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GROWING CHINA-RUSSIA ALLIANCE SET TO BRING INDIA AND US CLOSER

The growing friendship between China and Russia seems to be part of a defence strategy against a common enemy: The US. However, India seems to be a key element in this equation, given its partnership with the US, especially as Quad allies, its history with Russia, and strained relations with China.

Maneesh Pandeya

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A perfect example of a marriage of convenience, the growing diplomatic alignment between China and Russia emanates from their respective strategic necessities, most notably, to stave off a common threat—the United States. The growing friendship between China and Russia, despite their own competition in areas like Central Asia, is a typical response to growing global resentment over their expansionist and revisionist agendas.

These diplomatic dalliances, in most conditions, are triggered when you have a common enemy. In the case of the Beijing-Moscow nexus, there is more than one perceived enemy or threat. The recent regularity in the meetings among Quad officials and ministers, capped by the virtual meeting of the Quad heads of states held last month, has rattled Beijing, which perceives the grouping as a major front to combat China’s agenda in the Indo-Pacific. The rise of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as a leader in vaccine diplomacy and the endorsement of India’s pivotal role in the global fight against the Covid pandemic by the western world has further riled up China, which now sees India as a competitor and a threat to its regional hegemony. This perception has been strengthened by the fact that the Biden administration has doubled down on Trump’s emphasis on developing deeper strategic and military cooperation with India.

The recent sanctions against Beijing over the Uighur human rights violations, the US-China face-off at the Alaska meeting, combined with Washington’s growing hatred against Moscow and President Vladimir Putin, whom US President Biden openly addressed as a “killer”, and the emerging global diplomatic blockade against these two “suspecting partners” are the primary reasons which have forced them to partner against the US-led bloc. Simultaneously, one must note that the US too sees China as a far bigger threat than Moscow in current situations and shares India’s perception of China as an aggressive player interested in changing the status quo, through militaristic means, if necessary.

It would be interesting to see how Moscow, which is content playing second fiddle to China, will now balance its ties with New Delhi. For India too, the road ahead with Russia will demand striking a precarious diplomatic balance.

China, which is facing Washington’s sanctions spree, is also losing out on global markets. Not only India—which has scuttled Beijing’s opportunity to encash the Covid pandemic by supplying vaccines to the world and is fast becoming an alternative to many European countries for trade and business—but ASEAN nations like Vietnam and Singapore are also making the most of the business opportunity thrown out of Beijing’s “alienation” from the global demand-supply chain. Moscow’s vaccine is also under global scrutiny and their “manufacturing and global supplier status” has taken a hit. While India balances Moscow with multi-billion-dollar defence deals, China has lost the large Indian market, which was indirectly a factor for its status as an “invincible regional manufacturing hub”. Things have gone awry to the extent that after Australia shut its doors on China and Russia, seeing an opportunity, there was a quick move to meet the Dragon’s demand for coal supplies.

Their strategic cooperation list also extends to a lunar research station project, clinical trials of the Cansino AD5-nCOV vaccine, action against “colour revolutions”, and Chinese trade and tourism expansion in Crimea. The two nations are also aligning with Iran, another strategic partner of India, for naval exercises and defence partnerships, and eyeing Afghanistan for future diplomatic investments.

In fact, strategic think tank experts in Washington DC view the Quad as a “factor building the new power blocs” to define future diplomacy and strategic affairs. While the Quad has brought anti-China countries together, it has also gotten Russia and China closer. Aparna Pande, Director in Hudson Institute and an expert on India-US ties and South Asia, says, “The recent Quad meeting and the deepening ties among the Indo-Pacific countries is the result of two decades of patient efforts. The Russia-China relationship too is not new as over the last few years, as India and other countries in Asia have drawn closer to the United States, Russia has drawn closer to China. There are strategic (geopolitical, economic, and defence) reasons for this deepening partnership which relate to how Russia perceives the expansion of NATO in its near abroad and its desire to both remain relevant and create challenges for the United States in trouble spots globally.”

Another South Asia expert, Michael Kugelman of the Woodrow Wilson Center, says, “It’s only natural that a deepening Quad would not only bring Quad countries closer together, but also bring the rivals of the Quad countries closer together. China-Russia relations have been intensifying steadily in recent years.”

