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Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Echoes at Quad: What it Means & How Modi, Indian Leaders Used it in Past

PM Modi during Quad Summit

PM Modi during Quad Summit

Joined by President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Modi put focus on an age-old philosophy which translates into 'the world is our family'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday invoked the ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam during the historic Quad grouping summit.

The most significant among the deliverables envisaged in the historic summit of leaders of the Quad countries is a coronavirus vaccine initiative that will allow new manufacturing capacity to be added in India for export to the Indo-Pacific region. Addressing the meeting, Modi said, “I see this positive vision as an extension of India’s ancient philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which regards the world as one family. We will work together, closer than ever before for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

Joined by President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Modi put focus on an age-old philosophy which translates into ‘the world is our family’.

What it Means:

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The Sanskrit phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means “the world is one family,” is found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad.

The Sanskrit term Vasudhaiva Kuumbakam is made up of several words: vasudh (‘the earth’),  eva (‘indeed’); and kuumbakam (‘family’).

A mantra often repeated in India’s diplomatic conventions, here is when other Indian leaders have used it:

Rajiv Gandhi: Rajiv Gandhi invoked vasudhaiva kutumbakam to challenge the notions of the first, second, and third worlds, resurrect the concept of “One World,” and propose the nebulous concept of a “Earth Citizen.”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: At a meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum’s national human rights institutions in 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee used the term to argue that “India’s understanding and advocacy of human rights are as universal as they are ancient.”

Manmohan Singh: At the Heiligendamm G8 summit in 2007, Manmohan Singh used the phrase to defend India’s approach to climate change and global warming while acknowledging global responsibility.

Modi in 2014: In his first UN speech in 2014, Narendra Modi used the locution to reaffirm India’s stance Security Council reform and lament the world body’s failure to effectively deal with cross-border terrorism.

Vice President Naidu: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu in 2019 said that ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’ has been the guiding light for the Indian family system since time immemorial and the country’s ethos and socio-cultural fabric are woven around this perceptive phrase. Inaugurating the International Conference of Global Mothers-2019, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam –Family System and Role of Mother”, in New Delhi, Naidu expressed happiness over the theme of the Conference saying that the conference is a celebration of motherhood. “The entire world is indebted to mothers and this is the reason that in all religions and in all parts of the world mothers hold a special position of relevance and reverence”, he had added.

first published:March 12, 2021, 19:43 IST