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Different and unusual: EAM Jaishankar recalls his first encounter with PM Modi happened in China

Author: Anjali Ankad
Publication: Newsbharati.com
Date: May 11, 2022
URL:      https://www.newsbharati.com/Encyc/2022/5/11/Jaishankar-recalls-his-first-encounter-with-PM-Modi-happened-in-China.html

Jaishankar said that PM Modi has really led a foreign policy that is much more security-focused, he has practiced diplomacy which is more development-focused
     
Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery book was launched today by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and EAM Dr. S Jaishankar. The book 'Modi @20: Dreams Meeting Delivery', is an anthology about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Jaishankar was the first one to give remarks at the event. He started off by sharing his first encounter with PM Narendra Modi when the EAM was Ambassador in China and PM Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He has termed the encounter as "different and unusual".

"Perhaps, the right starting point for my remarks today would be my first encounter with PM Narendra Modi". He said that his first encounter with PM Modi Ji occurred 10-11 years ago. It took place in November 2011 when he was Ambassador in China, adding Narendra Modi, at that time, was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Jaishankar said that PM Modi was visiting China as several CMs were visiting there and the Indian embassy in China was used to CMs traveling to the neighboring country. But, he termed that Modi visiting China was "different". He said, "it was very different because he arrived after midnight. He wanted his first briefing at 7 in the morning. He ran a 12-hour day with half an hour lunch break. And he proceeded to cover three cities in just 4 days." He asserted that currently "this schedule is the Standard Operating Procedure for all of us but at that time, it was a discovery. It wasn't just a grueling schedule which I recall".

He said that PM Modi did something "unusual" as a Chief Minister. "He asked me to brief him on our security posture vis-à-vis with China. At that time, we were having problems. Some of you may recall- stapled visas, border, map projections, and terrorism. The point he made was - I may be Chief Minister of Gujarat but I am a citizen of India. But, when I go outside, I will not be millimeter different from what is our national stance," he recalled.

Further, Jaishankar said, "The second was - typically Chief Ministers come to promote their states but he was worried about the economic imbalance between India and China. And the third recollection I have is 11 years ago, we had some Indian citizens. They happened to be jewelers from Gujarat who were imprisoned in China at that time. And he was very concerned about getting them released. Now I remember those three aspects because in a way they were my first outline of what his thinking was about foreign policy."

"And today when I look at what is the difference he has made, he has really led a foreign policy which is much more security-focused, he has practiced diplomacy which is more development-focused. He has created people-centric policies in foreign policy."

 

Further, the Vice President of India released the book 'Modi @20: Dreams Meeting Delivery. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a leader who demonstrated to the world that dreams can indeed be realized.

 

-Anjali Ankad has completed graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication and Masters in Journalism. While working as a sub-editor to Newsbharati, she aims to make her hand robust on sports.
 
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Author: Alka Dhupkar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 2, 2022
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/loudspeaker-lessons-for-india-from-a-maharashtra-village/articleshow/91259002.cms

The villagers of Barad have passed a resolution to stop the use of loudspeakers

Barad shows that strong-arm tactics are not needed to curb noise pollution; a simple matter of sitting across a table and discussing can do wonders

Barad is a biggish village in Nanded district of Maharashtra with a population of around 15,000. It is roughly 20km from Nanded city. Over time, the village has prospered and places of worship, among other buildings, have been renovated.

The village has 15 religious places — 12 Hindu temples and a place of worship each for Buddhist, Jain and Muslim communities. In some neighbourhoods, these religious places are in close proximity. No problem there.

It was only when these places started using loudspeakers to broadcast sermons, aartis and bhajans that the problem started. It became a veritable Tower of Babel — all noise and confusion.

“Since five in the morning, we used to play songs. In some places, one couldn’t hear the other’s songs or for that matter what was played in our temple,” says Suresh Deshmukh, a trustee of the local Hanuman temple.

For days on end, farmer Sharad Kawle’s 80-year-old grandmother couldn’t get a peaceful night’s sleep because of the rampant use of loudspeakers in the village.

But all this is in the past now. In charged times like these, Barad stands out as a model of communal harmony. Back in 2018, the villagers unanimously decided to remove loudspeakers from all religious places.

So, what happened in 2018?

According to deputy sarpanch Balasaheb Shankarao Deshmukh, sometime in December 2017, a Ganesh temple was using loudspeakers to broadcast maha aarti and a Buddha vihar nearby was playing religious songs. This went on till late at night.

“Groups from both sides started raising voices against each other, asking that the volume be lowered. Harmony in the village was completely disturbed,” he says. “Somehow we managed to cool tempers, but the tension simmered.”

But this wasn’t the only incident. A local school kept complaining about noise pollution to the Shiva temple trust and others in their area. The students couldn’t concentrate on studies because there was a kind of competition in using loudspeakers till late night and early mornings among all the religions.

The villagers were fed up. Some of them met after the tension escalated between Buddha and Ganpati followers. During a meeting with the local police, they discussed the proposal of removing all loudspeakers.

Thereafter, the villagers held a meeting with all the religious groups separately. Everybody accepted that the use of loudspeakers was a cause for concern and social discord. The religious trusts said if it was mandatory for all religious groups then they would also stop using loudspeakers.

After the consultations, a special gram sabha was called and a unanimous resolution was passed.

The villagers agreed to use sound boxes instead of loudspeakers. The only caveat: the volume of the sound box should be maintained at a pre-mandated level so the sound does not go beyond the walls of the holy place.

The gram panchayat has already installed around 40 small sound boxes for local announcements such as deaths, vaccination or other government programmes.

After the noise, peace

Yogesh Ratnparakhi, who runs Om Sai Coaching Classes in Barad, says, “In my centre, there are around 100 students and I can’t tell you how happy we all are that the loudspeakers have finally stopped. Earlier, students would use unending noise as an excuse not to study. Now, they properly focus on studies.”

Kiran Mahajan, a trustee of Chandra Prabhu Digambar Jain temple, says, “Ours is a private temple that is open to the public. We too had installed a loudspeaker because others installed it too. But after the removal of loudspeakers, we didn’t lose any devotees. Loudspeakers actually don’t matter.”

Sharad Kawle, the farmer, says, “Many of us in this village are followers of the Varkari bhakti movement. I believe that your religious activity should not disturb others. Keep it personal, so we all supported this proposal.”

His views are echoed by Sardar Sattar Khan Pathan of Jama Masjid in Barad. “We respect festivals of all communities. The kind of communal harmony we have maintained would not have been possible with loudspeakers at each religious place in the village.”

According to Vasant Lalme, a trustee of the Shiva temple, loudspeakers are not essential for singing bhajans or kirtans. “Devotion is a very personal feeling. It can be attained without loudspeakers. We have proved it.”

Model village

Deputy sarpanch Deshmukh, however, is disappointed that his village has not been given due recognition for the innovative solution to the menace of unchecked loudspeakers. The village doesn’t encourage the use of loudspeakers even for political rallies, weddings or other celebrations.

In other ways, too, Barad can be touted as a model village. It has received state awards for cleanliness and drinking water distribution management, open defecation-free status, success of ‘tanta mukti’ yojana (a scheme to clear local disputes at the village level) and other achievements.

The village has 20 CCTV cameras, which have helped curb theft, sexual harassment and other crimes. The village has developed a proper watershed system; a dormitory near a rural hospital is a unique feature of the village. It has also built a hostel for girl students, it has a zilla parishad school, multiple anganwadis, among other facilities.

As the noise over the use of loudspeakers at religious places grows louder and various state governments are using strong-arm tactics, perhaps it is Barad’s use of consultation that stands out more than its other achievements.