PERSONALITIES OF INDIA

 

I was recently invited to the ‘Lokarpan’ ceremony of PERSONALITIES OF INDIA – a series of short films on some of the great men and women of India. The series has been directed by Mr. Devendra Khandelwal and Mr. Yakub Sayad.

The event was graced by Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi-Union Minister of minority affairs and Dr. Mohan Bhagwat chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Celebrities from the film industry were also present.

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This is a unique initiative taken by the IIMC- Indian Infotainment Media Corporation, wherein these short films, each about 2 to 3 minutes long, depict the contributions made by some of the great personalities of India. The series comprises of 100 short films aptly presenting the life contributions of 100 such personalities.

What triggered the idea of developing these films was a survey ,which revealed that majority of our younger generation is completely ignorant of even the existence of most of the great personalities . These personalities have played a vital role in shaping the way for an independent and progressive India in diverse ways which include its freedom movement, science, spiritualism, literature, politics and social reforms.

Some of the short films were screened at the event and they were extremely interesting and engaging.

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This initiative of the IIMC and Mr Devendra Khandelwal illustrates in the shortest time possible, the lives of great men and women who have achieved unprecedented success in fields of dance, music, literature, freedom struggle, religion, politics and business.

Dr. Mohan Bhagwat said he believes that when the youth will be introduced to the vigor, zeal and passion of the great achievers of india it will reflect positively on their personality and character as they will develop traits like ‘atmavishwas- selfconfidence’ and it will enlighten them about the glorified principles these great men and women lived by. He said, during the freedom struggle, the masses made an effort, even in the absence of sufficient access to media and technology, to contribute in every way possible to restore the freedom and dignity of india, it is our duty in present times given the liberal access to media and technology to research the lives of these great heroes who gifted us our freedom. He concluded his address to the audience with interesting anecdotes and lauded the efforts of the makers of the series.

Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who has contributed to the concepts and scripts of the short films also shared interesting points about this initiative.

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Mr. Devendra Khandelwal also addressed the audience. He said that most students were aware of only a few personalities of india and the school syllabus didn’t do enough to augment their knowledge, this lack of awareness especially among the youth, motivated him to take this initiative. He realized that an attempt to match this knowledge gap by way of the latest trend- short films, could invoke their interest and achieve the desired purpose. He shared that when the short films were screened for a group of students their first question was “ Are these fictional characters? ”.

I gained a lot of inputs from the event and was lucky to be among the few to catch the first glimpse of the short films. The series is indeed a great source of infotainment.

The life stories of these great personalities who call India their Janmabhumi and Karmabhumi constitute an ocean of inspiration and motivation and we must ensure to hand down this legacy over to coming generations.

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The Current Needs Of The Indian Economy

 

Professor Bhagwati Prakash Sharma was recently invited as a Guest Speaker at a seminar held by Sewa International in Mumbai. Prof. Sharma is an expert on Management and Global Trade Scenario who has been participating and studying the MTAs in the bi-annual ministerial conferences of WTO ever since the launch of Uruguay round of talks for the formation of WTO.

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I attended the seminar to get some insights on ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’.

As per IMF, India is the World’s Third Largest Economy by Purchasing Power Parity and sustains the second largest population in the world (17.8 % of the world population). Though the contribution of the manufacturing sector is currently lower than what is expected to sustain the present population, according to the IBEF the manufacturing sector of India has the potential to reach USD 1trillion by 2025 and India is expected to rank amongst the top 3 growth economies and manufacturing destinations of the world by 2020.

Professor Sharma believes that Innovation and Entrepreneurship in India is an essential step forward in the current economic context.

India uses technologies owned by developed countries hence most of the funds generated in India are spent in the form of Royalties. Therefore, we need to develop our own competent technologies in order to ensure that a higher proportion of the generated funds remains in the domestic economy. Another advantage of developing our technological expertise can mean that we export our technology at a lower price than the developed countries do.

A powerful example Professor shared with the audience was that of Electric Cars with Artificial Intelligence, that will be in high demand in the near future. Countries like China are working effectively towards such innovative breakthroughs. If the Indian economy want to survive this new phase in the automobile industry the need of the hour is to work towards developing the necessary technologies and to ensure effective application of the same at affordable rates, before global giants takeover the market share of the domestic firms and claim majority of domestically generated funds in the form of profits and royalties.

It is also important that the Indian Consumer Realizes the importance of purchasing not only Made In India but Made By India products. This is how the domestic industries will get an incentive to invest in Research and Development and be able to Provide Premium Quality products.