To Kugelman, the new Quad is a trigger for the Beijing-Moscow bonhomie. “The Quad has only delivered further momentum to a China-Russia relationship that already had its foot on the accelerator. What we’re seeing now is an evolving and expanding rivalry in the Indo Pacific between the Quad countries and their partners on the one hand, and the China-Russia grouping on the other. The region will increasingly become a strategic battlefield where this competition plays out,” says the Woodrow Wilson Center Deputy Director.

The question now is: how will India take the Russia-China closeness as it still maintains sound ties with Moscow? And is Russia, with China, in the long run going to become a designated enemy of the US and India too? Moscow, in fact, had tried hard with the Biden administration to maintain the “friendly nation” status it enjoyed under President Donald Trump, but in vain. In fact, America’s hatred and suspicion of Russia has grown post the presidential election results.

Pande also says, “Till now India has managed to balance its relations with Russia even though it has built closer ties with the US. Delhi would like to make sure that Moscow keeps India’s interests in mind and does not get too close to Beijing or build deep (especially defence) ties with countries like Pakistan that would hurt Indian interests. For this reason, India has continued to purchase oil/gas and defence equipment from Russia and continues to emphasise close ties as well try to include Russia even in the Indo-Pacific.”

However, for others like Kugelman, the Russia-China closeness gives India the “alternative to opt out of defence deals with Moscow and settle for US firms.” Diplomats and strategic affairs experts are thus intrigued and watchful as to how long India and Russia can continue swinging together, especially with New Delhi’s growing closeness with Washington DC.

Kugelman opines, “Deepening Russia-China relations could actually provide one more incentive for New Delhi to distance itself from Russia. The India-Russia relationship had already weakened a bit in recent years, amid a growing US-India relationship. We think about the S-400 deal, but in reality India has been much more interested in investing in US arms than Russian arms in recent years…These days, the India-Russia relationship is really propelled more by nostalgia than anything else, aside from some continued defence cooperation. The trend lines of India-Russia relations are not terribly great, and that could become more the case as the China-Russia relationship continues to grow.”

However, Pande feels that India will still make efforts to wean out Russia from the Chinese embrace. “India would like to wean Russia away from a close embrace with China but whether or not that is possible is yet to be seen. There are areas of friction between Russia and China, some historical, some geopolitical, and others economic. However, as long as both Russia and the US view each other as adversaries, there is little India will be able to do to wean Russia away and instead India will need to make sure it is not hurt by any fallout (like the CAATSA sanctions and S-400 deal).”

Washington’s diplomatic challenges are many, says Kugelman. “With China in alliance with Russia and some European nations still reluctant to sever ties with Beijing, the US certainly hopes to work with an ever-growing group of like-minded partners to counterbalance China. Just as many countries, including those in Europe, are hesitant to antagonize China due to business considerations, there will be hesitation from some countries, especially in Europe, to ally against Russia because of Russian energy supplies…China and Russia will try to push back against the US and its partners too, just as the latter will try to do against China and Russia.’’

But in all this, Russia’s growing alliance with China is more out of the larger strategic benefits it offers Moscow—economic cooperation bilaterally as well as opportunities to partner multilaterally on the global stage. Kugelman says, “These are all benefits for Russia that outweigh the costs of a worse relationship with the US (Moscow had no interest in improving ties with Washington) or further blows to its relationship with India (Moscow knows this relationship, while still cordial, is not on a good glide path).”

Sounding the growing China-Russia relationship is “here to stay and is not a temporary diplomatic response”, Kugelman sees it as an “answer to shifting geopolitics amidst their relationships with the US and India taking some nosedives”.

Needless to say, it seems like a rather delicate dance of diplomacy. Only time will tell if New Delhi emerges as a game-changer with the US!

