Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s internal and external image goes up by the month.
How does one assess 2022? In my judgement only by recalling major events.
The Ukraine war began in February 2022, when President Vladimir Putin decided to attack Ukraine. His expectation was that it would be a walkover. He could not have been more wrong.
A popular Ukrainian comedian has become a war hero. The people of Ukraine have shown amazing bravery, patriotic zeal and iron will. The Russian leader has been merciless, inflicting frightful damage all round. It will take at least a decade to rebuild Ukraine.
Climate change is all too visible. From Chicago to Florida, Vancouver to New York, the land mass is six to ten feet under snow. Thousands of flights have been cancelled. Hundreds of passengers are standard at innumerable airports, with shortage of proper shelter, sleeping space, child care and sanitation. Water taps have frozen, any number of towns and localities are without electricity.
In others parts of the world, nature has inflicted the fury of fires and floods. The floodwaters in western Pakistan took agonising weeks to subside. The damage and destruction were unprecedented. In those areas of Pakistan, it seldom rains.
The almost insane and brutal military regime in Myanmar has given 77-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, a 33-year-prison sentence. The words “human rights” are not familiar to the military of what was once a civilized Buddhist country.
The population of the world touched 8 billion in 2022. In the next decade it will cross 9 billion. This will result in a shortage of almost everything except human beings and arms. Imagine a China and an India each with 2.5 billion people. This is not a fairy tale but a horrendous possibility.
The United Nations is dysfunctional. It is helpless in dealing with the atrocities being committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. They misrule a country, while, mentally living in the 18th century. Why does not the Islamic world do something, it possesses both money and might. Pakistan cannot take effective action because hundreds of thousands of Taliban live in the Frontier Province of Pakistan.
If the Taliban rule lasts a decade, a vast number of girls will grow up illiterate.
Most unexpectedly, the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party has chosen a non-white as its leader. This was unthinkable even a decade back.
Rishi Sunak is now Prime Minister. His great grandparents (Indian) migrated from Gujranwala to East Africa. His parents settled down in the UK. The rest is history. Good luck, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Queen Elizabeth, the longest serving British monarch, passed away on September 8 at Balmoral. She became Queen on the death of her father, King George VI on 6 February 1952. Queen Elizabeth II’s regime lasted almost seventy years, seven years more than that of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s internal and external image goes up by the month. He was unanimously elected President of G-20 in Bali a few weeks back.
The G-20 is the richest, most powerful and influential organisation in the world. Shri Modi has his work cut out.
“Ambedkar: A Life” is a splendid book. Shashi Tharoor is that rare politician who can actually write. I have read several biographies of Ambedkar. This is arguably the best.
Ambedkar is undoubtedly the outstanding intellectual, Indian politics has produced. A hundred years ago the life of an untouchable was like living in hell. How he overcame the caste barrier is described by the author with both feeling and genuine sympathy.
In many ways I admire Ambedkar. No one could have written our Constitution in such a masterly way.
I find his references to Gandhiji totally unacceptable. Ambedkar never won an election. Without the generosity of Gandhi and Nehru he would not have got elected to the Rajya Sabha. Gandhi forgot and forgave. Not Ambedkar. Three persons did not condole Gandhiji’s assassination. One was Ambedkar. The other two were Churchill and Stalin.
Gandhi remains a world figure. Ambedkar’s achievements and fame are confined to India, that is Bharat. Was B.R. Ambedkar a great man? Yes, but not greater than Gandhiji.