As the world ushers in a new decade, India’s global image has undergone a gradual change to present to the world a more resolute, mature and proactive diplomatic front. India has achieved tremendous progress – be it digitising governance processes, moving towards a USD five-trillion economy or providing basic sanitation to all its citizens. But through the years, our traditions, culture and artistic heritage have remained relevant and govern our lifestyle even today.
In a world where distances are increasingly becoming shorter, the Sanskrit phrase, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) is a defining factor for India’s multilateral diplomatic initiatives. We look at the Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference which has emerged as an innovative initiative to address the most challenging issues facing the global community and how it helps project a firm and pragmatic image of India, a country ready to take part in defining the global governance architecture.
Starting a busy schedule of diplomatic engagements, India played host to the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who was also the chief guest for the 71st Republic Day celebrations. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa also visited New Delhi on his maiden overseas visit as the PM, followed by the visits of the Vice President of Vietnam Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, to New Delhi. The highlight of course was the visit of the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, to India and the grand reception at the ‘Namaste Trump’ event in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The US President also visited the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra followed by extensive bilateral discussions in New Delhi.
With sustainable development and climate change coming to the forefront of all our policies, we travel to Auroville in Puducherry to witness first hand, the successful day-to-day affairs of a natural and sustainable Utopian society. We then visit ancient step wells across India in an effort to understand the age-old water conservation techniques that can inspire efforts to boost ground water levels across Indian cities.
The unprecedented transformation that India has seen also involves reinvention of some of our most prevalent traditions. Take for example, block printing techniques from Sanganer and Bagru in Rajasthan, that were designed according to the geographical conditions of the arid Thar desert. While in Rajasthan, we also visit the Manganiyar community, known for pleasing the gods with percussion instruments resembling thunderclaps. We then journey across the country to understand how alternative music in India is taking its inspiration from folk traditions that have always been defined by the environs in which they were practiced.
We then look at how sports biopics in mainstream Hindi cinema have changed the general outlook towards sporting heroes whose achievements bought pride and honour not only to themselves but to the entire nation. Finally, on Martyr’s Day that falls on January 30, we remember the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi and understand the relevance of his teachings in a rapidly changing global scenario.