias moving forward side by side. One is a third largest economy by GDP (PPP), a military and space power, another is an India of poor and illiterate people, who do not get to have food even two times a day. There are nearly 300 million poor people in India and on the other hand some of the most richest people are from India. Presently the richest person in Britain is of Indian origin, Lakshmi Mittal.

India has a dynamic middle class, but a static rural culture, which has been somewhat ignored in the recent years, a large part of Indian agriculture is still based on the monsoon rains which highly impacts the outcome of the crops every year resulting into unreliability of Indian farm output due to high fluctuation in the rains.
India gave attention to some of the great sectors right after the independence but failed to give the required amount of attention to some of the basic sectors. For example, primary education was not made priority in the 50s and 60s, but India came up with the world class institutions like IIT almost during the same period. India’s advancement in the space can be seen from late 60s. India started importing early computers from IBM and Soviet Union. After the technology embargo on India as a result of nuclear testing, India was forced to develop and design indigenous supercomputer and supercomputing technologies. In 1990, a prototype was developed and was showcased at the 1990 Zurich Supercomputering Show. It surpassed most of the other systems participating, placing India second only after the US.

India, one of the richest country few century ago had to start again from the scratch when most of the western world was already in their later stage of development. With large number of resources, large population, rich history and cultural heritage, when the country is moving again with the fast pace, it gives us many lessons. Some lessons which should not be repeated and to be aware of, and some lessons which should be implemented. India gives many such lessons and is a model for other developing nations in Asia, Africa, East and Central Europe.


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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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India

Government Changing Syllabus to Include Sikh History in India

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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Moon Jae-in jointly inaugurating the Samsung manufacturing plant, World’s Largest Mobile Factory, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh on July 09, 2018. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath (in saffron), the Minister of State for Culture (I/C) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Mahesh Sharma and other dignitaries are also seen.

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, most populous state in India, has announced inclusion of Sikh history in the state syllabus. Students of all schools under UP State Board will see the new chapters. The announcement came when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (BJP) was observing Sahibzada Diwas.

Why do we Observe Sahibzada Diwas?

Sahibzada Diwas marks the martyrdom of four ‘sahibzada’ (or sons) of Guru Gobind Singh (10th Sikh Guru) and his mother Mata Gujri. In the year 1705, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had ordered torturing of youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh aged 5 and 8. He later executed the little sons by burying them alive into a wall. The reason for this act was that they refused to convert to Islam. Soon after this event Guru Gobind Singh’s mother, Mata Gujri also martyred her life under Aurangzeb’s captivity. The cause of her death is still unclear. Guru Gobind Singh’s other two sons martyred their life in the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib. Thus the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh had lost his whole family by 27th December. This is an important event in the Sikh history in India and UP Government is finally keen on observing Sahibzada Diwas every year.

Why UP Government is Changing the Syllabus?

Soon after the independence of India in 1947, the school education came under tight grip of far left and communists. Most of the Indian history in the recent past has been written by Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib. They have close ties with left wing ideology and Irfan Habib has delcared himself as Marxist. They wrote history text books by either phasing out sections of Indian history or diluting certain events. The motivation to soft alter the history has been to propagate left-wing/communist ideology. Historian Koenraad Elst once highlighted that Romila Thapar is comfortable neither in Sanskrit nor in Farsi language. The knowledge of these two languages is a must to understand India’s history.

In the recent years, various public opinions have gained momentum to rewrite Indian text books to include more content on Indian rulers and native ideas. Currently, Indian text books mainly teaches about foreign rulers of India such as Mughals and British.

With this announcement of inclusion of Sikh history in history text books, the government is bringing historical facts in mainstream.

27th December as Real Children’s Day

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also reached out to the Education Minister to declare Sahibzada Diwas as Children’s day. He further added that “The history of Sikh gurus will be a part of the syllabus. Apart from this, we should observe December 27 every year as Sahibzada Diwas in all schools. Today is the day to pay gratitude to the sons of the Guru and mother who martyred their lives for the motherland, country and religion.” Yogi Adityanath also said that “No society can move ahead if it forgets history. The Sikh society is known for its hard work. The Sikh gurus sacrificed their lives to defend the Hindu religion. The country will always remember this.”

Yogi Adityanath added that learning about the sacrifices by Sikh Gurus would inspire future generations to dedicate themselves into nation-building. He emphasized that we should make future generations realize that India and Indian culture was safe because of sacrifices of Sikhs.

What Should We Do On Sahibzada Diwas?

Sahibzada Diwas should be an important day for every Indian regardless of their region, culture or religion. On this day, we are in the Holiday mood as it falls right between Christmas and New Year’s eve. However, we should remember that a Guru and his entire family sacrificed their life for the well being of India and the idea of India.

On this day we can fast, do sewa (service), visit a nearby Gurudwara and sleep on the floor at night.

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Nepal Hindu Rashtra: Time to Wrap Up Communism?

