Imagine a vessel, its sails billowing with the winds of change, navigating a tempestuous ocean. This is the image that captures India's journey in S. Jaishankar's latest book, "Why Bharat Matters." It's a story of a nation rising, drawing strength from its ancient wisdom while embracing the future with open arms.
Jaishankar, India's seasoned diplomat and current External Affairs Minister, paints a vivid picture of a world brimming with challenges. From the lingering shadows of Covid to the thunderous drums of geopolitical conflict, from the searing deserts of West Asia to the icy Himalayas, uncertainty reigns supreme. In this volatile landscape, India seeks to chart its own course, navigating "stormy seas" without losing sight of its ultimate goal: becoming a leading power.
But this is not just any rise to power. It's a rise fuelled by the essence of what Jaishankar calls "Bharat" – the India rooted in its deep cultural heritage, its vibrant democracy, and its unwavering optimism. It's an India that seeks not just its own success, but also the well-being of the "Vishwa Mitra" – the Global South. In a world where inequality and injustice cast long shadows, India, under Jaishankar's vision, stands ready to be a beacon of hope.
The book is not merely a grand narrative; it's a tapestry woven with personal anecdotes and historical insights. Jaishankar draws from his vast diplomatic experience, weaving together encounters with world leaders and reflections on India's unique position in the global arena. He reminds us that while stability might be the coveted prize for other rising powers, India must rise amidst "serious unpredictability." This, he argues, is the true test of its resilience and its civilizational spirit.
"Why Bharat Matters" is not just for scholars and policymakers. It's a book for every Indian, urging them to understand the intricate dance between foreign policy and their daily lives. In a globalized world, the lines between the domestic and the international are increasingly blurred. The decisions made in distant capitals have a tangible impact on our lives, from the price of goods to the security of our streets. Jaishankar empowers us, the citizens, to understand this interconnectedness and actively engage in shaping our nation's foreign policy.
The book offers no easy answers. It doesn't shy away from the complexities of India's internal struggles, the challenges it faces in its relationships with powerful nations, or the ethical dilemmas that accompany its rise. But amidst the ambiguity, Jaishankar offers a message of hope and unwavering faith in India's potential. He paints a picture of an "Amrit Kaal" – an era of golden prosperity where India, true to its "Bharat" essence, navigates the turbulent seas with strength, grace, and a commitment to the greater good.
"Why Bharat Matters" is a call to action, a clarion cry for every Indian to embrace the responsibility that comes with being part of a rising nation. It's a book that will provoke thought, ignite debates, and ultimately, leave you with a renewed sense of pride and purpose as you witness India's voyage through the stormy seas of the 21st century.
So, climb aboard, unfurl your sails, and join S. Jaishankar on this thought-provoking voyage through the heart of a nation rediscovering its ancient spirit and charting its course towards a bright future. For in the end, as Jaishankar reminds us, India matters because it is Bharat – a unique symphony of tradition and progress, a powerful force for good in a world desperately seeking a brighter dawn.
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