Indian politicians including current Prime Minister have made repeated reference to making India a Vishwa Guru. A worthy goal indeed. However, the ground-reality is while India is increasingly discarding its own cultural and knowledge systems and our children grow up believing our ancestors were losers until the West civilised us, the West has appropriated and continues to appropriate and commercialise many of our Vidyas — Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation being prominent among them.
Let me be blunt: India cannot be a Vishwa Guru until India becomes a strong global power, to which the world will look up to and is ready to listen to. Without power there is no influence, and without influence, there can be no impact, no respect. Pursuit of power is essential if a country or a civilisation wants to make a difference, wants to bring a change. Unfortunately, this is where India is lacking. India’s leadership lacks the vision, will, and the mindset to pursue power ethically and to aim to make India great again.
Contrast this with China and its Belt and Road Initiative. Much as Chinese methods are questionable bordering on unethical and its strategic goals inimical to Indian interests, we have to concede that they have the vision and the will to become a global power and that is why the world must give its wishes and actions due importance, whether we like it or not.
If India wishes to play a meaningful part in changing global scenarios, India must be willing to enter the global game of thrones and play it to win. To do this, it must develop the mindset of what Hindu texts call: Vijigishu.
Vijigishu means ‘one who is desirous of victory, one who wants to conquer’. It refers to a king or a political leadership which has aspirations to make their country a global power and the vision, competency and willingness to work towards it. It refers to the mindset of leadership which understands power and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve victory. They realise that power by itself is not corrupting and is not an end in itself. Instead power must be used as a means for achieving noble and ethical ends. As the famous verse from Chanakya Sutra which says “The root of happiness if Dharma or performance of ethical duties and the root of Dharma is Artha or power and wealth, and the root of Artha is Rajya or country.” That is, the purpose of the political leadership is to gain power and use power for attaining ethical goals.
The concept of ruler as a Vijigishu is mentioned in many texts including Manusmriti (7.154-159) and Arthashastra (Book 6). In both these texts, Vijigishu is mentioned in the context of Mandala theory.
The Mandala (Circle) theory is a theory of statecraft and foreign policy as conceived by ancient Indian scholars and thinkers of polity to help Vijigishuunderst and the geopolitical game and assist him in real time to play his game and eventually reach his goal of becoming Chakravartin — which could be loosely translated as world conqueror, but more precisely it would be one who has attained domination over his Chakra, the circle of influence. In today’s language, Chakravartin is one who has become the global superpower and established his influence everywhere and Vijigishu is one who aspires to attain this.
The Mandalatheory conceives the world in terms of circles of geo-political friends/allies and foes with Vijigishu and his country at the centre. The Mandala consists of a total of twelve components, of which four are most important: (1) Vijigishuor King bent upon conquest, (2) Ari or the Enemy, (3) Madhyama or the Intermediary and (4) Udasina or the Neutral.
Medatithi, the famous commentator on Manusmriti describes three qualities of Vijigishu in his enunciation of Verse 7.155 of the text. He says Vijigishu is the King who has people on his side, who has made up his mind to conquer a certain part of the world, and is endowed with courage and strength. Kautilya (Book 6, Chapter 2) says Vijigishuis one who, being possessed of good character and best-fitted elements of sovereignty, is the fountain of policy. Thus, the vision and willingness, capability and competency, and the popular mandate — all are necessary for a country to become Vijigishu.
India today is in a unique position. It is being ruled by a party which has a popular mandate. It has capability and competency, which can be further built up wherever necessary. Only thing that needs to be developed now is the vision, willingness, and the deep desire among Indian leadership to take India to the global stage not just economically, but in every sense of the world. From commitment to such vision alone can follow required policy changes and concrete steps to move forward.
The Ari or the geo-political enemy is of three kinds – the natural enemy, the artificial enemy and the neighbouring state — says Vīramitrodaya, a text on Dharma written by Mitrami ra. The natural enemy is one who is equal in status (and power) to the Vijigishu and is thus naturally inclined to be in competition. The artificial or acquired enemy is one which is antagonist to Vijigishu and is bent on creating problems for it. The third is of course the neighbouring state. Pakistan is a good example of a State which is both an artificial enemy as well as the immediate neighbour to India. Post Tibet annexation, China can now be considered to fall into all the three categories. Kautilya says that not every neighbouring state is a geopolitical enemy. Based on the intentions and attitudes of the state towards Vijigishu, the neighbouring state could be hostile, friendly, or subservient.
The Madhyama or the Intermediary is the state which occupies a territory close to both the Vijigishu and its immediate enemy in front and which is capable of helping both, whether united or disunited, or of resisting either of them individually. Nepal can be a good example of Madhyama, though it is no position to resist either India or China.
The Udasina or the Neutralis a state which is situated beyond the territory of Vijigishu, Ari, and Madhyamaand which is very powerful and capable of helping the enemy, the conqueror, and the Madhyama together or individually, or of resisting any of them individually. In the context of South Asian geopolitics, the United States is the Udasina.