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nepal hindu rashtra

Nepal abolished the Constitutional Monarchy in May 2008 and declared itself as a Federal Democratic Republic. There was a new hope in Nepal as it was becoming world’s newest democracy even though it had dissolved the Hindu Rashtra. However, the democracy in Nepal immediately got into the tight grips of leftists and communists backed by China. It has been almost 12 years since monarchy was abolished in Nepal. Interestingly, the Himalayan country has already seen 11 Prime Ministers in this period. Thus, leaving the Nepalese people still yearning for good and stable governance.

Re-establish Hindu Rashtra

As the political instability is growing in Nepal, people are demonstrating concerns about the future of the country. In fact, Nepalese citizens are unhappy with frequent interference by China and India influencing its unstable communist regime. More voices are now growing in support of reinstating the Monarchy and declaring Nepal as world’s only Hindu Rashtra (which by default offers full religious freedom to other religious minorities as per Hindutva concept of Sarva Dharma Sama Bhavaall paths lead to one).

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, Kamal Thapa said that if political parties do not recognize the seriousness of reinstating the monarchy, then the country will head for a period of darkness. “Recently, we’ve had high-ranking officials from India and China come to Nepal to try and solve problems within the ruling party,” he said. “We cannot let others dictate what we want to do.”

Communist Party All Set to Suppress Protests, By Force

Kamal Thapa has firmly demanded an all party meet to discuss reinstating of monarchy. Throughout the month of December, 2020 Nepal has seen anti communism protests across the country in support of reinstating the monarchy and Hindu Rashtra. Most importantly, the demand has become a nationwide mass people’s movement. So much so that the communist regime had to send a directive to 77 districts in 7 provinces. The directive suggests suppressing the protests by force. Nevertheless, Rashtriya Prajatantra Party and other royalist groups have ignored this threat from the communist regime. Protester groups have pledged to strengthen the protest in the coming weeks.

Role of China – Hope for Communism in Nepal

China’s ambassador to Nepal is known to have very close relationship with Nepalese Communist regime. In fact, She has been super effective in tilting Nepal’s posture towards its ideological partner, China. One of her greatest achievements in 2020 was artificially manufacturing a border conflict between Nepal and India. Consequently, souring relations between the two Hindu majority nations. In addition, she managed to silence Nepal’s communist government after China took one of Nepal’s border villages under its control. However, recent political turmoil in Nepal and a renewed demand for reinstating of Hindu Monarchy is showing that the situation is now out of Chinese hands

Role of India

Year 2020, was not a good year for India and Nepal relations. India was busy in controlling domestic Covid cases. On the other hand, China had launched an invasive campaign into Indian territory. In addition, India is always busy with Pakistan on its western borders. However, the surprise came to India when China was almost successful in creating a new border tension between India and Nepal.

Those who do not know about Indian government should note that the current ruling party in India finds itself ideologically opposite to communism. This further creates differences between the two countries.

Communist party in Nepal has blamed India for supporting the ongoing anti communism protests in Nepal. However, former advisor to Nepal’s PM has suggested there is no proof that India is fueling pro Monarchy, anti communism demand in Nepal.

Nevertheless, There are certain influencers in India who have, in their personal capacity, expressed support for reinstating the Hindu monarchy. Yogi Adityanath, who is the Chief Minister of an Indian state bordering Nepal, said in 2015 that Nepal should declare itself a Hindu Monarchy. Readers should note that in 2015 Yogi Adityanath was not the Chief Minister yet. However, today he is not only popular in south of Nepal, his popularity is growing in Nepal as well.

Will The World See the first Hindu Rashtra?

It is difficult to answer this question at this moment. However, Nepalese communist government could not resolve the political instability and in December 2020 Nepalese government dissolved the parliament. Nepal will see next elections in April – May 2021. Hopefully, the world will see Nepal’s 12th Prime Minister in 13 years or may be a Hindu King? Royalists and protester groups have expressed confidence in winning next elections. We have our eyes on Nepal for updates.

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Humanity Endures During Coronavirus Pandemic

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testing_machine_at_NCDC,_Delhi_May_14,_2020

Photo by Press Information Bureau, Government of India

The world changed exponentially since the pandemic broke out. We changed too. Emotions are running high. We have learnt to take one day at a time and have stopped expecting changes to happen overnight.

“COVID19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back”
A clarion call from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is a call to unity and solidarity. Already plagued by natural/manmade disasters and wars, many countries seem to bite the dust for want of resources in the fight against the virus. Warning each other against complacency is appreciable but never a blame game to cover up a dysfunctional response. Not all update themselves on the governments, new economic policies and R&D on Covid vaccine. Many we come across seem to be making wise individual choices. No matter how badly the tiers of government fail us, there will always be thousands of people working to make things better. Besides, finding reasons and faults on policies for the spread doesn’t help. A virulent strain of flu had managed to spread within a few months to the remotest corners of the world infecting half a billion people – more than a quarter of the human species in 1918 long before the current age of globalization.

