Living Will

171012 Living Will

The dictionary defines a living will as “a written statement detailing a person’s desires regarding future medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, especially an advance directive”

The debate on the living will and the connected issues of euthanasia seem to surface at regular intervals only to be debated and then “put to bed” as a topic to be discussed later, as if the logic or the need of the affected families will change to a more acceptable narrative. Passive euthanasia was accepted as a legitimate option to end the lives of those in a permanent vegetative state more than six years ago in India.

The Supreme Court, on 10 October 2017 decided to examine the concept of a living will. The Government says it is yet to examine the pros and cons of the living will because it feels that given India’s cultural, religious and legal systems, this matter of the living will is very complex. Therefore, like so many previous Governments, this one too believes that taking an “ostrich like” approach on this subject is best suited for today’s reality.

While the best legal luminaries will examine and debate the pros and cons and hopefully, arrive at an answer for all those families who do not have the financial means to continue to support their loved ones, let us examine the concept of a living will from an emotional perspective given our cultural and religious realities. Further, the family members have to bear huge medical costs. In addition, they have to pay significant legal costs as well to try and get approval from our already overburdened courts.

When a family member goes into a coma families lose most of their savings and in several cases have to sell off their assets to sustain this life sustaining treatment. They recognize that there is no hope for their loved one but the social stigma of not providing medical support drives them to financial destruction. Would the unwell patient, young or old, want the family members to spend all their savings and sell their assets? There will be thousands of examples of unethical chemists outside Government owned medical colleges who focus on how to acquire the property of these relatives in return for the much needed but futile medication for the patients. In addition to the financial drain, we should also look at the significant time commitment of members of the family as well as emotional impact on the affected family members.

If a set of doctors certify that, a person is unlikely to recover and come out of a coma, should this not be acceptable to release the person from suffering and the family from financial ruin?

While we debate the merits of a living will, we should also look at a living will document as a set of instructions that we would like to leave behind for our loved ones. For the benefit of our legal luminaries and our Government, we can also define our living will as our “Advance Directive for Healthcare and Appointment of Healthcare Representative.” This document comes into force in the event one of us has a terminal or incurable injury or illness or if one of us is permanently unconscious, as certified by two physicians.

We added our Advance Directive for Healthcare and Appointment of Healthcare Representative document to our regular will and sent a copy of the document to our sons for their knowledge and record.

This document authorizes members of our family to become our healthcare representative and outlines the following points:

  1. Most Indian families do not address the matter of death with their elders. This is considered a taboo. Therefore, when a person passes away, no one knows how the last rites should be performed. How those who are to be cremated, family members are now aware whether the cremation should happen using the traditional wood pyre or the electric crematorium. A living will can define how I wish to be cremated and what I want done with my ashes.
  1. Organ and eye donation is gaining acceptance in our country. Donation forms are signed but a communication is not made to families. More often than not, relatives of the deceased do not know and therefore do not take timely action. A living will can define these instructions carefully.
  1. This document can also define the source of funds to meet medical expenses. IT can clearly state that our savings and wealth is used instead of burdening family members.

It is important to take quick decisions on the matter of living wills and embody these conditions into a legislation. While it is easy to delay decision making under the excuse of “misuse and abuse” lawmakers need to look at those families suffering under the crushing financial and emotional burden of a sick relative. The law must focus on managing abuse of the system rather than the system itself. Care should be taken so that undue powers of sanction and approval are not given to bureaucrats or judiciary who can make this into yet another power center to the detriment of the suffering families.

Yes, miracles do happen. A miracle is defined as “an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency”.

But what is the cost of waiting for such miracles?


The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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What ails our Temples of Health? Gorakhpur Medical College.

170822 Hospitals

The deaths of children on account of the Japanese Encephalitis Virus at the Gorakhpur Medical College is completely unacceptable and I share the anguish of every citizen of our country on these man made errors.

But as always happens, it is only a matter of time before our activist press members will find something new to cover, our politicians will get busy with new challenges and our doctors, who are responsible for these deaths every year will breathe a sigh of relief as the spotlight will shift from them.

Japanese Encephalitis is an infection of the brain caused by the mosquito borne Japanese encephalitis virus. This virus makes its annual appearance during the period July – September months in Gorakhpur district and neighbourhood areas. The fatalities in the last few years are as follows:

  1. 2012: 557
  2. 2013: 650.
  3. 2014: 525
  4. 2015: 491
  5. 2016: 641
  6. 2017: 100, so far

What is important for the authorities is to ensure that they must not allow the deaths of these children to become an annual affair that needs to be justified and shouted about for a short period of time because it gets attention and it gets media coverage, only to go back to status quo ante when the noise recedes. Proactive steps need to be taken from vaccination to cleanliness to substantial improvement of the facilities and infrastructure at these government owned medical institutions.

It is time for us to take stock of the state of our medical colleges not just in Gorakhpur or the state of Uttar Pradesh but in the entire country. Have we ever wondered why it is always the poor who suffer because they are the only people who have to seek medical help in government owned medical colleges, civil hospitals or primary health centres?

Has a journalist ever made a surprise visit to any of these hospitals and seen the pathetic state of the hospitals and even the Intensive Care units? They would be shocked to see that it is quite common to experience a big shortage of ICU beds and to see patients lying on the floor with their relatives holding up the drip connected to their bodies because there is no equipment even to hold the bottle of saline or the bag of blood.

In addition to the unsanitary conditions in our temples of health, it is quite common to see stray dogs, monkeys and rats everywhere in the hospital.

Have we looked at the pathetic state of waiting areas for patients in government owned medical colleges? In summer, patients sit in the intense heat with no provision of water. In monsoons, there is no covered area outside and in winter, they have to brave the bone chilling winter of North India. Patients come from villages spread hundreds of kilometers around the medical colleges and they have no idea how long they may have to wait to get an appointment. At the same time have we seen how easily it is for VIP’s to not only get immediate attention and the best medicines but also the best rooms while everyone else is struggling to find a place on the floor in the hospital to sit or to lie down?

