इमरान खान – अतिवादी राजनीतिज्ञ या सामान्य क्रिकेटर?

United Nations: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at United Nations on Sep 27, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

United Nations: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at United Nations on Sep 27, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासभा सप्ताह समाप्त हो चुका है, और अब पाकिस्तान के चयनित प्रधानमंत्री, इमरान खान की नाट्य तकनीक (थियेट्रिक्स) का विश्लेषण किया जा सकता है। संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासभा में इमरान खान के भाषण में दिखाई दी मायूसी, शेखी और परमाणु खतरे की खुली धमकी बेमिसाल है, जिसकी हर कोई निंदा कर रहा है।

इमरान खान का असली एजेंडा क्या था और वे किस बारे में बात करना चाह रहे थे? वे अपने प्रलापमय भाषण में किसे संबोधित कर रहे थे? वाक्पटुता का नमूना देता उनका भाषण गंदगी से भरा था, वे बेहद हताशा और गुस्से में गालियाँ बक रहे थे। किसी ने श्री खान के भाषण का सार प्रस्तुत किया तो उसमें उन्होंने नरेंद्र मोदी का नाम 12 बार लिया था, कश्मीर का 25 बार, आतंकवाद का 28 बार और इस्लाम का 71 बार उल्लेख किया था! हत्याकांड जैसे शब्दों का प्रयोग तो पूरी तरह अस्वीकार्य है।

पाकिस्तान के नेताओं और काँग्रेस दल ने अनुभव किया है कि जब कुछ भी काम नहीं करता हो, तो राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ (आरएसएस) पर दोष मढ़ दो। चूँकि श्री खान और उनके आगे-पीछे घूमने वाले आरएसएस द्वारा किए जा रहे कामों के बारे में कुछ नहीं जानते-समझते, ऐसे में उनके द्वारा संयुक्त राष्ट्र में आरएसएस का मामला उठाना बहुत ही हास्यास्पद था। भारत में काँग्रेस दल के नेताओं से वे जो सुनते हैं वे केवल उसे ही तोता ज़ुबानी उगल देते हैं।

हिटलर और मुसोलिनी की बात करना और उनकी तुलना आरएसएस से करना और उनका संयुक्त राष्ट्र महासभा के प्रभामंडल वाले मंच से अंतर्राष्ट्रीय समुदाय को इसके बारे में चेतावनी देना, विश्व के अधिकांश नेताओं पर इसका बहुत दीन प्रभाव पड़ा। सभी को इसका बहुत आश्चर्य हुआ कि किसी देश का प्रधानमंत्री उसे दिए समय में उन्मत्त होकर अनर्गल प्रलाप कर रहा था और दुनिया को धमकाते हुए मदद की गुहार लगा रहा था!

जिहाद में लिप्त आतंकवादियों को पाकिस्तान में सेना के समर्थन को खान सरेआम प्रोत्साहित करते हैं और उसे सही भी बताते हैं, इतना ही नहीं आतंकवादी संगठनों को अनुमति देने और बढ़ावा देने की बात करते हैं और इसलिए पाकिस्तानी सेना भारत में आतंकवादी भेजना शुरु करती है। साथ ही वे निष्पक्ष अपील भी करते हैं कि कैसे इस्लाम शांति वाला धर्म है और कैसे आतंकवाद के खिलाफ युद्ध का सबसे बड़ा पीड़ित पाकिस्तान है।

अरबी भाषा के शब्द जिहाद का शाब्दिक अर्थ है प्रयास करना या संघर्ष करना, खासकर उत्तम लक्ष्य के लिए कोशिश करना, लेकिन वही कब आतंकवाद, विनाश, बदला और मृत्यु का पर्यायवाची शब्द हो गया?