The Current Market scenario with Patanjali dealing in toothpastes and detergents, is an apt example that was shared in the seminar. Patanjali captured a large market share off the market shares of domestic firms dealing in similar products, it had very little impact on the share of Large multinational competitors. This means that the consumers who actually chose Patanjali’s products over their regular preference, were already buyers of domestic products in the first place, there was negligible tilt towards domestic products by the customers of foreign manufacturers. This hampers growth and innovation in domestic industries.

Thus there is a need to Encourage and Nurture startups and entrepreneurial ventures in the current climate of Deglobalization that has commenced with Brexit and changing Economic Policies of United States. India is the 3rd largest startup ecosystem and We need to cope with this changing climate and use it to our advantage.

There are numerous examples of successful startups that Prof. Bhagwati Prakash Sharma shared with us one of them being the the120 employee company with an expected Rs 35 million turnover this year that was started by Rahul Gupta and , AMUL that emerged from a powerful socio-economic movement, which shook the British bureaucracy.

The professor also stressed that though the Farmer’s produce i.e agriculture sector, had a very low contribution in the GDP, farmers are one of the most significant consumer category, since whatever reaches as income to their homes is ‘Spent’ on a number of manufactured products and essential services hence generating demand for the 2 major sectors in our economy namely- Secondary Sector and Tertiary sector. Hence, it is absolutely important to understand the relevance of this category of consumers.

He explained that much of Food Produce is in surplus in many regions and the government is doing what it can by giving the excess of MSP(minimum support price) over the Price (price the produce got sold at in the market) in cash to those farmers who didn’t receive MSP, but it is very important to find new alternatives for example adding value to the surplus produce by generating by-products that could have a substantial demand in the market.

During the round of Question and Answers he made some note worthy points on the concern on effects of growing population on the Indian economy, he emphasized on 3 important points:

  1. Population Policy (Not Population Control)
  2. Quality Of Education
  3. Income

He asserted on the need of an effective population policy. He also said that quality of education is an absolute necessity to ensure that India’s population becomes its strength. For example The No detention till class 8 policy in India ( that was supposed to be similar to every student succeeds act(ESSA)  in the US) ensured that each child will be promoted to the next grade regardless of their semester scores, this he said , could’ve been better implemented if the students were encouraged  to improve their performance and academic record by conducting extra lectures for them as was done under the ESSA in the US. There are a lot of ways through which quality of education can be improved, student involvement increased , and syllabus made more practical and interesting with the joint effort of educational institutions and Academic boards. The number of students in India’s schools and colleges surpasses the populations in many individual countries, one can imagine the kind of potential our country will possess in the presence of quality education. Another point he stressed on was increasing the proportion of the middle income group in the country.

He concluded the session by acknowledging the importance of Angel Funds, Venture Capitals, Entrepreneurship Incubation Centers in India.

It was a highly insightful and interactive seminar that made me appreciate the significance of entrepreneurial ventures and the need of more domestic investors willing to invest in domestic startups. The 3 pillars on which the future of india’s population depends on reflects how this environment of innovation and economic growth can be further developed and sustained.

 

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Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a unique festival in India that has found a place on UNESCO’s Representative List Of Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity. It is the largest peaceful gathering in the world.

The Kumbh Mela is held by rotation at one of the following four Locations in the world:

  1. Haridwar
  2. Allahabad
  3. Nashik
  4. Ujjain

My interest in this unique cultural phenomenon drove me to a Seminar ‘SANSKRITI KUMBH’ held at Iskcon temple Mumbai, organized by Chairman of Essel group and member of rajya sabha  Mr Subhash Chandra Goenka

The seminar was held in the presence of Chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Phadnavis, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Aditya Nath , Mr Subhash Chandra Goenka ,General Secretary of RSS Bhayya Ji Joshi and Subhash Ghai a renowned director and producer in Bollywood.

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Many other celebrities from the Indian film industry were a part of this event including Madhur Bhandarkar, Ronit Roy , Ashok Pandit, Manoj Joshi, Himesh reshmiya, Mika singh , Manoj Tiwari ( also a politician) . Chairman of CBFC Prasoon Joshi and Author Ratan Shardha were also present.

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The seminar started with everyone standing up to India’s national song ‘Vande Mataram’ performed by a renowned artist. Followed by Celebrities like Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Sukhwinder Singh and Manoj Tiwari performing songs of cultural and national importance.

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The mythological and scientific relevance of The Kumbh Mela ,that is being attended by generations for over 3000 thousand years, was presented by means of interesting video skits.