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We never ever tell stories of women’s rights to her own body: Seema Anand

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Seema Anand, Author and Mythologist, recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. During the chat, she opened up about her experience of writing her book ‘The Art Of Seduction’, interest in this particular field and much more. Read excerpts:

 Speaking about her interest in this particular field and how you came about writing her book ‘The Art Of Seduction’, Seema said, “It actually began with the idea of looking for stories, so I am a storyteller by profession. I believe that stories that we tell define who we are. They actually create our identity. You know the kind of stories that we tell, if you tell stories about how if a man comes home, he is drunk he beats up his wife ,but she is so good that she never says anything to him. “Then you create the identity of a good woman as somebody who will never stand up for herself”, and to me, it’s always been a fascinating subject. As I explored these stories, I realised we never ever tell stories of women’s rights to her own body. That’s always somebody else’s property and i decided to try and see what it is that we had shut down or what is the stories that we had silenced. That led me to the kamashastras. As you know, there are hundreds of kamasutras, not just the one kamasutra. You know what, i had actually thought it was part of my studies. I thought I’ll do a paper on it. I’ll move on. I started this about 18 year ago. All i can tell you is that it is the most fascinating subject that i have ever come across because the Indian Kamashastras are the most exquisite books on erotic passion in the world and they’re so unexplored, untranslated. When i say untranslated, i don’t just mean about translating word to word, i mean about the metaphors, what they actually mentioned and what they talk about. I has become life’s mission now for me to discuss it, but what really draws me to them more and more is the emphasis that they put on a woman’s pleasure. The emphasis that they put on the divinity and the beauty around sexuality, which is so different to the world that we live in right now. It just makes me want to explore it more and see what it is that our ancient wisdom taught us that we see lost in this twilight zone that we live in today.”

 When asked how is she using her platform on social media to spread the word on, not only sexual liberation and talking up about your sexuality, but also saying that Indian culture has such a rich understanding of what sexuality is and it can be much more than vulgar, she responded, “You know its just the case , it’s anytime you have to change a story you have to do it one tiny little bit at a time. I think sex education is extremely important. I know that a lot of people in india believe that if you teach sexual education in school then it’s giving kids a license to go up and do things but actually it’s making them aware of what’s going on so that they don’t go up and do things they become more sensible or more careful or more intelligent around sexuality. It’s a very important part of our life to be intelligent and to understand sexuality, but yes coming back to question about how our culture or our background plays into it, what i find in all sex education classes is its very clinical. It’s literally being taught as the anatomy. This is this part is anatomy. This is what happens at penetration. We keep saying that sexuality and intimacy is not necessarily about penetration , that’s one act in that entire world of pleasure out there. To me, i really want to bring back the idea of pleasure as a thing of beauty and refinement, which is what the kamasutra was trying to teach. As thing of refinement, as an thing that intrinsically includes emotion, i think that’s where we are lacking. When we teach sex education or when we talk about sexuality. You know the problem is like you said it’s so taboo that in just trying to break those taboo most of us are just trying to say okay, let’s normalise the conversation. Let’s just get out there and talk about it so that it’s not hush hush and it’s not so pushed under a carpet. Most people are just literally trying to find that first battle and yeah I guess my battle has always been slightly different because as I was telling you earlier I didn’t actually start off by doing this on social media. I’ve been doing this work for so long. I just want to bring back people to the idea that there is beauty and refinement and culture around it. It’s not that one act of penetration that surrounds it, there’s so much more to it.”

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I tried to create a conversation around sexuality: Leeza Mangaldas

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Leeza Mangaldas, Sex Positive Content Creator recently joined NewsX for an insightful conversation as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Leeza opened up about the content she creates on Instagram, the kind of conversations she has been having on social media and how she has been helping youngsters get relevant information about sex.

When asked about the content that she is creating on Instagram, Leeza said, “I tried to create a conversation around sexuality, sexual health, gender, the body, identity. My hope is that this can help in normalise these conversations because sex remains so stigmatised for discussion. Most young people don’t receive information. It is a normal part of life. It’s something we deserve, i.e accurate judgement about sex. The fact that most people have a smartphone now, the internet allows us to access the stuff from the comfort of our homes and privacy from our headphones and phone. It’s really lensed. I also think that young people use social media so much , I mean people don’t put the phone down. They took it even in the bathroom. So, if you want to connect to young people, social media seems like a great way to do it, but it’s so important to me to have conversation. A typical attitude to sex education is like lets teach people how not to have negative experiences. ‘Ok, so it’s very don’t do this, don’t do that and kind of fear-based approach. If you have sex, you will get pregnant. If you have sex, you will get an STD. Ohh it really really bad that if you sex you will be punished and if you done something wrong or evil,’ This kind of the messaging is there. Any official messaging intended is laced with judgement and punishment. All of this type of language, absence base, fear based or i mean, even when it is well meaning it’s like does or not to get an std or not to get pregnant. Nobody is focusing on pleasure. Nobody knows how we can have the best experience, it’s just talking about how we can not have a bad experience. You know what i mean. I wanted that shift where we talk about sex and its normal, important and wonderful thing, rather than scary bad thing.”

