The existence of a powerful, virtuous and organised society based on the distict axiom of ‘Swa’ of the nation is the fundamental and essential prerequisite of national well-being. That identity is Hindu identity that teaches us to respect all, accept all, unite all, and do good to all.
– Dr Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
On the backdrop of Navaratri and celebrating the festival of victory of good over evil, Vijayadashami, Bharat had a victorious moment on the international forum. India was elected to United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the main body of UN charged with promoting and monitoring human rights for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2019. This victory is massive by any standards as in this secret ballot election held in 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA), India secured 188 votes in Asia-Pacific category, the highest number of votes among all candidates.
The election to UNHRC has an added significance as through this very same body, the previous UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein argued for facilitating an international commission of enquiry into allegations of human rights violation in Jammu & Kashmir. Bharat successfully asserted itself as a democracy, both political and religious, and the global community accepted this.
Thus, the victory march of Bharat at various international bodies continues. Bharat proposed the International Day for Yoga, and was accepted unanimously. Aniruddha Rajput, the Bharatiya Nominee, was elected to the International Law Commission while Neeru Chadha won the crucial election to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, becoming the first Indian woman appointed as a judge at the tribunal for a nine-year term in 2017. For the first time in the history of International Court of Justice (ICJ), a UNSC Permanent Member, that also the United Kingdom, lost through voting with Bharat getting the support of 183 countries in the United Nations General Assembly.
Bharat proposed the idea of International Solar Alliance, which was not just overwhelmingly accepted, but for this contribution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was recognised with the ‘Champions of The Earth Award’ jointly with Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. What is that special Bharat is doing that it is showing great success in International diplomacy, including that of isolating Pakistan as an epicentre of terrorism? Is it just growing economic might and swelling consumer market for the global players? Is it just about the leadership of Prime Minister Modi? There is something beyond this.
Perhaps the answer lies in the assertion of Bharat based on its ‘swa’ (self), the same ‘self’ Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has referred to in his recent Vijayadashami Speech. Bharat is proudly projecting itself as an ancient civilisation while subtly denying the Western parameters of assessing domestic condition within. Yoga, Thathagat Buddha or Sanskrit are not just matters of cultural tools but constitute effective soft-power mechanisms in diplomacy. Bharat is striving hard to make Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations. Bharatiya outfits, including Khadi, has been branded internationally and proudly worn by leaders and representatives while representing the nation. All these initiatives look small but have a great impact while projecting Bharat as Bharat.
If we want to address our problems domestically, then the similar assertion of ‘self’ is imperative in our systems of governance. Though the ‘family’ with women as the centre has acquired the key position in devising and delivering the prominent social security schemes, like Ayushman Bharat or Ujjwala Yojana, the economic thinking is still just growth-oriented based on western parameters. Though global technological pace has to be matched with the time, our rural artisans and agriculture need a new kind of support and encouragement. The entire idea of cooperative sector needs a new momentum to make it a 2.0 movement. Our educational and legal thinking needs new Bharatiya rigour.
Time and again we resolve at the time of Vijayadashami to ensure Vishwaguru status for Bharat, for the same societal energies should be galvanised on Bharatiya values. Only ‘self’ confident Bharat can dream of guiding others. The world is ready to accept us, are we ready to project our own ‘self’ in practice, is the real question.