Government doctors are happily operating their private practices from their homes and no one bothers to enforce the rule that government doctors are not permitted to have a private practice. In several states there is a new term called “propaganda medicine” that has evolved over a period of time. There are specialist doctors in several medical colleges who have now taken control of the entire value chain from prescription to purchase. These doctors write the prescription, manufacture the medicines that they prescribe in partnership with someone and they have even set up a chemist shop where these medicines are exclusively available.

Have we looked at the availability of medicines in Government hospitals, which under most state laws are supposed to be given free of charge to people in the economically weaker sections of society? These medicines are supplied to these medical college shops by the Government and are prescribed by the doctors. More often than not, these medicines are not available. It is the norm that when a poor patient takes the prescription to the shop, he is told that medicines are out of stock. In the same breath, the pharmacist at the store tells the patient that he should walk across the road and go to the private chemist on the other side of the road where all these medicines are easily available, albeit at a cost.

Where are the medicines that were procured by the Government and supplied to these medical colleges? Why are they not available in the hospital stores? Has anyone bothered to investigate this or is this news not “breaking” enough for people to sit up and take notice?

In order to prevent theft and re-sale of government procured medicines, a simple solution is available. All medicines procured by the government for distribution free of charge should be packaged not in a silver strip but in a black foil strip with the medicine name and ingredients printed clearly across the strip in red. The medicine strips should also clearly state that these medicines are distributed free of charge and if anyone is found to be selling these medicines severe and exemplary action will be taken. This is a very simple solution to solve the problem but may not be economically beneficial to the procurement officials.

The poor face challenges all the time. There are chemists who have shops outside medical colleges and they specialise in supply of medicines for illnesses where a patient is unlikely to recover such as cancer. These chemists sit with a lawyer who specialises in land title deeds and they take away the land of the poor people in exchange for medicines that the patient needs. Can there really be any other trade worse than this?

We need some serious introspection on the condition of all government owned health institutions in our country and the service they provide for the poor and the masses of our nation for whom they were really setup. Governments come and governments go. Some lip-sync their concerns and sympathy a little more than the others but most of them have done nothing after seven decades of our independence.

Only when we start going to the grass root of the problems will we be able to start fixing the institutions of health that serve the people.  Accountability has to be sought and discipline must be enforced. Otherwise every year there will be an outbreak of encephalitis and every year we will express our shock only to forget about the outbreak till the next epidemic strikes.

It is impossible to get anything done overnight but a beginning has to be made.


The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  •  Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
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उभर रहा है बाघ, गिर रहा है ड्रैगन

170707 India China Map

विश्व को धमकाने वाला दबाव में है और उसे यह पसंद नहीं है।

राष्ट्रपति शी जिनपिंग को विशाल चीनी सेना और पॉलिट ब्यूरो द्वारा उन्हें व्यापक शक्तियाँ देते हुए उनका शक्तिशाली माओ और डेन्ग के साथ, चीन के तीन “कोर” नेताओं में से एक ने अभिषेक किया है। विश्व राजनीति की प्रमुख तालिका के केंद्र से राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प ने गद्दी खाली करवाना शुरू कर दी है, जैसे कि वह अमेरिका पर ध्यान केंद्रित करता है, चीन को पीछे छोड़ते हुए, ताकि चीन यह मान सके कि वे इस गद्दी के प्राकृतिक उत्तराधिकारी हैं और इसलिए विश्व के नेता हैं।

चीनी प्रवक्ताओं या उनका राज्य चलाने वाले माध्यमों ने दलाई लामा से मिलने वाले दुनिया के हर “दुस्साहसी” वाले नेता को धमकी दी है। वे ऐसे किसी को भी पसंद नहीं करते जो ताईवान के साथ व्यापार करने की कोशिश करता है। हांगकांग की 20 वीं वर्षगांठ पर राष्ट्रपति शी की हालिया धमकी, “लाल रेखा को पार नहीं करना”, खतरे का इशारा कर रही थी लेकिन हांगकांग निवासी जानते थे कि परिणाम क्या होगा और इसलिए उन्होंने उसे, चुपचाप स्वीकार कर लिया। चीन ने दक्षिण चीन के समुद्र में अपनी सैन्य शक्ति का प्रदर्शन किया है और उन द्वीपों पर दावा किया है जो उससे संबंधित नहीं हैं। वे सही मायने में यह मानते हैं कि जो कुछ भी उन्हें पसंद नहीं है उनके पास उन सबके खिलाफ विरोध करने का अधिकार है, लेकिन वे अपने कार्यों के खिलाफ किसी भी किस्म के विरोध को स्वीकार करना नहीं चाहते हैं।

चीन ने यह सब बिना इसकी चिंता किए किया कि दूसरों को क्या महसूस हो सकता है। लेकिन अब ये धमकियाँ खोखली लगने लगी है। तेजस्वी तलवार लहराती और थकी हुई लग रही है।

“या तो आप हमारे साथ हैं या हमारे खिलाफ हैं” चीन ने इस नीति को अपनाया और पिछले दो दशकों में अधिकांश देशों, ने इस बड़े बाजार के साथ व्यापार करने की उत्सुकता दर्शाई या उनके निवेश पाने की कामना की, और उदासीन चुप्पी ओढ़े हुए उसका अनुपालन किया है।

