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Modi – Not The Leader India Wants, But The Leader India Needs

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Narendra Modi Congratulated by President

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being congratulated by President Pranab Mukherjee. Source hindustantimes.com

Much has been said about Narendra Damodar Modi before, during and after the Lok Sabha elections in India, which are a mammoth exercise of democratic clout that leave much of the world in awe. Many oppose this man over his “questionable” human rights record and his perceived right wing image. But most of India made an unmistakably unanimous decision to elect this man. Although the decisive mandate that the NDA has gotten is not a new phenomenon, given the situation that India finds herself in today, it’s crucial. Why? Because there’s a revolution coming. How do I know this? Lets see.

One might remember the recent article that Shashi Tharoor wrote for The Huffington Post that garnered a lot of attention India-wide merely because a Congressman had poured praises for Modi. This apparent act of blasphemy wasn’t received well by many within the Congress and the mindless cronies of the party couldn’t digest the fact that one of their own had praised their enemy even before the dust of their crushing defeat had settled. Despite Tharoor’s insistence that this piece wasn’t meant to imply an overnight transformation of Modi into a champion of secularism and inclusiveness, but rather meant to convey the fact that Modi is beginning to take steps in the right direction to repair his image among the activists and minorities, many within the Congress party still crucified Tharoor for it. Not all politicians were prepared to be as open minded as Tharoor to commend Modi on taking all the right decisions and inspiring those in Delhi from the very beginning. Now they lie in wait… waiting for him to make a mistake and to tear him to shreds. Until then, in their own words, “We’ll wait and see.”

But what must really be highlighted is the first speech Modi gave in the parliament on 11th June. It wasn’t merely a speech filled with bullet points from their election manifesto. It wasn’t a chest-beating session to demean the parties whose corpses BJP had crossed to reach the summit. It was a dream. A dream that Modi has clearly dreamt many times over and he was trying to persuade the nation to dream it as well. But what makes this speech different from all the others, one might ask?

The answer is simple. In this one, the idea of an “Andolan” i.e. Movement was introduced. Modi urged his fellow Indians to make the agenda of development a Jan-Andolan or People’s Movement. He drew parallels to the movements that Mahatma Gandhi inspired that helped India gain freedom from the shackles of foreign rule. He begged each and every Indian to live and work for the country. He said that even a person sweeping the streets must do it for the country and so should a teacher teaching a bunch of students.

Why is this approach noteworthy? Why should any of us care about these antiquated notions of “Desh-bhakti” and living and dying for the country, and so on? The answer is simple yet profound. Societies always need a purpose to move forward. Over many millennia, that purpose has been provided by religion, but in India’s current complicated religious turf, religious beliefs are causing more division than cohesion. In such a situation, the idea of working out of love for the motherland is the next best thing. All of us know in our heart of hearts, what the cold hard truth is. We do not really care about what happens to the nation, as long as we get what we want. We litter on roads, pay bribes to get our work done, take bribes to do our work, store money away in offshore bank accounts (in case we are the top 1% that has enough money to do so) and the list goes on. Our level of desensitization and callousness on various societal issues is already pushing the limits of saturation. Upper middle class families like to sit with their evening chai to discuss the vagaries of the political and bureaucratic system of India and how this nation is doomed. In such a situation, Modi wants to unite the nation and give us a common purpose, which is to work for the nation. To do everything we do, solely for the betterment of Bharat Mata, an approach that helped galvanize a sleeping nation into action and finally gave us our independence after much struggle. He said, “Desh ke liye mar nahi sake. Desh keliye jiyenge.” [We couldn’t die for the country, but we’ll live for it]. Although the image of Bharat mata is quite recent (came up when the nationalist movement was beginning to catch up among the masses), the concept of giving one’s life for the nation is entrenched in Indian culture. The Kshatriyas or the warrior class of our society would pledge to lay down their lives for Dharma or Duty and their matra-bhoomi or Motherland, to protect the lives of innocents. This concept was drudged up during the Indian Freedom movement and evolved into what we see today (mostly in our armed forces). If we as a nation are successfully able to adopt this ideology of “living and working for the country”, we work for not just ourselves but for everyone and that in turn goes around. Think of the possibilities!

