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The Way to “Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat”

Aatma Nirbhar Bharat

On May 12, 2020, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi delivered a speech. In that he discussed things like a financial package to revive the economy, LockDown 4, but more importantly he gave a mantra of “Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat”. People are either praising PM for announcing the biggest package ever or trolling him for not getting “to the point” quickly. I think that’s where we lose the point of that speech, ignoring important part it. 

“Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat” is the name of the campaign itself, but do we really understand how to conceptualize the word ” Aatma-Nirbhar ” & to carry it out practically? 

An economic study explains that if we redistribute wealth in the whole world, the gap between rich and poor will again be the same after a few years, rather it would be worse. What’s the point of distributing wealth when people don’t know how to retain it? No, but then we would prefer blaming faith, govt, whatsoever outside factor for that, and while they may deserve that, is that all we can do? I mean we are giving importance to the factors which are responsible for 10-15% of our life, rest is our Karma. 

Japan, a country once oppressed by colonizers in mid 19th century, fought back & made its way to the glory in the Meiji revolution. All markets were occupied by the outsiders, but they boycotted everything. Japanese ate one time a day, worked for 12–15 hours but were reluctant on using Japan-made products. Japanese worked hard and are very punctual. They faced natural calamities but regained strength quickly. Before starting with science and social science studies, Japanese students have to go through moral and ethics-related classes in Japan which makes them a high-quality percipient. Though I feel it’s a very crude and formal method of knowing oneself it’s most important to do that at least & should go lifelong. 

China, a country which was living in an early iron age till 1950, tremendously improved its economy in 50 years. It was crushed by Japan while executing the ‘Tanaka’ project (2nd Sino Japan war) & by other outside forces before. They had a lot of unskilled labor. The economy was highly dependent on agriculture and trades of raw goods. The first thing they did was to train these laborers & after that these laborers paid off the states in every sector, be it automobile, electronic goods, medical sciences, textile industries. All the industries were in sync. 

Though this is not the best thing one can do, there are many things to learn from these examples. To summarize, they didn’t just work to get appraisals but to compete with the global market in terms of products and services. Neither they preferred working with the leisure and luxuries outside nor they gave up looking at the financial situation of their country. They found out where the challenges are and dealt with them passionately, with higher conscience they aimed at better things. That’s where they found the meaning of life. 

That’s why conceptualizing the “Aatma-Nirbhar” term is necessary I feel. 

To conceptualize it, PM very briefly referred to ‘Shastras’, the highest source of wisdom India. To be practical, he talked about India’s previous achievements no matter who’s in charge at that time, be it winning over TB, polio, or be it dealing with Y2K programming bug but who’s credit is that? Health and technology experts. ‘We, the people of India’. Even this speech has contributions from his advisors. 

Although till now we talked in terms of nation-building, in the case of countries like japan, china, or the US, understanding of ‘self’ is limited to a ‘nation’. But in fact, quest of understanding ‘self’ or what we call ‘aatman’ is adventurous than anything you can ever imagine. That’s where we come to the most important point of that speech where our PM talks about ‘world peace’. Because one who knows the real meaning of ‘self’ would realize that there are no boundaries, identities in which ‘self’ or ‘aatman’ can be contained. 

But somewhere we are busy standing in the long queues ahead liquor shops satisfying our physical needs or busy blaming, abusing, each other on social media satisfying our ego instead of doing some constructive criticism.  

We need to think about our understanding. Is our ego = “aatman”(Self)? or our physical needs are our “aatman”? or passion and compassion with which we work is our “aatman”? to understand what’s Aatma-Nirbharata. 

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