लेकिन चीन के साथ सब ठीक नहीं है। चीनी अर्थव्यवस्था, अपने नेताओं और उनके प्रवक्ताओं के अहंकार के कारण, स्प्ष्टर और नाटकीय रूप से धीमी हो रही है। श्रमिक अस्थिरता हर जगह है, जो या तो मजदूरी न मिल पाने से, रिकॉर्ड संख्या में छंटनी या पर्याप्त नई नौकरियाँ पैदा नहीं होने से हो रहा है। आबादी की उम्र बढ़ रही है और अक्सर यह कहा जाता है कि, चीन समृद्ध होने से पहले, बूढ़ा हो जाएगा।

देश पर कर्ज 25.6 खरब डॉलर (एक खरब , 1000 अरब डॉलर के बराबर) है जो सकल घरेलू उत्पाद के 250% तक बढ़ गया है, जिस पर अधिकांश अर्थशास्त्रियों ने चिंताजनक आवाज़ उठाई है कि यह एक एक आसन्न बुलबुला है जो कभी भी फट सकता है और कर्ज की सूनामी तरंगों को दुनिया भर में महसूस किया जाने वाला है। सरकारी आँकड़ों के आधार पर बेरोजगारी 4% पर आँकी गई है, माना जा रहा है कि फाथॉम परामर्श का आँकड़ा इससे कम से कम तीन गुना अधिक होगा। विदेशी मुद्रा भंडार सन् 2014 की शुरुआत में 4 खरब डॉलर से घटकर सन् 2017 में यूएस $ 3 खरब से कुछ अधिक ही रह गया है। कोई नहीं पूछ रहा कि इन तीन सालों में 1 खरब डॉलर कहाँ खर्च हो गए। विदेशी मुद्रा भंडार 2014 के शुरुआती 4 खरब डॉलर से घटाकर 2017 में 3 खरब डॉलर के पार हो गया है।

चीन को 7.4% की न्यूनतम वृद्धि दर की आवश्यकता है ताकि यह सुनिश्चित हो सके कि चीनी नागरिक लाभप्रद रूप से कार्यरत हैं। एक पारभासीय समाज में, जहाँ वित्तीय संख्याएँ संदिग्ध होती हैं और आँकड़े अपने हिसाब से “प्रबंधित” होते हैं, कोई भी नहीं जानता कि चीन में सही स्थिति क्या है, और हर कोई अटकलें लगा रहा है। विशाल ढाँचागत संरचनाओं की परियोजनाएँ  बेकार पड़ी  हैं और शहरों को भूतों के शहर की तरह देखा जा सकता है।

दुनिया भर में चीनी निवेश गंभीर चुनौतियों से जूझ रहे हैं। श्रीलंका के बंदरगाह श्रीलंका के लिए एक वित्तीय आपदा है और चीन 80% इक्विटी ले रहा है और इसलिए नौसैनिक आधार स्थापित करने का अवसर खोल दिया है। केन्या में पुल टूट रहे हैं और अफ्रीका में बुनियादी ढाँचागत परियोजनाएँ या तो उप मानक की हैं या निर्धारित समय से पीछे चल रही हैं। पाकिस्तानियों ने चीनी-पाकिस्तानी के आर्थिक आर्थिक गलियारे पर सवाल दागे हैं क्योंकि उन्हें यह लगने लगा है कि चीन ने जिन नौकरियों का वादा किया था, उन्हें हटा दिया है और जिन ऊर्जा संयंत्रों का वादा किया था, वे  वास्तव में चीन के वापरे हुए पुराने ताप विद्युत संयंत्र हैं। अब पाकिस्तानियों को डर है कि कहीं वे चीन का ही कोई दूसरा प्रांत न बन जाएँगे, लेकिन वे डटा हुए हैं क्योंकि उन्हें लगता है चीन के रूप में उनके पास केवल वही “सभी मौसम मित्र” है।

राजनीतिक मोर्चे पर, संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका के साथ चीन के प्रेम संबंध खत्म हो गए हैं। राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प ने ताइवान को हथियार बेचे हैं, चीन की स्व-घोषित “एक चीन नीति” का उल्लंघन किया है और उसने चीन की खोखली धमकियों को सुनने से इनकार कर दिया है। अगर वह आगे बढ़ता है और चीनी उत्पादों पर शुल्क लगाता है, तो चीन की प्रसिद्ध मिठाई की दुकानें गोते लगाने लगेंगी। दक्षिण पूर्व एशियाई देश, जो चीन की वित्तीय शक्ति से अभिभूत थे, अब चीन की धमकी को समझने लगे हैं और वे चीन के तथाकथित बड़े पैमाने को पीछे धकेलने से पहले कोई और बाजार खोजने की उम्मीद कर रहे हैं।

भारत में जो कुछ हो रहा है, इसके विपरीत है, भारत की जनसंख्या का दो तिहाई 35 वर्ष से कम आयु का है। भारतीयों के पास अब एक मजबूत लोकतांत्रिक ढंग से निर्वाचित नेता है जिसकी लोकप्रियता लगातार बढ़ रही है।

प्रधान मंत्री मोदी ने संसद में बहुमत से जीत हासिल की है और कुछ राज्यों के चुनावों को छोड़कर, व्यापक संख्या से लगातार जीत दर्ज की है। उन्होंने भारत के कुछ तेजतर्रार पड़ोसियों के साथ बहुत सावधानी से मुश्किल निर्णय लेने में संकोच नहीं किया है। पाकिस्तान के खिलाफ उनका कड़ा रुख और भारत के सर्जिकल हमलों को सम्मान के साथ स्वीकार किया गया है।

चीनी एक संकोची भारतीय नेतृत्व के आदी हैं, जो आम तौर पर पीठ पर होते चीनी आघातों के खिलाफ मध्य मार्ग लेने की कोशिश करता है। भूतान सीमा पर डॉकलाम में हाल ही में चीनी घुसपैठ और चीन की बयानबाजी के बावजूद मोदी की पीछे हटने की अनिच्छा ने उन्हें भारत और भारत के बाहर दोनों स्थानों पर और भी अधिक प्रशंसकों की जीत हासिल करवाई है। चीनी, जिस तरह से हर जगह अपने लिए रास्ता बनाते थे, अनिश्चित हैं और अर्थहीन खतरे खड़े कर रहे हैं।

