Vasudhaiva kutumbakam. The world is one family. When everyone was looking inward and focusing on self-preservation, one man rose above the ordinary and displayed true leadership. That while dealing with one’s own problems, one must also lend a helping hand to the neighbour. May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.” Lokah samastah sukhinobhavantu. May all the beings of all worlds be happy. This is not just an eons-old prayer. This is the philosophy of India. This is the core of being an Indian. Sadly we are as a nation and as a people removed from this spirit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doing his bit to try and steer us as a nation to this core ethos. And from this stems the ability to lead, the ability to show karuna, or empathy.
In the spotlight since he became chief minister of Gujarat, Modi was thrown his first challenge when calamity struck his state with the earthquake in 2001. The rehabilitation and development work undertaken has had a lasting effect in changing the face of the Kutch region. Even back then, Modi had extended help and assistance to the neighbouring regions.
From then on—be it the 2011 earthquake in the Northeast and eastern India, the 2013 floods in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal, the 2014 earthquake in Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan, or the 2015 floods in southern India—at every instance, Narendra Modi, as CM or PM, has put his hand up first and made a difference. Others have followed suit eventually, but Modi has always gone beyond lip service. Also, it's important to remember that while he may have extended a helping hand to a neighbour, like with the Maldives during a water crisis or Nepal during floods and quake, he has always ensured that India and Indians remain a priority.
Even with COVID-19 outbreak, India under PM Modi was the first to start the evacuation process from China. While other nations dithered, Modi ensured India acted. Reports suggest that the government flew down special medical teams to Iran to screen and extend medical aid to Indians there before bringing them back home as Tehran, which is reeling under sanctions and unable to care for its own, refused to extend any help. More than 6,000 Indian nationals are stuck in Iran which includes 800 pilgrims from Kargil and 400 students from Kashmir. Iran is helping but India is shouldering the evacuation effort. So far 1,444 stranded Indians have been pulled out: 766 from China, 389 from Iran, 218 from Italy and 124 from Japan.
India under PM Modi has also helped evacuate people from other countries—36 foreign nationals were evacuated from Wuhan itself. While everyone was scrambling to prepare internally to fight the novel coronavirus, Modi, despite the gargantuan responsibility of 130 crore Indians, reached out to the SAARC nations to help coordinate and plan better for the entire region. That is leadership. That is remembering who we are as a people. That is honouring our culture, where even when the world is going into lockdown mode, India keeps a window open to help. What we need to do as a nation is remember who we are. Do our bit to help PM Modi and his team fight COVID-19. Let us collectively shoulder the responsibility. It is easy to point fingers, but tough to pitch in. Let the rule of law come down hard upon those that shirk or forget their Fundamental Duties while clinging onto their ‘perceived’ Rights. Let us drop the quibble and cooperate. Let us show to the PM that we are worthy of his leadership and also raise the bar for the standards he needs to meet.
Lokashema (global welfare): this is the Idea of India.
Svastiprajabhyaḥ paripala, nyayena margeṇa mahim mahisaḥ.
Gobrahmaṇebhyaḥ subhamastu nityam, lokaḥ samastaḥ sukhinobhavantu.
May the well-being of all people be protected by the powerful, and mighty leaders be with law and justice.
May good success be with all divinity and scholars, and may all the worlds become happy.