This probably is the biggest reason why Modi is the leader India needs – to help along a paradigm shift in our society as a whole. Companies and organizations over the years that have made the greatest impact on a global level have done so because there was always a leader at the helm who held a vision. He clearly articulated the vision to his people. He made them dream the same dream. He made them want it as much as he did. And then they vigorously worked towards it overcoming all odds to achieve the desired result. This Lok Sabha speech was the first step towards creating tangible change – an exercise in making 1.4 billion people dream the dream of development and good lives. Modi spoke about capitalizing on the state of Sikkim’s impressive strides in the organic food industry and making the northeast a hub for organic food export, and collecting real time agri-data in the supply chain of food supply to avoid rotting of the surplus stock. He urged ministers to STOP PSYCHO-ANALYZING victims of rape and just shut their mouths and do their job to curb the dismal situation of women’s safety and security in India. This is probably where Modi shattered his right wing conformist image. As someone seen as a staunch proponent of Hindutva and an agent of the RSS, people expect the likes of Modi to blame the victims for rape and shift the blame onto movies and pornographic content on the internet. Instead, Modi emphasized on helping the victims of these heinous attacks and spoke of working effectively to curb them. He also asked ministers to think of themselves as “Janta ke Doot” or Agents of the people.

He made various points concerning development and governance, all inclusive and at regular intervals, re iterated that he will take every MP along; regardless of their party and that they will act as agents of the poor and underprivileged. They will work solely for the benefit of the repressed and help them ascend in society. He made no distinction on the basis of cast or religion. He made no mention along the lines of affirmative action, only action along the lines of poverty. Very importantly, he spoke about using education as a weapon against poverty and backwardness – something we all know, but nobody bothers to work on. And he highlighted the importance of burnishing the brand of “Skill India” to come out of the current image of “Scam India” – perhaps a testament to his pro-development image.

Modi’s cleanliness policy, his devotion to work and his insistence that other who work with him adopt the same work ethic, the value he gives to time management and personal health… All these make him an ideal manager. His vision makes him a great leader.

When all the aforementioned qualities converge into one person, he becomes the leader than India needs to unshackle herself and move ahead in the world. He becomes… Narendra Damodar Modi.

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Humanity Endures During Coronavirus Pandemic

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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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Congress’s Electoral Enervation

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BlakeShramster / CC BY-SA

Lately, the Grand Old Party of India has been suffering from severe political lacerations. It is bleeding profusely but it still refuses to recognize and feel the pain of its grisly wounds. The Congress party is obstinately practicing political podsnappery and this is further eviscerating its relevance. Slowly and steadily, its ideological roots are being chipped away. We are witnessing a kind of dilemmatic democratic party, which is strangulating in the ever-shifting tectonic plates of Indian politics. The fresh act of defection by Jyotiraditya Scindia foregrounds the ideologically weak aura which now surrounds the Congress.

In every period of its history, a particular type of ideological encrustation surrounded the Congress and illuminated its charm among the Indian voters. This ideology rooted it firmly in a vast network of ideologies. This ideology, for the most part, has been secular and liberal and acted as a strong bulwark against a xenophobically framed anti-secular strategy. But now, this prodigious party has shrunk to a miniscule group. This cataclysmic contraction has happened primarily due to the elitist imagery to which it was tethered. Congress’s political rivals portrayed it as an inherently elitist group by harping on its corruption scandals like the Satyam Scam, Coal Scam, Chopper Scam, Adarsh Scam and Tatra Truck Scam. All this overemphasis on the financial impurity of the Congress led to the citizens believing that the Congress party is an aristocratic admixture of kleptocracy and bogus secularism.

The political dynasticism of the Congress further solidified this elitist imagery and soon, Congress became the ‘suit, boot ki Sarkar’. The usage of the aforementioned epithet successfully established the presence of the Congress party as a technocratic liberal party, accustomed to high-handed bureaucratic methods of administration. The attribute of a ‘pro-people party’ was snatched away from the Congress and it was represented as a technocratic group, largely unconnected from the material conditions of the citizens.

Apart from the political and financial palm-greasing, the Congress has also been disemboweled due to its confounding ideological quagmire. The Grand Old Party is stuck in a regal fort, where it is continuously wavering between a secular strategy and a thinly-veiled contrivance of religious pandering. It has already flip-flopped on its ideological plank by pitching Rahul Gandhi as a religious leader which actually backfired because people at once understood that he had suddenly become a synthetically Hinduized leader.

And now, it is lending its support to the Anti-CAA protests and has all of a sudden, arrived like a knight in shining armor, chaotically shouting secular slogans. Opportunistic acts like these cause severe trust deficit and the party incurs widespread odium for its electoral opportunism. So, due to the Congress’s ideological shilly-shally, its attempt to provide guidance to the Anti-CAA protests is seen as a crude act of politically hijacking the protests. To say succinctly, the Congress has been utterly passive in reacting to some major political events and has not even tried to extend its sinews to drag itself out from the quicksand of financial dissoluteness and ideological vacillation.