Talking about the topics she has been addressing via her videos, she said, “I try to also allow for audience questions to dictate the topics i choose. I got a lot of questions repeatedly around on certain thighs and addressed them. I think many people, have a lot of issues about body image. Like you know questions around penis size, questions around boobs size, questions around like why is the skin of vagina is darker than the rest of body or lots of question around first sexual experience. I have created a lot of content type of trying to provide help for full information what you should know before you have sex. You know consent is a subject that is important to me, talking also about stuff like arousals, desires and being in contact with your own body and pleasure and understanding that you can communicate better because I think communication is central to sexual experiences.”

Speaking about where she an draws a line between helping younger people to get relevant information about sex and drawing line with what is the legal age to have sex, she said, “The age of consent was vary from country to country and changed over time and it’s a really tricky area without easy answers in terms of age of consent of what is legal to begin having sex. In India, it is 18 but there was a time when it was something around 12 here. If you know, a child marriage is a part of how things operated in your grandparents’ generations. In other countries, it’s 16 and in some countries it’s still even younger than that. So, how old is appropriate or not appropriate 16, 17, 18 ,20. This is a question that doesn’t have an easy answer and it’s not up to me to decide. I’m also a citizen abiding by the laws, so of course, I maintain the age of consent. In India, it is 18 but i think the information, the education is something has to start earlier and have to start when the child is learning the first word or when he learns the body parts. For example, you are teaching him this is your eyes, your nose, you are teaching them the words to think and why is it that we never teach them the correct names of vagina, instead we say something either name like shame shame. You’re getting it, in such an age, this is shameful. So, of course, you should be appropriate but not for one-time conversation, which you have with a young person. These are opportunities to normalise education around sexuality, body, sexual health, all through childhood, because it’s usually the age 6 or seven somebody will ask mom, where do babies come from how would i get here or if you are expecting another sibling like how would it get in your stomach? Are you going to tell them that a bird dropped it or you found it in the dustbin? Why lie to the child? After there are picture books that simplify an explanation or consumptions and pregnancy, seeing things. When your adult teaches a child to get on her first periods, don’t you think they owe an explanation.”

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People have misconceptions around what sex education means: Karishma Swarup

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Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology piece that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology, but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”

 The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how these condoms work, how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have a safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include LGBT community, it include one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion.influence how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture which goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE. at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.

 Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, i was referring to. I went and studies geology biology while i was at Brown University as well. Large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, i got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, who had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.

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Ram Jethmalani memorial lecture series: Disruption to parliamentary proceedings an MP’s privilege?

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In a tribute to a legendary jurist and MP, Ram Jethmalani lecture series is back with its second edition and will be streamed LIVE on NewsX on September 18, Saturday from 5 pm. Addressing an issue, which has recently found itself at the hotbed of Indian politics in 21st century, India’s Who’s and Who will share their take on ‘Is disruption to parliamentary proceedings an MP’s privilege and/or a facet of parliamentary democracy?’

Hon’ble Vice President Of India and Hon’ble Chairman of Rajya Sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu will be the guest of honour at the lecture series and will be joined by other esteemed panelists including Union Cabinet Minister Of Law Kiren Rijiju, Learned Attorney General For India KK Venugopal and Learned Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta.

Union Cabinet Minister For Women & Child Welfare Smriti Irani, Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra, Former Solicitor General Of India Gopal Subramaniam, Former Solicitor General Of India Ranjit Kumar, Tughlak Editor S Gurumurthy and Former Rajya Sabha MP Pavan Varma will also mark their presence at the memorial series and share their views on this pertinent topic.

Commenting on the event, Kartikeya Sharma, Founder of iTV Network, said, “’In tribute to one of India’s greatest jurists and MPs I can’t think of a more fitting subject that merits the focus of stakeholders in this panel of speakers. Democratic systems often lead to deadlock, but surely there is a way to bring back the poignancy of debate that Ram Jethmalani embodied at the bench, both in court and parliament. The object is to keep India forging ahead. I’m hoping that such efforts to recall whence we came will help us chart whither we go.”