These four components form the root of the geopolitical circle. The other eight components are states that are friends and foes of each of the four components of the Mandala and share complex relationships amongst each other. This geo-political circle is dynamic and ever-changing and the Vijigishu is expected to continuously put in efforts to consolidate his position, expand his circle of control and influence, and reduce the power of others in the vicinity.
The ideal of Vijigishu is what ancient Indian rulers aspired for. It was the ideal of Vijigishuthat ancient Indian teachers and thinkers of polity conceptualized as the way forward for political leadership. It was this aspiration that had made India a global power and a world-teacher in the past.
India can again become the Chakravartin and the Vishwa Guru it once was. All it has to do is to start with an aspiration to become a Vijigishu.
Nithin Sridhar is an author, speaker, and a commentator on religion, politics and society. He is editor of IndiaFacts and chief curator of Advaita Academy.
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‘Black Panther’ director considered quitting filmmaking after Chadwick Boseman’s death
‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler has revealed that he considered quitting filmmaking after actor Chadwick Boseman’s demise. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Coogler opened up about it.
“I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business,’” Coogler stated.
“I didn’t know if I could make another movie period [or] another ‘Black Panther’ movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, ‘Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?’”
Boseman died in August 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer.
Coogler also shared that he spent weeks revisiting footage of himself with Boseman, who he saw as a major creative collaborator and champion of “Black Panther.”
Returning to memories of his own relationship with the actor, the filmmaker began to rediscover his passion for the kingdom of Wakanda and its narrative possibilities.
“I was poring over a lot of conversations that we had, towards what I realised was the end of his life,” Coogler continued. “I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”
Coogler has returned to direct Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which follows characters played by returning cast members Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Winston Duke, as they confront the death of Boseman’s King T’Challa.
On Monday, the second trailer of ‘Wakanda Forever’ was released. The film is scheduled to hit theatres on 11 November 2022, in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
A Hindu temple in Muslim heartland of Dubai
A new Hindu temple constructed in Jebel Ali in Dubai opened on Tuesday, one day ahead of the Dussehra festival.
The Khaleej Times reported that the temple is an extension of the Sindhi Guru Darbar Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the UAE.
The temple’s foundation was laid in February 2020, and the inauguration fulfils a decades-long Indian dream of having a place of worship in the area.
The temple, which will be officially open to the public on October 5—the day of the Dussehra festival, welcomes people of all faiths and has allowed entry to worshippers and other visitors to view the 16 deities and other interior works, reported Gulf News.
Welcoming people from all faiths, the temple has already had its soft opening on 1 September 2022, where thousands of visitors were allowed to get a glimpse of the interiors of the temple built with white marble. It has ornate pillars, Arabic and Hindu geometric designs on the facade, and bells on the ceiling.
The temple’s management activated the QR-code-based appointment booking system via its website on its soft opening.
From day one, the temple has received many visitors, especially over the weekends.
The restricted entry has been regulated through QR-coded appointments for crowd management and to ensure social distancing, the report said.
Most of the deities are installed in the main prayer hall, with a large 3D-printed pink lotus unfurling across the central dome.
According to the official temple website, Dubai’s new Hindu temple will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Meet the man spreading joy on Ferris wheel at Lav Kush Ramlila
Bustling noises of cheers and laughter echo on the grounds of Lav Kush Ramlila as the annual festivities of Dussehra make their way onto people’s calendars every year. The past two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were a blow to small-scale businesses and vendors. But this year’s Navaratri has brought back the good old charm of festive love and celebrations.
Among many who spread joy is a man who brings smiles to people’s faces with his merry-go-round and giant ferris wheels.
Known to have been one of the best in business for 40 years, Mohammed Aslam gives the magical touch to Lav Kush Ramlila every year with fun amusement rides.
“I have worked with the Lav Kush Ramlila committee since 1992 and plan to keep working with them because I get a lot of respect here,” said Mohammed Aslam as he expressed his gratitude.
Like many business establishments that suffered at the hands of Covid-19, he emphasised how the pandemic played a spoilsport for his business in the past two years as well. “The past two years, in fact, were quite stressful in terms of business. Not just me, my staffers were also distressed due to the lockdown,” he said.
However, a few minutes later, he exuberantly expressed how well the business is picking up and that he was extremely happy to see Ramlila making a comeback this year.
Mohammed Aslam, a resident of Daryaganj in Delhi, conducts many fairs across the Hindi heartland but says he is happiest during Ramlila because of the joy and brotherhood that the festival binds people with.
Every year, the Lav Kush Ramlila is held at the Lal Qila (Red Fort) and thousands of people gather at the place to eagerly watch the pages of the Ramayana come to life.
Not just that, gorging on amazing street food delicacies, taking an adrenaline-pumping fun ride, and just soaking in the festive mood with loved ones, make it an exciting place for people from all walks of life – age, gender, and religion no bar. This year’s speciality, however, lies in the beauty of the backdrop of the Ram Lila – a replica of the famous Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Talking about the schedule this year, Ramlila began on September 26, and will culminate with a special appearance of ‘Baahubali’ superstar Prabhas on 5 October.