भारत में विदेशी प्रत्यक्ष निवेश अब तक के समय का सर्वाधिक है। विमुद्रीकरण और जीएसटी की शुरुआत ने सत्तारूढ़ दल को मजबूत बना दिया है। स्टॉक बाज़ार अब तक के समय के उच्चतम पर है। अब भारतीय अर्थव्यवस्था दुनिया में सबसे तेज़ी से बढ़ने वाली है और कम से कम अगले दशक तक यह गति जारी रखेगी। और, प्रधान मंत्री मोदी की यह तो शुरुआत है। सन् 2019 के संसदीय चुनावों में वे अपनी पार्टी को आसानी से भारी बहुमत से दिलवा देंगे।

पिछले तीन सालों में मोदी की चक्रवात कूटनीति ने उनके लिए कई मित्रों और प्रशंसकों को जीता है। अपने चीनी समकक्ष के विपरीत, मोदी जानते हैं कि धनी भारतीय प्रवासी से कैसे जुड़ना है। दुनिया भर के विरोधी समूहों को संतुलित करने की उनकी क्षमता ने भारत के बाहर भारतीय व्यवसायों के लिए और भारत में विदेशी व्यापार के लिए आर्थिक अवसर खोल दिए हैं। संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिका और इज़राइल के साथ मजबूत बंधन भारत को केवल अधिक निवेश पाने में ही मदद नहीं करेंगे बल्कि हमारी पहले से ही मजबूत रक्षा क्षमता को भी मजबूत करने में मदद करेंगे।

अस्सी के शुरुआती तीन दशक चीन के थे। सन् 2014 से शुरू अगले तीन दशक, निश्चित रूप से भारत के हैं, अब दुनिया में एक शक्तिशाली के रूप में स्वीकार किए जाने की शुरुआत है।

चीन अपने कदमों को पीछे लेना पसंद नहीं करता है, लेकिन क्या विश्व को वास्तव में उसकी परवाह है?


लेखक गार्डियन फार्मेसीज के संस्थापक अध्यक्ष हैं. वे बेस्ट सेलर पुस्तकों रीबूट– Reboot. रीइंवेन्ट Reinvent. रीवाईर Rewire: 21वीं सदी में सेवानिवृत्ति का प्रबंधन, Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; कॉर्नर ऑफ़िस, The Corner Office; एन आई फ़ार एन आई An Eye for an Eye; बक स्टॉप्स हीयर– The Buck Stops Here – लर्निंग ऑफ़ # स्टार्टअप आंतरप्रेनर और Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and बक स्टॉप्स हीयरमाय जर्नी फ़्राम मैनेजर टू ऐन आंतरप्रेनर, The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur. के लेखक हैं.

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Rising Tiger Falling Dragon

170707 India China Map

The World’s bully is under pressure and it does not like it.

President Xi Jinping has been anointed one of the three “core” leaders of China along with strongmen Mao and Deng giving him sweeping powers over the vast Chinese Army and the politburo. President Trump has started to vacate the seat at the centre of the head table of World politics as he focuses on America leaving China to assume that they are the natural successors to this seat and therefore the leader of the World.

The Chinese spokespersons or their state run mediums threaten every world leader who has the “audacity” to meet Dalai Lama. They do not like anyone who tries to do business with Taiwan. President Xi’s recent threat on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong of “not crossing the red line” was alarming but Hong Kong residents, knowing the consequences, silently accepted it. China has exhibited its military power in the South China Seas and has claimed islands that do not belong to it. They genuinely believe they have the right to protest against anything they do not like but they are not willing to accept any protests against their actions.

China has done it all with absolutely no concern for what others may feel. But these threats are now beginning to sound hollow. The sabre rattling is sounding scratchy and tired.

“Either you are with us or against us” is the policy followed by China and for the past two decades most countries, eager to do business with this large market or keen to get their investments, have complied in stoic silence.

But all is not right with China. The Chinese economy, the reason for the arrogance of its leaders and its spokespersons, is slowing down noticeably and dramatically. Labour unrests are growing everywhere either because of unpaid wages, layoffs in record numbers or because sufficient new jobs are not being created. The population is ageing and, it has often been said, that China will grow old before it gets rich.

The debt of the country at US$ 25.6 trillion (one trillion equals 1000 billion) has ballooned to 250% of gross domestic product leading most economists to voice their concerns of an impending bubble bursting and tsunami waves of debt will be felt all over the world. Unemployment, pegged at 4% by Government statistics is believed to be at least three times this figure by Fathom Consulting. Forex reserves has dropped from US$ 4 trillion in early 2014 to just over US$ 3 trillion in 2017. No one asks where this US$ 1 trillion has been spent in three years.

China needs a minimum growth rate of 7.4% to ensure that the Chinese citizens continue to be gainfully employed. In a translucent society, where financial numbers are suspect and statistics are “managed”, no one knows what the correct position is in China leaving everyone to speculate. Huge infrastructure projects are lying idle and ghost cities can be seen everywhere.

Chinese investments all over the world are facing serious challenges. The port in Sri Lanka is a financial disaster for Sri Lanka and China is taking 80% equity and therefore opening up an opportunity to set up a naval base. Bridges are collapsing in Kenya and infrastructure projects in Africa are either sub standard or running behind schedule. The Pakistanis are questioning the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as they are beginning to realise that the Chinese have taken away promised jobs and the power plants promised are actually second hand thermal power plants from China. Pakistanis now fear that they will become another province of China but have to hang on to the only “all weather friend” they think they have.