Rishabh Gulati, Managing Editor, NewsX, said, “The people of India now have great expectations from those who are elected to serve. Parliament has became raucous often times as has the Indian media. We had the opportunity to get some of India’s most committed minds discuss the Indian media in the first edition of this memorial lecture series, it’s a merit that so many stakeholders are willing to take on a vexatious topic like this. As a journalist, I look forward to listening, rather than talking through this one.”

Ahead of the lecture series, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, RS, Majeed Menon shared his take on the topic and said, “Disruption should be, as far as possible, avoided. It is not just the protesting member of the parliament but it is the ruling party. It is the chair also that has to respect the reason for protest and make necessary amends so that the parliament can discharge its duty as required by the constitution and democracy.”

PP Chaudhary, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, LS, expressed, “Basically, if there is disruption in the parliament, in my opinion, it is not the privilege but a breach of privilege. The people are electing the member of the parliament.”

Apart from NewsX channel, the show will be aired on all our social media channels and major OTT platforms – Zee5, Dailyhunt, JioTV, Shemaroo, Mzaalo, Watcho, Flipkart, Paytm, Tatasky and MX Player.

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Sevagram for the 21st century to spread Gandhian philosophies

A place to learn from, re-live, and remember Mahatma Gandhi.

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Sevagram for the 21st century in Raipur is a project envisioned by the Chhattisgarh government that intends to be a place to remember and learn from the Gandhian Philosophies, to keep the freedom movement, and the nation’s history alive in the heart of young Indians. 

The inspiration behind this project is the Sevagram in Wardha, Maharashtra, founded in 1936 as a residence for Gandhiji and his wife in Central India to lead the freedom movement. It was built with a vision to serve the nation through Rural Reconstruction. Gandhiji believed that village improvement is the only foundation on which can permanently ameliorate conditions in India.

The proposed Sevagram will have a Visitors Centre to spread Gandhian Ideologies, Arts and Craft village, Vridh Ashram and a school for the underprivileged. It intends to empower the locals by the economy generated by tourism, celebrating the artisans of Chhattisgarh, providing a second home for the elderly, and building a world-class system for knowledge for the best minds in the state with a motive to fight poverty. The Visitors Centre will be a place to learn, a place to re-live, a place to remember Gandhi, and commemorate him.

The Arts village will mirror the simplicity and traditions of the state and its people. Chhattisgarh is known for its distinct arts and craft. Bastar, Raigarh, and other districts of Chhattisgarh have various art forms using bell metal, wrought iron, terracotta, stone, fabric, and bamboo. The tribal families in the Bastar and Sukma districts celebrate many festivals and fairs, which require ample common space for the villagers to set up such fairs and interact. Sevagram will be a place where visitors will experience local arts and crafts, local cuisine through the community kitchen and host cultural events in an open-air theatre.

Vridh Ashram for old age is unique to Sevagram. It intends to become a second home for those elderly separated from their family and need care.

This ashram creates a holistic ecosystem that can offer its residents a quality of living and engagement with the other site activities. The idea of sustainable living having symbiosis between the elderly and site activities can make a very homelike experience. After all, Mahatma Gandhi believed that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. 

A schooling system inspired by the ancient Indian Gurukuls, well equipped to empower young Indians to take over the 21st century. The intent is to end poverty by providing education. As the saying goes – “The education of just one underprivileged child changes the future of many generations of the family as they are destined to move out of poverty”.

The government aims to make the project environmentally and financially self-sustainable by creating biodiversity parks and revenue streams by promoting arts and crafts and tourism. It will identify land in Nava Raipur in and the work plan will be presented before 2 October by NRDA. Building on the principles of sustainability, all the raw materials will be locally sourced.

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PM MODI: A SIMPLE MAN WITH A VISION FOR INDIA

Prime Minister is a man kindled with a deeply rooted sense of purpose to work for the betterment of India and the betterment of the world but most of all, to work for humanity.

Savio Rodrigues

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I have witnessed the power of the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice amongst the crowd but never had the opportunity to sit with him face-to-face and converse. The blessed opportunity presented itself on 6 August 2021, when I was invited along with my co-author Amit Bagaria to meet with the Prime Minister of India.

We were elated to interact with one of the finest and much-talked-about global leaders emerging out of our nation.