According to the Samudra Manthan Mythology -the Gods (Devas) and the Malevolent Beings (Asuras) were at a war. The Devas sought the advise of Lord Vishnu to help them vanquish the Asuras. Vishnu suggested that Devas must obtain the Nectar of immortality (Amrita) by churning the ocean(samudra) of milk hence the name Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). The devas and asuras agreed to share the amrita after the churning process and used Vasuki a serpent as a churning rope. The devas and asuras pulled back and forth at the churning rope and the mountain that rested on the top of a turtle’s shell(Vishnu took the form of the Kumra turtle) churned the ocean. As soon as the nectar of immortality was produced the devas took it along, leaving the asuras behind, during this process a few drops of the nectar fell into the waters rivers. These are the very places where the kumbha is held and people attend this mela to take a dip in the holy waters at the Kumbh.

There’s a Scientific significance of Kumbh Mela too. At the time of kumbha there is a unique alignment of the planet Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon. The effect of the alignment is on the waters of the river , on the banks of which the kumbha mela is held. Sadhguru featured in a short clipping at the event confirming that Bathing in the waters of the river has a unique positive effect on the Mind and Body of a person and he/she shall even notice a great spiritual progress in oneself.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Goenka, spoke about this 3000 year old practice of attending the Kumbh, an event of bathing in the holy river waters , with around 130 million visitors from various socio-cultural backgrounds, and invited the chief ministers for their words on the same.

Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis in his speech drew a apt image India, a country that has seen many invasions and has yet stood strong due to its foundation of VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM- the whole world is one family. The different religions, castes and cultures in India coexist in harmony due to a positive attitude adopted by Indians and this has been a huge strength for the nation. This ability to manage A large and diverse population is reflected in the age old Kumbh festival, where people from all walks of life are present at one place and at one time in a peaceful environment. He also mentioned that MIT has conducted a study of how wonderfully the crowd was managed at Nashik Kumbh in 2015 where even if a single person was lost he/she was reunited with one’s family by the efficient authorities at kumbh. He invited everyone to Kumbh 2019 at allahbad stating that it is a unique opportunity to be a part of a historic event.

 Chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath was invited next, he in his speech, cleared a lot of Rumors ,that are being spread over the years about the extreme stampede like situations at kumbh, and said that many people are under the false impression that people once lost at kumbh may never reunite with their families. He assured us that Things are very different at Kumbh, though there are millions of visitors, things are organized very well with facilities to stay in well-equipped Tents,  Thousands of lavatories, Hospital facilities, water facilities, adequate crowd control measures and other arrangements. He also spoke about how he believes that the KUMBH MELA commencing in January 2019 will establish new standards of cleanliness and hygiene with No dirt and No flies and No bad smell, inspired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swatch Bharat campaign. The area across which the activities at Kumbha will be held will also be larger this time.

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Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath mentioned that rumors of communal hostility are often generated to discourage people from certain castes and faiths from attending this festival. But this is far from true, the fact is that it is very common for people from different castes and faiths to attend this peaceful congregation of millions. With this he urged his audience to attend and to encourage people both from India and abroad to attend the The Kumbh Mela 2019.

The CM of UP also recommended people attending the Kumbh to visit some places of historic significance very close to Kumbh-Allahabad namely Chitrakoot and kashi.

Another essential point I took home from the seminar was that the kumbh is held for 56 days and It was a practice in earlier times to be present and bath daily in the holy waters during this period. But, due to the fast urban lifestyle it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to be present for such a length away from their workplaces so to obtain benefits of this phenomenon Sadhguru urged people to meditate for 40 days from their places of residence and then bath in the holy waters.

Bhayya Ji Joshi concluded the seminar acknowledging the efforts of CM Yogi Aditya Nath in aiming to make Kumbh 2019 a grand success. He requested everyone to attend this age old cultural congregation and suggested some places nearby of religious and cultural importance that one could visit.

IMG-20180908-WA0073It was in all a fantastic informative and interesting event, as a youth I am now able to appreciate the significance of the Kumbh and intend to attend it, I urge all those who are reading this to attend the largest peaceful gathering of people where there shall be no disease no epidemic and no panic but only gains in the form of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual benefits.

The expected crowd this time at Kumbh shall be 150 million which is equal to the population of UK and Germany put together and all the required facilities will be available for anyone who wishes to be an attendee, expected levels of cleanliness and hygiene will be maintained and Technical support is being developed to assist the police force in effectively managing the movement and saftey of the crowd.

Kumbh 2019 in ALLAHBAD will begin on January 15, 2019 and end on March 4 , 2019.