Kanye West bats for ‘White Lives Matter’
Kanye West has hit the headlines yet again. After making his ramp debut at the Balenciaga show at Paris Fashion Week, Kanye staged a surprise Yeezy fashion show on Monday to showcase his season 9 collection.
Before the models arrived, West delivered a speech while sporting the same bejewelled flip-flops he wore last week and a ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt with the Pope’s face on the front.
According to Page Six, he made numerous allusions, including his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s 2016 Paris robbery, his former manager Scooter Braun, his difficulties breaking into the fashion industry, his most recent breakup with Gap, and much more.
“I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader,” he said at one point, referencing his new legal name. “You can’t manage me.”
Page Six reports that Kanye teased the names of famous models who were expected to make an appearance at his show, including Kardashian, ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk, and current flame Candice Swanepoel. He also teased the names of other well-known figures like Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Lauryn Hill, Naomi Campbell, Emily Ratajkowski, Gisele Bundchen, Bella Hadid, and Amelia Gray Hamlin.
However, it appears that only Shayk, Campbell, and Hamlin made an appearance, with the Russian model standing on the sidelines while the other two walked the runway.
The same shirt with ‘White Lives Matter’ inscribed on the back was also worn by some of the models in the show.
Over the past week, West has been attending fashion shows in Paris and London. On Sunday, he even made his runway debut as a model by introducing the Balenciaga show. The star’s trip down the slick runway was watched by Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and their daughter North West from the front row.
5 of the strangest things that have fallen from the sky
What have you seen falling from the sky other than rain or snow? Can you imagine if fish, spiders, or even a strange substance that looked a whole lot like blood started raining down from above? Well, some people around the world certainly can! Here are some of the weirdest things that have ever fallen from the sky.
Can you imagine fishes falling from the sky? It is going to be a weird sight for sure. But there is an explanation for this. In coastal areas, stormy weather can create a waterspout, a tornado-like phenomenon that can suck marine life out of bodies of water like lakes and oceans. The wind will then carry the fish inland, where they’ll come tumbling to the ground. It’s been documented everywhere from Sri Lanka to Australia to Mexico, and as recently as 2017. Sometimes, if the fish are edible, residents of the affected communities will celebrate the “fish rain” as a boon.
Frogs can also become a victim of waterspouts, due to which they fall on the land surprising the people living on the land. Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclides Lembus wrote about instances when so many frogs rained from the sky that “the houses and the roads have been full of them,” and in 2005, residents of Odzaci, Serbia, saw thousands of tiny frogs fall with passing storm clouds. Though sometimes, the lengthy fall will kill the critters, other times, they will hop and amble around their new locality. In Serbia, for instance, villagers reported that the fallen frogs simply hopped away to look for water.
3. Golf Balls
Anyone would be surprised but this has happened in Florida in 1969. Perhaps even weirder, no local golf courses were missing any balls. The reason was never entirely confirmed, but most experts theorized that a waterspout scooped up all of the golf balls that had been hit into the water by errant golfers.
Creepy spiders falling from the sky can make anyone wants to disappear. It happened in 2015 in Australia, and then even more recently in Brazil in 2019. But, unlike the fish and the frogs, the spiders were not yanked from their homes by violent storms. The spider rains result from a process called “ballooning,” where the spiders produce filaments to launch themselves into the air. They do this in an attempt to catch an air current and travel to a new location, and it’s something they do fairly often. So why aren’t spider rains more common, you ask? That’s because it’s very uncommon for huge amounts of spiders to do this at the same time.
The only rain that is pretty is raining money. Raining money has occurred several times throughout history, some of them recently. In 2015, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of United Arab Emirates dirham currency showered over Kuwait City. In Serbia, a plane carrying gold and diamonds spilled some cargo over the airport runway in 2018. Back stateside, Indianapolis experienced a similar phenomenon in 2017 when an electrician noticed around $200 worth of bills blowing off of a roof where he was working.
Centre approves amendments to FM radio guidelines
The “Policy Guidelines on Expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agencies (Phase-III)”, also known as the “Private FM Phase-III Policy Guidelines,” contained three amendments that the cabinet approved on Tuesday in order to allow radio channels to take advantage of economies of scale and enhance ease of doing business.
“The decision was taken in the last Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” ministry of information and broadcasting said in a statement.
The first change is the removal of the 3-year window period for FM radio authorization restructuring within the same management group during the license’s 15-year term.
The government has also agreed to the radio industry’s long-standing demand that the 15% National Cap on Channel Holding be lifted.
These three amendments together will help private FM radio industry to “fully leverage the economies of scale and pave the way for further expansion of FM radio and entertainment to Tier-III cities in the country”. “This will not only create new employment opportunities but also ensure that music and entertainment over the FTA (Free to Air) radio media is available to the common man in the remotest corners of the country,” the ministry said.
According to the statement, “The move will ensure that existing rules are streamlined and rationalised to make government more efficient and effective so that its benefits reach the ordinary man.
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