Prime Minister Modi is not a politician that has risen to such a pinnacle of political success on muscle power or money power. He has matured and grown with the power of his intellect and hard work.

Let me be honest. He did not have the aura of a powerful man who is intimidating. I certainly was not intimidated by his presence. In fact, I felt that I was conversing with an elder brother.

Often I have witnessed that conversations with people in positions of power end up being a monologue. Our conversation was a dialogue and not a monologue. You can only have a dialogue if you respect the view of the other person.

Prime Minister Modi is undoubtedly a man of power, but, his power is in the mind, and his power is in the people. He does not need to intimidate, he merely needs to inspire and people get inspired.

In the 25-minutes discussion with Prime Minister Modi, I could see in him a man kindled with a deeply rooted sense of purpose to work for the betterment of India and the betterment of the world but most of all to work for humanity. He has such a humane approach to all issues.

I did not find a hint of arrogance in him. He was simple and courteous. I did not feel that I was sitting in the presence of the Prime Minister of the largest democracy in the world. In his presence, I felt like I was having a cup of ‘Chai’ in the courtyard of my home with a man of knowledge and compassion for people.

He showed immense concern for my safety and security, when I asked him for a piece of advice, on whether I should go to China to further investigate the Covid-19 origins. He also in simple words spelt out my way forward in the investigations. His concern was genuine, his concern was familial.

You read so much of PM Modi the politician that we often forget Prime Minister Modi the human and we build up an image of a power-centric political leader. I did not see Prime Minister Modi the politician in our meeting. I saw Prime Minister Modi the human. I saw Prime Minister Modi the friend. In fact, the camaraderie during the meeting was that of three friends meeting after a long time, eager to take pictures and talk, yet respecting each other. Prime Minister Modi made us feel like we were in our own homes.

As a journalist and an analyst, I take great pride in reading people, their faces, their body language, and their behaviour during interactions. And I often tend to look at the eyes of a person. Prime Minister Modi has eyes of compassion.

He is not in a position of power with a self-driven purpose. He is in a position of power because he believes that his purpose is to take India to great heights and he can do that in this position of power. I could see that this man at the opportune time, after completing his job, will pass on the mantle to the next leader to take India forward. He does not covet the position of the Prime Minister out of self-importance but out of a sense of his own self-driven mission of contributing to the growth of India. He is a man on a mission and after completing his mission he will move on.

After my face-to-face interaction with Prime Minister Modi, I am amused by the past and present adjectives of evil attributed to him. Prime Minister Modi is not a fascist. He is far from it. He is a humanist.

Prime Minister Modi is a simple man of Dharma. He is following his Dharma. He is living out his Karma. He did not move into the position of power out of family legacy or political aristocracy. He has worked hard for it and he strived unflinchingly to be a change manager for India. That’s why people connect with him.

Political growth in India is often related to political legacy. Prime Minister Modi is not a leader born out of political aristocracy or of political nepotism. He is a leader that has come from the common people of India and now is the hope of the common people of India.

The people of India admire Prime Minister Modi because they see him as one of them, a leader of the common man born out of the common man’s strife in life. The people of India trust that under Narendra Modi’s leadership India will rise to take centre stage in the world. 

Post my face-to-face conversation with PM Modi, I am convinced that Narendra Modi is more than just a politician occupying the chair of the Prime Minister of India. He is a visionary. He has a vision for India and its people. He is working on that mission and vision. Of course, along the way, he will make some mistakes. But they would be because of bad decisions based on bad advisors. I do not for a moment believe that PM Modi will err out of intent to cause harm to India or Indians. He loves India and our people too much. More so, I do not personally believe, a leader, politics, or otherwise can please 100% people. There will always be a few grudging elements. I see Narendra Modi as an elder brother in charge of my home—India. I trust PM Modi because his intent for India is pure. I will disagree with some of his decisions but I will stand by him as a brother and a friend because he puts India first and that is the only truth that matters to me. Narendra Modi in simple words is a good man. He is focused on India. I know I have found an elder brother and a friend in him.

The author is founder & editor-in-chief at GoaChronicle.com.

Political growth in India is often related to political legacy. PM Modi is not a leader born out of political aristocracy or of political nepotism. He is a leader who has come from the common people of India and now is the hope of the common people of India.

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