On the political front, the love affair of China with USA is over. President Trump has sold arms to Taiwan, violating China’s self-stated “one China policy” and has refused to listen to the empty threats of China. If he goes ahead and imposes tariffs on Chinese products, the famous sweatshops of China will go into a tailspin. The South East Asian countries, overawed by the financial power of China have started to understand the bully that China is and are hoping to find another market before they can push back on the so-called largesse of China.

Contrast this to what is happening in India, a nation with more than two thirds of its population under the age of 35. Indians now have a strong democratically elected leader whose popularity continues to rise.

Prime Minister Modi won a majority in Parliament and has, barring a couple of state elections, consistently won with sweeping numbers. He has not hesitated in taking tough decisions much to the chagrin of some of India’s hawkish neighbours. His tough stand against Pakistan and India’s surgical strikes has been acknowledged with respect.

The Chinese have gotten used to a hesitant Indian leadership who have generally tried to take the middle path against Chinese push backs. The recent Chinese incursion into Doklam on the Bhutan border and Modi’s unwillingness to back down despite the Chinese rhetoric has won him even more admirers both in India and outside. The Chinese, used to getting their way everywhere, are unsure and making meaningless threats.

Foreign Direct Investment in India is at an all-time high. Demonetisation and the introduction of GST has made the ruling party stronger. The stock market is at an all-time high. The Indian economy is now the fastest growing in the world and will continue this momentum for the at least next decade. And, Prime Minister Modi is just getting started. He should easily lead his party to a thumping majority in the parliamentary elections in 2019.

Mr Modi’s whirlwind diplomacy in the last three years has won him many friends and admirers. Unlike his Chinese counterpart, Modi knows how to connect with the wealthy Indian diaspora. His ability to balance opposing groups around the world has opened up economic opportunities for Indian businesses outside India and for foreign businesses in India. Strong bonds with USA and Israel will help India not only in getting more investments but also shore up our already strong defence capability.

The three decades starting in the early eighties belonged to China. The next three decades, starting from 2014, definitely belong to India, now beginning to be accepted as a super power in the world.

China does not like being on the back foot but then does the World really care?


The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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भारतीय सेना – सड़क के गुंडे या संरक्षक और शहीद

170613 Indian Army

सेना के प्रमुख, भारतीय सेना के मुखिया, जो प्रमुख कमांडर (सेनापति) के रूप में भारत के राष्ट्रपति को वृत्तांत कहते हैं, का हमारी सीमाओं पर दुनिया की तीसरी सबसे बड़ी सेना का प्रबंधन चुनौतियों का सामना करते हुए करना बहुत कठिन काम है। उनका कार्य तब दोगुना मुश्किल हो जाता है जब दुर्भावनापूर्ण और अशिक्षित नेता और झंडाबदार करियर वाले पत्रकार मीडिया कवरेज प्राप्त करने के एकमात्र उद्देश्य के साथ उन पर और उनके संस्थान पर अपर्याप्त और गलत डेटा के साथ,निशाना साधने के लिए तैयार बैठे होते हैं।

पिछले सात दशकों में भारतीय सेना में कुछ भी नहीं बदला है। उन्होंने भारत सरकार की सेवा की है, भले ही कोई भी राजनीतिक दल हो। उन्होंने हमारी सीमाओं की रक्षा की, विद्रोह का शमन किया और जब राज्य सरकारों ने बुलाया दंगों को दबाने के लिए राज्यों का समर्थन किया है।

दिल्ली की पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री का बेटा संदीप दीक्षित, सेना प्रमुख को “सड़क का गुंडा”  कहता है और फिर माफी माँगता है। वह जानता है कि वह आरोप लगा सकता है और फिर बहुत तेज़ी से पीछे हट सकता है, यह कहकर कि उसकी बात को गलत तरीके से उद्धृत किया गया था या जब मामला बहुत गर्म हो जाए तो ‘विनम्रता से माफी माँगता हूँ’, ऐसा कहकर और विषय को बदल सकता है। उसके बोलने से जो क्षति हुई, उससे उसका कोई लेना-देना नहीं है। संदीप दीक्षित किसलिए जाना जाता है सिवाए इसके कि वह एक महत्वहीन दो अवधि का संसद सदस्य और अमीर घर में पैदा होने वाला है, जो अपने परिवार के नाम और शक्ति का उपयोग अपने निजी लाभ के लिए करता है? क्या वह उन “सड़क के गुंडों” में से एक नहीं है जो कांग्रेस के भीड़ भरे राजनीतिक परिदृश्य में प्रासंगिकता खोजने की कोशिश कर रहा है?

सीपीआई (एम) प्रकाश करात, अपने संघर्षरत राजनीतिक पेशे में संकर्षण हासिल करने के लिए कहते हैं, “शक्ति के उपयोग की एकमात्र निर्भरता के माध्यम से सेना प्रमुख मोदी सरकार के विचारों को प्रतिबिंबित कर रहे हैं और कश्मीर के उन लोगों को दबाने की कोशिश करते हैं, जो अपने राजनीतिक विरोध को आवाज दे रहे हैं” जब सीमा पार से घुसपैठ हो तो सेनाध्यक्ष के प्रमुख को किसे ख़ुलासा देना चाहिए?  प्रकाश करात के मर रहे और अप्रासंगिक दल को या मृत कांग्रेस पार्टी के नेता राहुल गांधी को?