Due to all the above mentioned iniquitous inadequacies, Congress is withering and losing its elephantine presence on the electoral platform. This is the most appropriate time for the Congress to recognize its Achilles heel and try to overcome this deficiency. The defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia highlights the fact that now, an ideological string no longer ties any Congress member and the party needs to alter its highly feudal organizational structure which is identical to a form of royal structure, based on monarchical munificence. The Congress party can utilize the following remedial measures to perform the medical operation which is indispensable for it to regain its health.

Constitutional Struggles

It should try assiduously to interconnect itself with the common masses and change its political behavioral pattern by staging what can be called ‘constitutional struggles’. These constitutional struggles will essentially be democratic demonstrations, aiming to recover the lost sheen of the constitution. These protests should be able to blend constitutional patriotism with a Gandhian non-violent idea of struggle. In this way, the Congress party would be successful in politically fructifying its vast receptacles of historical significance and will harmonize its history as a torchbearer of freedom with the present calamitous conditions. One important reason behind the need to make Mahatma Gandhi the vanguard of Congress’s recuperation struggle is the vast space which he occupies in the collective imagination of the Indian citizens. By spotlighting Gandhi, the Congress party can easily initiate a resistance movement whose objective will be to find the Gandhian truths in this age of political prevarications and fabrications.

Change Organizational Configurations

The Congress party needs to change its organizational configurations. The sybaritic structure of dynasticism should be superseded by a bottom-up approach which is decentralized. The present organizational architecture is extremely centralistic and all the members of the Congress party are seen as the supine members of a sycophantic entourage, revolving around the singular nucleus of nobility, which has invariably been the Gandhi family. The senior members of the Congress party such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Manmohan Singh are depicted as the servile stooges of the Gandhi family who possess an unbreakable fidelity to the dynastic autocracy of the Congress party. The congress leadership is also currently rudderless. During the elections, it played the role of a dabbler. After Indira Gandhi, all the Gandhis (Except Sanjay Gandhi) were reluctant politicians. They were compelled because the Nehru – Gandhi name was associated with the party. All these aspects of party functioning need to be radically changed so that non-Gandhi members are not seen as mere appendages of the supposed undisputed overlord which is the Gandhi family. (3) A coherently unified ideological political programme needs to be built. The lumbering party is in a state of delirium and is unable to properly specify its political stance. It should solidly settle this predicament by choosing to continue with its former political posture as a truly secular and democratic party, committed to constitutional values. If this operation is not undertaken, the Congress will be finally consigned to the political graveyard, where it will die with its shambolic ideological structure.

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5 Ways to Strengthen Sibling Bond

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siblings relations

Blood is always thicker than water. This is one of the most appropriate proverbs one can find.

Blood relations always prove to be the most important and everything fades away when it comes to your own blood. Sibling bond is one of the closest bonds one can have.

During childhood any child with a sibling can understand that bond and feel the closeness on that bond. In Spite of endless fights, disagreements, siblings love each other the most and are very protective of each other.

It is very easy to maintain this bond while you are younger and living together, the challenge comes to maintain that bond while you grow up and start moving towards your own social and domestic life. Here are some tips how you can strengthen your sibling bond while still handling your work, social and domestic life:

1. Plan Holidays Together:

Make a pact that every year you all will get together and plan a holiday either with family(if married) or just all the siblings together. it will make sure that you are taking time out for yourselves and not getting faded in everyday life.

2. Have a Private Group Chat:

Siblings can make sure that you all initiate private group chats and make sure you share your everyday routine, happiness, problems etc in order to keep everyone in the loop of your life.

Group chat makes sure that you are catching up on each other on an everyday basis and is a constant part of each other’s lives.

3. Send Gifts to Each Other:

Siblings can plan to send each other gifts on different occasions that will help in building a close relationship with each other. Sometimes, it is possible your sibling might be based far away or in a foreign country. There are so many online platforms available where you can send a gift to your siblings whether its online birthday cake delivery or online rakhi delivery etc. everything is available on online portals.

4. Help each other in Reaching Goals:

Siblings are the most important people who can push you towards your goal. Siblings can encourage each other towards what is the best course to take for a bright future. Sometimes a sibling can recognise your potential much faster than you yourself can. Thus it is important that you share your goals and aspirations and listen to each other in order to go forward in your life.

5. Cultivate Friendship:

It is very important that siblings should cultivate not only sibling bonds but become best friends and should be able to confide in each other. This is only possible if they work on developing only  siblings but a friendship bond. A good friendship will ensure that it becomes very easy for siblings to communicate with each other and discuss any issues they might face. It is important that the friendship is of a level that when one sibling needs help they should reach their sibling in the very first course.

So, these were some tips that can strengthen your singing bond. If you follow these tips, you can make sure that you will become best friends with your siblings and will have a great relationship despite a life of your own.

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