China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Hello Doston!!

Today’s article is concerned with a Geo-Political topic  which is currently a buzz in world of diplomacy. Its a bit lengthy as compared  to my general write ups, but the gravity of the subject prompted me to write long. Hope you would enjoy reading.

In past quarter century, if one thing which has  caught the imagination of the world, it would surely be the phenomenal rise of China. For almost 30 years double digit growth, China’s incremental jump in the economic dimension has reshaped the world order and now we are moving towards a multi-polar world, where America or Russia is not the sole dominant power.

With the rise of China comes its desire to influence the world order. There are several tools to influence it. Such as by showing technological advancement, increasing the influence on other countries, by enhancing the infrastructural aspects, by increasing trade with other nations etc. So in 2013, its president came up with an ambitious project called One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which China claims that it is one of the most ambitious project of 21st century and it is having potential to reshape the world.

Recently China has organized a summit called Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), in which high level participants from more than 120 countries arrived, including nearly 30 head of the states. India was a conspicuous absentee, even though China, on multiple occasions, requested India to be a participant of this initiative. Since we are witnessing a potential watershed event in the world history, hence I thought of bringing some details about it.

What is Belt and Road Initiative?

This initiative is brought to fore by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. From the inspiration of Old Silk Route, Belt and Road Initiative or One Belt One Road initiative is a connectivity project which aims to connect  mainland China to the parts of Asia, Europe and some parts of Africa as well. There are 60 countries through which this project will run. China is willing to finance these infrastructural project as a loan to the host nation. Once these areas will be connected, a whole new wave of globalization can emerge. It will have a positive impact on trade, commerce, integration of economy, cultural connectivity, integration of the least connected area, increasing the living standards of millions etc.

BRI
Red Line Indicates the Land Connectivity, where as Blue Line Indicates Maritime connectivity. Image Credit: Internet

 

This initiative is having two limbs; one is connecting the Land Area through rail and road and the other is maritime connectivity by building ports and supplementary infrastructures.

Land connectivity scheme is known as Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime connectivity project is known as 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Plausible intentions of China Behind this project:

  1. By implementing this, China will emerge as a dominant player in the world order as this project will cover the 63% of the world population, 30% of the current world GDP, and 35% of the trade happens in these area.
  2. China has vast cash reserve in Renminbi (Chinese currency) which is equivalent to US $ 21 trillion approx twice its GDP. So by financing these infrastructural projects these cash deposits, which is presently lying ideal, can bring revenues through interests. It will also help in internationalization of its currency.
  3. China is having strategic leverage over manufacturing sector, so by integrating the Eurasian regions it will enhance its market where it can sell its product.
  4. It can win few allies, which it lacks as compare to its rival US by financing infrastructure.
  5. It will have a strategic and military advantage as compare to US, which also sees these regions very significant in terms of Geo Politics.
  6. It will help China to bring its least developed Western Provinces in direct contact with the other nations through infrastructure, which in turn, will benefit its balanced regional growth.

India did not take part in this initiative, which is criticized by many both at home and in China. They argue, India which is struggling in infrastructures should have embraced Chinese proposal as it will help via financing. By remaining out India is secluding itself from the new world order which is emerging. It will have a deleterious impact in the  to its economy in long term. The Indian subcontinent which is least integrated can get an impetus from the Chinese sponsored scheme and will be win-win situation for all.

However, Indian government firmly articulated its reservations to this project.

India’s concerns:

  • Infringing Sovereignty: One part of the project, China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through Gilgit Baltistan, which lies in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, amd claimed by India. Since it is a disputed region and China did not had a deliberations with India with this respect, India thinks it as a infringement on its sovereignty.
  • Since the details of the project are not in the public domain, India is skeptic about it.
  • India does not see it as a mere economic initiative, as nearly 30,000 security personnel will be deployed to protect the infrastructure. Hence it sees a threat to its security.
  • India sees the high interest rates to finance the project as a Chinese “web trap”.
  • Along with this the assessment of project cost is not transparent, in the absence of transparency India is unwilling to be a part of this project.
  • China recently has behaved as an obstructionists in two cases which was concerned with India one in NSG and other in declaring Jash-e-Mohamed leader Mashod Azhar as a terrorists. So India gave the Chinese the taste of its own medicine. And gave a strong signal that India is not going to be an easy ride if its concerned is ignored.

Conclusion: In my view India rightly opted out from the Belt and Road Initiative as infringement upon sovereignty is a very serious concern. Along with this the benefit which China tries to put is not as clear as of the investment. But India should work in the field of regional connectivity firstly by focusing on its internal infrastructure and then after the infrastructure of the South East region.

 

मधुराष्टकम्/ Madhurashtkam

नमस्ते मित्रों !