फिर वहाँ अज्ञात और तुच्छ इतिहासकार पार्थ चटर्जी हैं, जो पश्चिम बंगाल में अपने स्वामी से लाभ प्राप्त करने के लिए भारतीय सेना प्रमुख की तुलना जलियाँवाला बाग नरसंहार के लिए जिम्मेदार ब्रिटिश सेना में अस्थायी ब्रिगेडियर जनरल एडवर्ड हैरी डायर, से करने के लिए धृष्टता करते हैं। उनके लिए, महिमा के कुछ सेकंड अधिक महत्वपूर्ण हैं न कि भारतीय सेना प्रमुख।

कांग्रेस नेता संजय निरुपम, जो महाराष्ट्र में नगण्य व्यक्ति बन गए हैं, सर्जिकल हड़ताल का सबूत चाहते हैं। दिल्ली पर शासन करने में असफल रहे अरविंद केजरीवाल और जिनके राज्य में गंभीर चुनौतियाँ हैं, वे ममता बनर्जी, अपनी आलोचनाओं से ध्यान हटाने के एक अवसर के रूप में इस तरह की आलोचना को देखते हैं। ये नेता चाहते क्या हैं? क्या वे हाथ में वीडियो कैमरा लेकर इन हमलों को फिल्माने के लिए सैनिकों के आगे (या भले ही पीछे )चलना चाहते हैं?

वरिष्ठ पत्रकार जिनका स्पष्ट वामपंथी उदारवादी झुकाव है और वे अपने सुरक्षित स्टूडियो की कुर्सी पर बैठ मठाधीश बन अपने विश्लेषण पर विश्वास करते हैं कि भारतीय सेना को क्या करना चाहिए। और इनमें से कुछ पत्रकार वास्तव में अपना गुस्सा व्यक्त करते हैं कि ऑपरेशन से पहले उन्हें क्यों नहीं बताया गया था। क्यों दुनिया की किसी भी सेना को कहीं भी पत्रकारों को हर बात पहले बतानी चाहिए?

भारतीय सेना से ये सवाल क्या विपक्षी राजनेता और असंतुष्ट पत्रकार कुछ  व्यक्तियों को उकसाकर अपने संकीर्ण राजनीतिक एजेंडे के चलते भारतीय सेना को बलि का बकरा बना पूछ रहे हैं? भारत सरकार के निर्देशों के तहत काम करने वाली भारतीय सेना को ऐसे लोगों को कोई साक्ष्य या सबूत देने की क्या ज़रूरत है?  क्या इन लोगों को हमारे देश के सबसे ईमानदार और पारदर्शी संस्थानों में से एक को लेकर स्वतंत्रता लेने की अनुमति है? दस लाख से अधिक अधिकारियों और जवानों और हर साल भारतीय सेना में शामिल होने वाले हजारों युवाओं को क्या संदेश दिया जा रहा है?

ये राजनीतिक पंडित जानते हैं कि उच्च अनुशासित भारतीय सेना एक नरम लक्ष्य है, जिन पर इस तरह निशाने साधने पर सेना कोई प्रतिउत्तर नहीं देगी। इन तथाकथित पंडितों की हर आलोचना सीमा पार के चैनलों द्वारा उठा ली जाती है और भारत सरकार की आलोचना की जाती है। इससे कुछ अल्पकालिक राजनीतिक बिंदुओं को छोड़कर कुछ साध्य नहीं होता है। सेना प्रमुख की हर आलोचना पूरी सेना को हतोत्साहित करती है और आलोचकों को अपने मुँह से कुछ भी उगलने से पहले इसे समझने की आवश्यकता है।

कश्मीर ज्ज्वलनशील मुद्दा है जिस पर सभी राजनीतिक दलों और भारतीय सेना को साथ मिलकर ध्यान देना चाहिए। अगर मेजर लेटुल गोगोई अपनी जीप के बोनट पर एक ज्ञात आतंकवादी को बाँधते हैं और लोगों को अपनी कमान में बिना किसी की जान जोखिम में डाले सुरक्षित बाहर निकालते हैं, न तो खुद की ओर से कोई नुकसान होने देते है, न पत्थरबाजी से, तो उन्हें समर्थन और सराहना की जरूरत है और आलोचना की नहीं। यदि इस कार्रवाई में कोई संदेह है, तो केवल सेना अदालत उनसे सवाल पूछ सकती है। वे केवल इसलिए मीडिया द्वारा मुकदमे का विषय नहीं हो सकते कि कुछ चैनलों की टीआरपी गिर रही है।

ज़िम्मेदार पत्रकारों (उनमें से कई हैं), वे नहीं जो अपने धक्के खाते करियर और चैनल के लिए मदद चाहते हैं, को चाहिए कि वे इन टिप्पणियों को अनदेखा करना शुरू कर दें और इन आलोचकों नेताओं पर विश्वास न करें। इस तरह की टिप्पणियों को जितना कम महत्व मिलेगा उतने ही कम प्रासंगिक ये लोग बन जाएँगे।

भारतीय सेना के सर्वोच्च कमांडर, भारत के राष्ट्रपति को सेना प्रमुख के बचाव में इन सभी गैरकानूनी टिप्पणियों को हमेशा के लिये दबाने के लिए दृढ़ता से सामने आने की जरूरत है। उन्हें इस तरह उकसाए गए लोगों को दूसरे सभी अनुमान लगाने से रोकना होगा, जिन्हें वे चला रहे हैं। अगर यह बोलने की स्वतंत्रता है, तो इसमें तुरंत कटौती करनी होगी। हमारे पश्चिम में पाकिस्तान जैसा एक दुष्कर पड़ोसी और हमारे पूर्व में चीन जैसा एक अशांत पड़ोसी है, हम चाहते हैं कि हमारी सेना अत्यधिक प्रेरित और तैयार हो। हतोत्साहित और लोग उनके कार्यों के बारे में जाने कब और क्या कहेंगे, इस बारे में अनिश्चित नहीं।

