Let’s take ‘Panch Pran’

As we head into 2023, it’s time to make New Year Resolutions, and what better resolutions than the ‘Panch Pran’ or the five pledges which PM Modi has called for to usher in fresh optimism

On Independence Day this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for moving forward with ‘Panch Pran’ or five pledges to fulfil the vision of a developed India in the centenary years of its Independence. Speaking from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi, PM Modi said we have to take ‘Panch Pran’: first, move forward with bigger resolves and resolve for a ‘developed’ India; second, remove all traces of colonial mindset; third, take pride in our roots; fourth, the strength of our unity; and fifth, sense of duty among the citizens which include the PM and the CMs. Modi said when dreams are big, hard work is important; it needs to be inspired by the pledge and determination of freedom fighters who dreamt of a free India.

India will celebrate 100 years of Independence in 2047 and PM Modi has given a vision for the next 25 years: India should regain its stature of the ‘Vishwaguru’. I say regain because India was Vishwaguru before invaders started coming to India around 1200 CE to plunder the country’s wealth and knowledge. European colonial powers such as the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British continued this loot but also deprived us of our rich legacy. They rewrote our history to claim credit for everything. Suddenly, it appeared that everything that we have and everything that we learnt was given by the Bronze Age civilizations – Egypt, Sumer, Babylonians, Romans and Greeks. We were made to believe that Sumer civilization, the modern-day Iraq, gave us astronomy and mathematics. We were given the Aryan invasion theory. We were told that the Mughals, especially Akbar, were great rulers. Our history books were full of the exploits of the Mayans, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians but had no mention of the Vedic Bharat.

It is this Bharat that we need to marvel at as per the third ‘pran’ of taking pride in our roots.

The invaders, whether it was the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals or the Europeans, were interested in not only the country’s wealth but also wanted to take away our knowledge. They destroyed our books and thrust theirs on us. They translated – often poorly – our literature and made us feel tiny.

As India stands at 75th year of its Independence, it appears to be the best time to take these five pledges to regain the stature of Vishwaguru and world’s richest nation. Historians regard Akbar’s Empire as the richest on earth. Where did he accumulate the wealth from? Did his Mongolian ancestors bring it from Central Asia? No. It was all Indian wealth. Imagine India was so rich that invasion after invasion failed to decimate us. But when the British Raj began, they assiduously took away everything, leaving India a poor country when it got Independence in 1947.

As we resolve for a developed India in the next 25 years, it is heartening to note that financial institutions have voiced optimism about the Indian economy’s performance this fiscal year. When the rest of the world is teetering due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent recession, India could see a growth of 6.9%. Earlier this week, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), one of the reputed consultancies of UK, said that India now seems unstoppable in its momentum to become the third economic superpower. It forecasts that India will become a $10-trillion economy by 2035, much before the centenary celebration of Independence.

India has already removed several vestiges of the colonial legacy. The Rajpath, previously named as Kingsway to mark King George V’s visit to Delhi Durbar in 1911, is now called the Kartavya Path. Statue of King George V at India Gate has now been replaced by a massive statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The Prime Minister’s residence, earlier called the Race Course Road, is now Lok Kalyan Marg. The red-coloured St George’s Cross has been removed from the Indian Navy’s flag; the royal seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj now adorns the new Navy ensign. Prayer song, Abide with Me…’, is no longer part of the Beating Retreat ceremony after the Republic Day celebrations. Famous song by poet Pradeep, Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon, has replaced it. Central Vista Avenue in a concerted effort to realise the dreams of a new and self-reliant India, which is eager to break free from the symbols of slavery.

The G20 presidency gives India an opportunity to set the global agenda and be in the limelight – at least for a year – and leapfrog from here into the orbit in which PM Modi wants the country to get into with the five pledges.

Let these five pledges be our resolutions for 2023. Happy New Year!

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