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Think global, talk global

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In a globalised era, Indian leaders are increasingly being called upon to speak at International fora. This makes it imperative for our politicians to orient themselves and articulate their views with a global perspective.

While addressing international fora, it is a good practice to speak on subjects of global relevance. Tactless display of nationalism could end up alienating the audience and obliging leaders from other countries to do the same. That way, everybody will end up blowing his or her own trumpet rather than allowing others to appreciate. For example, if an Indian leader keeps harping on how great and rich the Indian culture is, it might trigger a competitive nationalism and pre-empt others from genuinely praising India.

Say for example, a German leader or a British leader comes to India and talks only about greatness of their country, the Indian audience will feel a disconnect and wouldn’t be able to appreciate the leader’s point of view. In the same way, if an Indian leader goes abroad and talks only about Bharatiyata, it will alienate the audience there. Instead of endearing them to India, such overt display of nationalism can prove to be counterproductive.

As much as a leader needs to have a pan-India agenda to be nationally relevant, our leaders need to take a global perspective while addressing an international audience. There is a vital need for creating a sense of connectedness with people of other nationalities and culture, which is seriously lacking. We have seen how a leader who talks only about his or her state often fails to make an impact at the national scene. Even while highlighting the “ideas of India”, it should be placed in a global perspective. This calls for an expanded consciousness where one feels he or she is a truly global citizen. Expressing the spirit of nationalism was in order when colonisation and oppression were prevalent. While patriotism and nationalism are positive qualities, its overt expression portrays one’s life in a limited context and limits the opportunities for connecting to the ancient and universal ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

Often people ask whether patriotism contradicts universalism. I feel it does not. Though the excessive display of patriotism will definitely obscure one’s universality, the concepts of ekatmata, vishwatmata are not in conflict with rashtreeyata. Rashtrabhakti and Vishwaprem do not contradict each other but their skilful expression is required.

It is strange but true that when the consciousness expands, the bonding with the world grows and dispassion dawns at the same time.


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