एक उच्च अलंकृत सैनिक, कीर्ति चक्र और एवीएसएम प्राप्त स्वर्गीय ब्रिगेड एम एल गर्ग, जिन्होंने सन् 1962, सन् 1965 और सन् 1971 का युद्ध लड़ा था, के बेटे के रूप में, मुझे सेना के खिलाफ इन राजनेताओं और पत्रकारों के एक तरफा संवाद को देखने से पीड़ा  होती है। मैं ईमानदारी से आशा करता हूँ कि बहुत से “सेना के बच्चे” इस अतुल्य संस्था के मजबूत समर्थन में आगे आएँगे, जिसके लिए उनके पिता ने काम किया था।

भारतीय सेना हमेशा अराजनैतिक रही है और दुनिया भर में इतनी सारी सेनाओं के विपरीत बैरकों में रहती है जिन्होंने राजनीतिक भूमिका तलाशने के लिए बैरकों से बाहर आने का फैसला किया था। सेना के परिवारों की आम नागरिकों के दैनिक अस्तित्व की चुनौतियों से दूर अपनी अलग दुनिया है, जहाँ वे अपने जैसे अन्य लोगों के साथ रहते हैं।

भारतीय सेना हमारी संरक्षक है, जो हमारी सीमाओं पर खड़ी है, तब हम शांति से सोते हैं। हमें उन्हें अकेला छोड़ देना चाहिए।


लेखक गार्डियन फार्मेसीज के संस्थापक अध्यक्ष और ५ बेस्ट सेलर पुस्तकों – रीबूट- Reboot. रीइंवेन्ट Reinvent. रीवाईर Rewire: 21वीं सदी में सेवानिवृत्ति का प्रबंधन, Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; द कॉर्नर ऑफ़िस, The Corner Office; एन आई फ़ार एन आई An Eye for an Eye; द बक स्टॉप्स हियर- The Buck Stops Here – लर्निंग ऑफ़ अ # स्टार्टअप आंतरप्रेनर और Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and द बक स्टॉप्स हियर- माई जर्नी फ़्रॉम अ मैनेजर टु ऐन आंतरप्रेनर, The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur. के लेखक हैं.

  • ट्विटर : @gargashutosh                                      
  • इंस्टाग्राम : ashutoshgarg56                                      
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The Indian Army – Sadak Ke Goonde or Protectors & Martyrs?

170613 Indian Army

The Chief of Army Staff, the head of the Indian Army who reports to the President of India as the Commander in Chief has a very tough job in managing the world’s third largest Army faced with challenges on our borders. His task becomes doubly difficult when ill-informed and uneducated politicians and journalists with flagging careers decide to take pot shots at him and his institution, with insufficient and incorrect data, with the sole objective of getting media coverage.

Nothing has changed with the Indian Army over the past seven decades. They have served the Indian Government, irrespective of political parties. They have defended our borders, managed insurgency and supported states to quell riots when called in by state governments.

Sandeep Dikshit, the son of former Delhi Chief Minister refers to the Army Chief as “sadak ka goonda” and then apologises. He knows that he can make an allegation and then retract very quickly either by saying that he was misquoted or when things it gets too hot, apologise meekly and change the subject. He has no concern for the damage caused by his utterances. What is Sandeep Dikshit’s claim to fame other than an inconsequential two term Member of Parliament and being a part of the lucky sperm club using his family’s name and power for his personal benefit? Isn’t he one of the “sadak ka goons” who is trying to find relevance in a crowded political landscape of the Congress?

CPI(M) Prakash Karat, to gain traction in his struggling political career states “The army chief is reflecting the views of the Modi government which seeks to suppress the people of Kashmir, who are voicing their political protest, through the sole reliance on use of force.” Whom should the Chief of Army Staff brief when there is an intrusion from across the border? The dying and irrelevant party of Prakash Karat or Rahul Gandhi the leader of the defunct Congress Party?

Then there is the unknown and uncelebrated historian Partha Chatterjee who, to gain favours from his masters in West Bengal has the audacity to compare the Indian Army chief to the temporary Brigadier General Edward Harry Dyer in the British Army who was responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. For him, a few seconds of glory are more important that the Indian Army chief.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who has become a non-entity in Maharashtra seeks proof of the surgical strike. Arvind Kejriwal, who has failed in governing Delhi and Mamata Banerjee, who has serious challenges within her state see such criticism as an opportunity to divert attention from their own problems. What are these leaders looking for? Are they willing to walk in front (or even walk behind) of the soldiers, video camera in hand filming these attacks?

Senior journalists who have clear left liberal leanings and believe that as armchair analysts sitting in the security of their studios pontificate on what the Indian Army should do. And some of these journalists actually express their anger on why they were not briefed before the operation. Why would any Army, anywhere in the world brief journalists in advance?

Are these questions being asked of the Indian Army by a few motivated individuals to meet a narrow political agenda of opposition politicians and disgruntled journalists by using the Indian Army as a scapegoat? Why should the Indian Army, acting under instructions of the Government of India, be required to give any evidence or proof of its activities to these people? What permits these people to take liberties to one of the most honest and transparent institutions of our country? What is the message being given to the over one million officers and jawans and the thousands who are joining the Indian Army each year?

These political pundits know that the highly disciplined Indian Army is a soft target, which will not react to these pot shots. Every criticism by these so called pundits is picked up by channels across the border and used to criticise the Government of India. Nothing is gained except a few ephemeral political points. Far more is lost. Every criticism of the Army Chief demoralises the entire army and critics need to understand this before shooting off their mouths.

Kashmir is a flashpoint and has to be addressed by all political parties and the Indian Army together. If Major Leetul Gogoi ties a known terrorist to the bonnet of his jeep and drives out the people under his command to safety without risking any lives either from his side or from the stone pelters he needs to be supported and applauded and not criticised. If there is any doubt about is actions, only the Army courts can ask him questions. He cannot be subject to a trial by the media because some channels have falling TRP’s.

