India’s G-20 Presidency

Published By : Admin | December 1, 2022 | 09:00 IST

Today, India commences its G20 Presidency.

The previous 17 Presidencies of the G20 delivered significant results - for ensuring macro-economic stability, rationalising international taxation, relieving debt-burden on countries, among many other outcomes. We will benefit from these achievements, and build further upon them.


However, as India assumes this important mantle, I ask myself - can the G20 go further still? Can we catalyse a fundamental mindset shift, to benefit humanity as a whole?

I believe we can.

Our mindsets are shaped by our circumstances. Through all of history, humanity lived in scarcity. We fought for limited resources, because our survival depended on denying them to others. Confrontation and competition - between ideas, ideologies and identities - became the norm.

Unfortunately, we remain trapped in the same zero-sum mindset even today. We see it when countries fight over territory or resources. We see it when supplies of essential goods are weaponised. We see it when vaccines are hoarded by a few, even as billions remain vulnerable.

Some may argue that confrontation and greed are just human nature. I disagree. If humans were inherently selfish, what would explain the lasting appeal of so many spiritual traditions that advocate the fundamental one-ness of us all?

One such tradition, popular in India, sees all living beings, and even inanimate things, as composed of the same five basic elements – the panch tatva of earth, water, fire, air and space. Harmony among these elements - within us and between us - is essential for our physical, social and environmental well-being.


India's G20 Presidency will work to promote this universal sense of one-ness. Hence our theme - 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'.


This is not just a slogan. It takes into account recent changes in human circumstances, which we have collectively failed to appreciate.


Today, we have the means to produce enough to meet the basic needs of all people in the world.


Today, we do not need to fight for our survival - our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one!

 


Today, the greatest challenges we face - climate change, terrorism, and pandemics - can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together.

Fortunately, today's technology also gives us the means to address problems on a humanity-wide scale. The massive virtual worlds that we inhabit today demonstrate the scalability of digital technologies.


Housing one-sixth of humanity, and with its immense diversity of languages, religions, customs and beliefs, India is a microcosm of the world.


With the oldest-known traditions of collective decision-making, India contributes to the foundational DNA of democracy. As the mother of democracy, India's national consensus is forged not by diktat, but by blending millions of free voices into one harmonious melody.

Today, India is the fastest growing large economy. Our citizen-centric governance model takes care of even our most marginalised citizens, while nurturing the creative genius of our talented youth.


We have tried to make national development not an exercise in top-down governance, but rather a citizen-led 'people's movement'.


We have leveraged technology to create digital public goods that are open, inclusive and inter-operable. These have delivered revolutionary progress in fields as varied as social protection, financial inclusion, and electronic payments.

For all these reasons, India's experiences can provide insights for possible global solutions.

During our G20 Presidency, we shall present India's experiences, learnings and models as possible templates for others, particularly the developing world.

Our G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just our G20 partners, but also our fellow-travellers in the global South, whose voice often goes unheard.


Our priorities will focus on healing our 'One Earth', creating harmony within our 'One Family' and giving hope for our 'One Future'.

For healing our planet, we will encourage sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyles, based on India's tradition of trusteeship towards nature.

For promoting harmony within the human family, we will seek to depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilizers and medical products, so that geo-political tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises. As in our own families, those whose needs are the greatest must always be our first concern.

For imbuing hope in our future generations, we will encourage an honest conversation among the most powerful countries - on mitigating risks posed by weapons of mass destruction and enhancing global security.

 


India’s G20 agenda will be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive.

 


Let us join together to make India's G20 Presidency a Presidency of healing, harmony and hope.

Let us work together to shape a new paradigm - of human-centric globalisation.

 

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Tribute to Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj
March 29, 2024

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the grand festival of Lok Sabha elections, the news of the demise of Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj brought my mind to a standstill for a few moments. Srimat Swami Smaranananda Ji Maharaj was a pioneer of India's spiritual consciousness and his demise is like a personal loss. A few years ago, the demise of Swami Atmasthananda Ji and now the departure of Swami Smaranananda Ji on his eternal journey has left many people bereaved. My heart, like that of crores of devotees, saints and followers of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, is deeply saddened.

During my visit to Kolkata earlier this month, I had gone to the hospital to enquire about Swami Smaranananda Ji’s health. Just like Swami Atmasthananda Ji, Swami Smaranananda Ji too dedicated his entire life for spreading the ideas of Acharya Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Mata Sharada Devi and Swami Vivekananda across the world. While writing this article, the memories of meetings and conversations with him are getting refreshed in my mind.

In January 2020, during my stay at Belur Math, I meditated in the room of Swami Vivekananda. During that visit, I had a long conversation about Swami Atmasthananda Ji with Swami Smaranananda Ji.

It is widely known that I had a close relationship with Ramakrishna Mission and Belur Math. As a seeker of spirituality, I have met different saints and mahatmas and been to many places over the period of more than five decades. Even in Ramakrishna Math, I got to know about the saints who dedicated their lives to spirituality, among whom personalities like Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji were prominent. Their sacred thoughts and knowledge provided contentment to my mind. In the most important period of my life, such saints taught me the true principle of Jan Seva hi Prabhu Seva.

The lives of Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji are an indelible example of the motto of Ramakrishna Mission ‘Atmano Mokshaartham Jagaddhitaaya Cha’.

We all are inspired by the work being done by Ramakrishna Mission for the promotion of education and rural development. Ramakrishna Mission is working on India's spiritual enlightenment, educational empowerment and humanitarian service. In 1978, when the disastrous flood struck Bengal, Ramakrishna Mission won the hearts of everyone with its selfless service. I remember, when an earthquake ravaged Kutch in 2001, Swami Atmasthananda Ji was among the first people to call me and offer all possible assistance for disaster management on behalf of the Ramakrishna Mission. Under his direction, Ramakrishna Mission helped many people who were affected by the earthquake.

Over the past years, while holding various positions, Swami Atmasthananda Ji and Swami Smaranananda Ji laid great emphasis on social empowerment. Those who know the lives of these great personalities will definitely remember how serious these saints were towards modern education, skilling and women empowerment.

Among his many inspiring traits, one thing that impressed me the most was Swami Atmasthananda Ji’s love and respect for every culture and every tradition. The reason for this was that he used to travel continuously and had spent a long time in different parts of India. He learned to speak Gujarati while living in Gujarat. He used to even speak with me in the language and I loved listening to his Gujarati!

At different points in India's development journey, our motherland has been blessed by many saints and seers like Swami Atmasthananda Ji, Swami Smaranananda Ji who have ignited the spark of societal change. They have motivated us to work with a collective spirit and address all the challenges our society faces. These principles are eternal and will act as our source of strength as we embark on developing a Viksit Bharat during the Amrit Kaal.
Once again, on behalf of the entire nation, I pay homage to such saintly souls. I am confident that all the people associated with the Ramakrishna Mission will further move ahead on the path shown by them.
Om Shanti.