Separating, alienating and forswearing the endless moments of contact that knit society together thrust us into frightening new realities. The good is still there. Social distancing is nothing but taking a step back to literally give breathing space to others. Going by news & views, we understand that amid concerns of rising numbers of positive cases in frustrating circumstances, acts of kindness and solidarity are burgeoning. Yes, it’s been extremely sad and sobering to watch this all unfold, but watching people share resources and supporting one another in every conceivable way has made us feel more connected to our local communities. Whether singing a song together out on balconies, getting groceries for the elderly or calling a friend to alleviate anxiety and fear, each one I know play a part and take comfort in a sense of togetherness. We are steadily aware of our limitations yet don’t hesitate to free our wells of compassion. Do we think twice and thrice to make an online contribution to save the lives of people we don’t know and will never know!

Sadly, it has taken an invisible virus to help us belive once again that we are strongest only when we have the welfare of others in our mind. Halfway through quarantine and self-isolation a phone call, a kind word, an opportunity to reach out, a breeze, bird calls, one good news and loss of a loved one, we are hit with the necessary humility and awe we ought to feel and appreciate just how beautiful our world is and precious life is.

Post pandemic recovery will be better and bigger if life goes on with this beautiful idea, of humility, inwardness – as an ethical relationship, for the sake of others. For better or for worse, we have learnt that one can’t be an island unto himself. Lives are intertwined and are bound together. We, humans produce more rubbish than any other species. The growth in the human population is part of the explanation, but cannot account for all of the extra rubbish, a result of haste and greed both which almost skinned humans of humanity.

Unity among countries must ensure that all countries are equipped to trace, isolate and treat people infected by COVID-19. Only a global effort can avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system. Sanctions that affect health care should never be imposed. Development in one part of the world should not rob another country of it’s resources. Humanity gains the upper hand over invisible predators through the sharing of reliable scientific information, global solidarity, vaccinations, antibiotics, improved hygiene and a much better medical infrastructure. Today,it doesn’t take too much to figure out that global sharing and caring is the best defense. The Jing Si aphorism, “Good actions require everyone’s cooperation. So let’s not cling to personal biases” holds good for all times.

Stories of good samaritans are aplenty. To know humanity is still alive and kicking and is at it’s best when united assures us that we’ll come out of this “abnormal” time with a new normal. In their own unique ways, humans respond to protect life and health and ensure respect for fellow beings. ‘single-nucleotide polymorphisms’ are no joke. From handing over meals, survial kits, medicines, home made masks to calling on an old couple across the street, everything is humanity in action and it is the power of this humanity – humane behaviour towards other humans – that we seek to celebrate, improve and increase, especially during crucial times. Remember “A person with a generous heart and compassion for all beings leads the most blessed life”.

With thousands of migrant workers taking it on their chin, vehicles filled with food and ration along highways reach the needy and stranded and canteens serve free food. Rays of sunshine! We see through hypocrisy and deceptions, hear excuses for inefficiency, inadequacy and inflexibility and within the tumult and uncertainty we are doing much, much better in life than we thought we can. Quietly. Kindly. Gently. Being able to spare a part of us to help someone live is worth being thankful for. ” Giving with an expectation for return brings misery”. May we give generously, but don’t guilt ourselves if we can’t. If we have nothing left to spare, let’s go slow and kind.

The world is being taught a lesson, the harder way. This lesson is not about rich and powerful versus poor and powerless but about leadership that treasure the common wealth and common good, above private greed and profit and above protecting the privileges of a handful elites.

None of us are actually going anywhere. Might as well stay. The conclusion we draw from this crisis is that all humans matter equally, that we need to give a hand, raise one another, flourish or perish together- no matter what our limitations are, we’re capable of a great deal. This virus backlash is nothing short of a fleeting lesson to all leaders about how sane, humane societies should function all the time. Those who regard themselves as wonderfully favored of leadership, power and pelf are called to do great things. Anything that constantly arise to cause conflicts or disunion must be questioned, criticized, denounced and judged.

Be it a forced contemplation of our mortality or a sudden urge of self denial or an awareness of the passage of time and life, this screeching halt is proof that humans are designed to be more productive when connected, even in isolation. So, not all hope is lost. The time has come when we must know for ourselves why we believe in humanity as we do.

“Do something good for somebody today; the people who are trying to make the world worst aren’t taking days off.”

Gestures to honor humanity are varied, aplenty. A flypast in India is a cruel joke on the already tumbling down economy and on the selfless humanitarians who spare nothing to reach out. We can only wish the trail of showered petals, if showered will guide the departing victims of COVID19. Flying past/over ground realities is a highly irresponsible act of governments. Also, a misuse and mismanagement of meagre resources.

Was it a premonition that urged saint Thiruvalluvar, celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher to get on with kural 578 which when translated into English goes as

” The world is theirs (Kings) who are able to show kindness, without injury to their affairs, (administration of Justice).

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