The responsible journalists (there are many of them), and not those looking to support their stuttering careers and channels, should start to ignore these comments and not give credence to these critics naysayers. The less importance such comments get in our media the less relevant these individuals will become.

The President of India, the supreme commander of the Indian Army needs to come out strongly in defence of the Army Chief to quell all these nonsensical comments once and for all. He needs to stop all this second-guessing that is going on amongst motivated individuals. If this is freedom of speech, then it must be curtailed immediately. With a difficult neighbour like Pakistan on our west and a restless neighbour like China on our East, we want our Army to be highly motivated and ready. Not  demotivated and unsure of what people will say and when about their actions.

As the son of a highly decorated soldier, Late Brig ML Garg, Kirti Chakra and AVSM, who fought in the wars of 1962, 1965 and 1971, it pains me to see this one-sided communication from these politicians and journalists against the Army. I sincerely hope that many more “Army children” will come out in strong support of the incredible institution their fathers worked for.

The Indian Army has always been apolitical and has stayed in the barracks unlike so many armies around the world who chose to come out of the barracks to seek a political role. The Army families live and socialise in a world of their own, away from the challenges of the daily existence of the civilians.

The Indian Army are our protectors who stand guard at our borders as we sleep peacefully. Let us leave them alone.


The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

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Planning your Time in Retirement

 170115 Retirement Plan

As a wise man once said, if you must work, you must retire.

How you define your retirement will obviously differ based on your own imperatives and your personal reality. For sports persons, retirement comes early, once the body starts to age. For Government employees, retirement happens at age 58. For the private sector, it happens at age 60. For some like Judges, retirement is at 65. The only category which can possibly select his own retirement would be a businessperson or a professional and even these people speak about “hanging up their gloves” to do something else. Politicians are in a class of their own and never retire!

Keeping your mind and body healthy, throughout your life is essential, as you get older.

Here are a few questions to ponder over as you look ahead to your retirement years. Remember that the answers to each of these lie within yourself. The best time to start planning for your retirement is a couple of years before your date of superannuation. However, if you, like millions of others, did not want to face your impending retirement and brushed it away with the common statement “I will address this when I reach the age of retirement” then there is no better time than now to start planning how you will choose to spend the remaining one third of your life. This are decisions that should be taken based on several discussions between you and your partner.

It is important for me to state that my points below assume that you have saved enough to be financially secure and do not need to look for full time work and get back into the “yoke” once again. Even if you are financially secure, remember to include time in your routine to manage your finances on a regular basis.

What meaningful activities and new interests could you add to your routine?

Throughout your working life, you would have asked yourself why you did not seem to get the time to pursue your interests. You would have questioned why you were in the so-called rat race. You would have expressed frustration of working endlessly for someone else.

Several people I know have decided to give their time to a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working in an area of their choice. Hundreds of NGO’s are looking for your expertise and will welcome you warmly. Then there are the Think Tanks. You could consider using your vast experience with such institutions. Finally, your Resident Welfare Association would gladly accept your time to manage the housing or condominium complex that you live in.

What were you passionate about when you were younger?

Are you a closet writer, composer, actor, singer, dancer, musician or artist? Were you a great sportsman?

I enjoyed writing when I was younger and I have picked this up in the last few years. A friend was a great musician but his strings went silent for three decades. He has picked up his instruments again. A banker friend has started painting and has just held his first solo exhibition. Another friend who had carefully built a library of films and television series has pulled out his saved treasure of films. Yet another friend who has always been a voracious reader initials every book he reads in his local library so that he remembers which book he has read! My wife enjoys bridge and she has invested in making several new “bridge” friends.

People are playing golf or tennis every day. Someone I know has taken to running marathons and is now running competitively around the word. There are so many interests that you must have wanted to pursue but did not have the time. Now is the time to make a new beginning. Now is the time for you to pursue the interests you may have been forced to put aside while working due to a lack of time?

What will your lifestyle be at age 70? At age 80?

As you plan the final three decades of your life, break these up in to three distinct phase. Your sixties, seventies and eighties will be very different and you need to keep plan carefully. Look back and think of what you could achieve in your twenties is not what you could do in your forties. Every passing decade will gradually change your body and slow you down. Slowing down is inevitable. Accept the ageing of your body gracefully. There is no point in fighting the gradual ageing process and getting frustrated by what you can no longer do.

If you continue working into your sixties, you will have to change tracks in your seventies. If you are playing a good game of tennis in your sixties, you will slow down in your seventies. If you do not watch television now, it may be a good idea for you to start getting interested in this “companion” sooner than later!

What are the shared interests between you and your partner?

Very few couples develop common interests through their working lives. Each individual is busy in his or her respective careers. On retirement, when much more time is spent together than throughout the working lives, individual interests start to clash with one another. What piques your curiosity need not necessarily interest your partner? Where you wish to spend your free time may not coincide with the plans your spouse has made. This leads to unnecessary dissonance. It is generally advisable to continue with your individual interests as both of you adjust to spending 24 hours of each day together. Some couples decide to travel extensively while others socialize much more and fix one day a week to entertain every week.

Finding too many common interests between spouses is generally a challenge and those couples who have found compatibility in their post-retirement interests are blessed.

As you plan your time for each day, the question to ask yourself is what you would choose to do if you had no other commitments on your time. Build a combination of work, hobby, leisure, exercise, siesta, social connections and personal space in your daily routine and you will be surprised to find that retirement is actually a phase in your life that you will enjoy.

There is no right or wrong answer on how you should use the time in your day. Use your time the way you are comfortable and happy with but remember that a daily routine is always good. It will help you to plan your day as well as to look forward to your next scheduled activity.

Live your retirement with your own plan. Not someone else’s. You have earned this right!


The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here – Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
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