गीत या काव्य अभिव्यक्ति की वह विधा है जिसमें लेखक या कवि विषय भाव के सागर में डूब कर अमूल्य मोती बाहर ले आता है! जो चीजें दिखती हैं, उसके बारे में लिखना आसान होता है, परन्तु मैं यह सोचने पर विवश हो जाता हूँ कि कोई व्यक्ति भगवान कि विषय में इतना कैसे डूब जाता है कि वह उत्कृष्ट रचनाओं का सृजन सुगमता से मार्मिकता के साथ करने में सक्षम होता है.
आज मैं आप सब के समक्ष श्रीपाद वल्लभाचार्य द्वारा रचित भगवान श्री कृष्ण को समर्पित एक गीत या भजन को प्रस्तुत कर रहा हूँ. वल्लभाचार्य 15 वीं शताब्ती के भक्ति मार्ग के आचार्य थे और प्रसिद्ध शासक राजा कृष्णदेव राय के समवर्ती थे.
किसी भी गीत का life cycle कितना हों सकता है, इस विषय पर हम यदि सोचे तो अलग अलग उत्तर मिलेगा, पर यह भजन 500 साल से ज़्यादा प्राचीन है और अब भी प्रचलित है, इसकी महत्ता बताने के लिए काफी है
हो सकता है आप में से कईयों ने इसको सुना या पढ़ा हो, पर जो व्यक्ति इससे वंचित रह गए हों, उनके लिए यह आनंद का श्रोत हो सकता है.
इस भजन का नाम “मधुराष्टकम” है. मधुर मतलब मीठा और अष्टकम मतलब इसमें आठ छंद या stanza हैं. इसमें भगवान के विभिन्न पहलुओं का वर्णन किया गया है.

मूलतः यह रचना संस्कृत में है, पर जो व्यक्ति हिंदी समझ सकते हैं उनको अधिकांश शब्दों के अर्थ आसानी से समझ आ जायेंगे, और जिन शब्दों के अर्थ समझ न आये उसके लिए उन्हें थोड़ा परिश्रम करना होगा. Internet पर आसानी से अर्थ मिल जायेंगे, और शायद से Wikipedia पर भी इसका अर्थ है . इस भजन को कई प्रसिद्ध गायकों ने स्वर दिया है परन्तु मुझे Pandit Jasraj और  M.S. Subbulakshmi की आवाज़ में यह रचना काफी अच्छी लगती है. आप भी आंनद ले सकते हैं

मधुराष्टकम्

अधरं मधुरं वदनं मधुरं
नयनं मधुरं हसितं मधुरम् ।
हृदयं मधुरं गमनं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ १ ॥

वचनं मधुरं चरितं मधुरं
वसनं मधुरं वलितं मधुरम् ।
चलितं मधुरं भ्रमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ २ ॥

वेणु-र्मधुरो रेणु-र्मधुरः
पाणि-र्मधुरः पादौ मधुरौ ।
नृत्यं मधुरं सख्यं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ३ ॥

गीतं मधुरं पीतं मधुरं
भुक्तं मधुरं सुप्तं मधुरम् ।
रूपं मधुरं तिलकं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ४ ॥

करणं मधुरं तरणं मधुरं
हरणं मधुरं स्मरणं मधुरम् ।
वमितं मधुरं शमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ५ ॥

गुंजा मधुरा माला मधुरा
यमुना मधुरा वीची मधुरा ।
सलिलं मधुरं कमलं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ६ ॥

गोपी मधुरा लीला मधुरा
युक्तं मधुरं मुक्तं मधुरम् ।
दृष्टं मधुरं शिष्टं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ७ ॥

गोपा मधुरा गावो मधुरा
यष्टि र्मधुरा सृष्टि र्मधुरा ।
दलितं मधुरं फलितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ८ ॥

 

Disclaimer: Publishers of the above videos reserves all rights

Kasturi Tilkam

Recently I came across a very beautiful Bhajan on Lord Krishna on YouTube. It is in Sanskrit and Pandit Jasraj Ji has given his melodious voice to it.  Although, I knew this Bhajan even before listening it on YouTube, but I knew it as in the form a Verse/Slokas.

In this verse the physical appearance of Lord Krishna is glorified. Although to glorify  the absolute qualities of Lord is beyond capacity of Individual, yet devotees have the legacy to describe Him according to ones realization.

Even without having knowledge of Indian classical music, I consider it very rich than compare to the current trends of Indian Bollywood music. Now a days songs, though they are famous among youth, lack poetic sense, doesn’t have meaning and instruments preoccupy the songs rather than the voice of singer.

In my view,there are some reasons behind the less popularity of classical music among youth as they are unaware of the intricacies of various aspects of it . Apart from this many classical songs, which finds its origin in Sanskrit, are difficult to discern. In the absence of the meaning of songs, people find it tough to retain and enjoy the real hidden beauty. And it is obvious that if we are not able to understand, than it is impossible to appreciate.

So for this Bhajan, I did some research and found multiple sources where the translations as well as meaning of the words were given. I am sharing the meaning of the each words as well as the translation of the verse.

I am also sharing a Link of this Bhajan, which is on YouTube. This Bhajan is part of an album Govind Damodar Madhveti. Each and Every song is a bliss.  Plug in your Ear Phone to get the better sound effect and clarity.

कस्तूरीतिलकं ललाटपटले वक्षःस्थले कौस्तुभं

नासाग्रे नवमौक्तिकं करतले वेणुं करे कङ्कणम् 

सर्वाङ्गे हरिचन्दनं सुललितं कण्ठे  मुक्तावलिं

गोपस्त्री परिवेष्टितो विजयते गोपाल चूडामणिः 


Kasturi-Tilakam Lalaatta-Pattale Vakssah-Sthale Kaustubham

Naasa-Agre Nava-Mauktikam Karatale Vennum Kare Kangkannam

Sarva-Angge Haricandanam Sulalitam Kanntthe Cha Muktaavalim

Gopa-Strii Parivessttito Vijayate Gopaala Chuddaamannih

Meaning:
1: Obeisance to Gopala Who is adorned with the Sacred Marks of Kasturi (Musk) on His Forehead and Kaustubha Jewel on His Chest,
2: His Nose is decorated with a new Shining Pearl, the Palms of His Hands are gently holding a Flute, the Hands themselves are beautifully decorated with Bracelets,
3: His Whole Body is Smeared with Sandal Paste, as if Playfully anointed, and His Neck is decorated with a Necklace of Pearls,
4: Surrounded by the Cowherd Woman, Gopala is Shining in their middle in Celebration like a Jewel on the Head.

Meaning of the Words:

कस्तूरीतिलकं (Kastuurii-Tilakam): Marks of Kasturi [Musk] ,

ललाटपटले (Lalaatta-Pattale): On the Surface of Forehead

वक्षःस्थले (Vakssah-Sthale): On the Chest

कौस्तुभं (Kaustubham): Kaustubha Mani obtained during Samudra Manthana

नासाग्रे (Naasa-Agre): On the Nose

नवमौक्तिकं (Nava-mauktikam): New Shining Pearl

करतले (Karatale): On the Palm of the Hand

वेणुं (Vennum): Flute

करे (Kare): On the Hand

कङ्कणम् (Kangkannam): Bracelet

सर्वाङ्गे (Sarva-Angge): Whole Body

हरिचन्दनं (Haricandanam): Yellow Sandal Paste

सुललितं (Sulalitam): Playful, Wanton, Charming

कण्ठे (Kanntthe): On the Neck

च (Ca): And

मुक्तावलिं (Muktaavalim): Pearl of Necklace

गोपस्त्री (Gopa-Strii): Cowherd Woman 1

परिवेष्टितो (Parivessttito): Surrounded by

विजयते (Vijayate): in Victory, Celebration

गोपाल (Gopaala): Gopala, another name of Sri Krishna

चूडामणिः (Cuuddaamannih): The Best or Most Exalted literally meaning the Jewel worn on the Head

Credits: YouTube Link: Dharmaraksha

               Meaning and Translation: Multiple sources, with special mention Greenmesg.org

 

नाव में छेद / Hole in the boat

At many occasions, I have experienced and also heard from different people that they are willing to move forward, yet they find it difficult in doing so due to some past failure, some memories which remains only in imagination, some unpleasant happenings in their life etc etc.

These impediments just work as a drag in their forward march. Yesterday I was discussing this subject with one of my friend. In doing so, few lines came to me and I am presenting it in public domain for your scrutiny and contemplation. I have termed the topic as “Hole in the Boat”. Do let me know your views.. 🙂

 

नाव में छेद 

धारा के विपरीत जाने से
न मैं कभी घबराता हूँ
हवा के वेग और दिशा को भी
चपलता से मैं भांप जाता हूँ

मुझे कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता कि
हैआज सिंधु कितनी वीरान 
या आगे मेरा बाट जोहता
 है कोई समुद्री तूफ़ान

पर मुझे बस एक बात का डर है
एक बात की खेद है
मेरी नाव को जर्जर करती
इसमें एक छोटी सी छेद है

मैं जितनी तेजी से पतवार चलता हूँ
उतनी ही तेजी से इसमें जल भर आती है
फिर मेरी आधी शक्ति और समय भी
इसे खाली करने में लग जाती है

मैं यात्रा में कुछ दूर ही जा पाता हूँ
फिर वापस प्रस्थान बिंदु पर आता हूँ
अपनी यात्रा फिर से शुरू करने को
मैं विवश हो जाता हूँ

………अभय ……..