रोचक बात यह है कि जिस तरीके से श्री खान ने इस्लाम के विश्व नेता पद को अपनी ओर करने की कोशिश की और जब वे उसे समझा रहे थे, उनका स्वर बड़ा हताश था कि कैसे इस्लाम का पालन करने वाला तब अपमानित महसूस करता है जब दुनिया उनके धर्म के ख़िलाफ़ कुछ कहती है। यह दीगर बात है कि जो उनकी बात में विश्वास नहीं करता उसे वे काफ़िर कह देते हैं। उन्होंने एक भी बार यह नहीं कहा कि जो धर्म का पालन करते हैं उन्हें अपने में कोई बदलाव लाना चाहिए। उन्होंने बड़ी आसानी से 9/11 की समस्या का पूरा दोष अन्य समस्याओं और उसके बाद पूरी दुनिया पर डाल दिया। उन्होंने कट्टर इस्लामिक आतंकवाद जैसे शब्दों के इस्तेमाल की कड़ी निंदा की, लेकिन एक बार भी यह नहीं कहा कि जिहादियों पर लगाम कसने की जवाबदारी उनके जैसे नेताओं पर ही है।

एक दिन पहले उन्होंने एशियाटिक सोसाइटी में बिलकुल ऐसा ही भाषण दिया था जैसा उन्होंने महासभा में दिया और उनके प्रति निष्पक्ष रहकर कहा जाए तो उन्होंने ही बताया कि एशियाटिक सोसाइटी का उनका भाषण अभ्यास भाषण था। कश्मीर, इस्लाम को छोड़ दिया जाए तो उनके पास कहने और दुनिया को धर्म के प्रति कितना कुछ करने की आवश्यकता है, इस बारे में बताने के लिए नया कुछ नहीं था।

उससे पहले की इमरान खान की अपनी तस्बीह (सुमिरनी माला) के साथ राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प से बात करते हुए की तस्वीर बड़ी विचारणीय है। उनकी देहयष्टि, उनके हाव-भाव में घबराहट बड़ी दूर थी। वे सर्वशक्तिमान ईश्वर से प्रार्थना करते हुए दुनिया के सबसे शक्तिशाली व्यक्ति से यह उम्मीद लगाए थे कि कोई चमत्कार होगा। राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प के साथ उनकी पहली मुलाकात, जो सऊदी अरब के युवराज की अनुशंसा पर हुई थी, के बाद वे ऐसी कोई सकारात्मक टिप्पणी सुनने के लिए बेताब थे, जिसे वे “विश्व कप जीतने” की तरह अपने घर ले जा सके।

उन्होंने एक भी बार पाकिस्तान की अविश्वसनीय गरीबी, बिजली, पानी, ईंधन और खाद्य आपूर्ति की भारी कमी के बारे में बात नहीं की। उन्होंने अपने देश की अशिक्षा और बहुत खराब स्वास्थ्य रिकॉर्ड के बारे में बोलना उचित नहीं समझा। उन्होंने बलूचिस्तान की निर्लज्ज दलीलों और पाकिस्तान में अन्य दमित अल्पसंख्यकों की बात की उपेक्षा की। उन्होंने भ्रष्टाचार और कुप्रबंधन के चलते अपने देश के दिवालिएपन की बात नहीं की और ऐसे जताया जैसे भारत के वित्तीय कार्रवाई टास्क फोर्स (एफएटीएफ) द्वारा पाकिस्तान को ब्लैकलिस्ट किए जाने की संभावना ही दोषी हो।

इमरान खान खाली हाथ पाकिस्तान लौट गए। उनके समर्थक और बड़ी संख्या में पत्रकार उनकी भारत यात्रा से चमत्कार की उम्मीद कर रहे थे। उन्होंने उन्हें विश्वास दिलाया था कि धारा 370 रद्द करवाने के अलावा उन्हें अन्य कुछ भी स्वीकार्य नहीं होगा! न केवल उन्हें विश्व के नेताओं से कुछ मिला, जिनमें से कोई भी उनके एक शब्द तक पर विश्वास नहीं करता, इतना ही नहीं सऊदी अरब के जिस उधार के विमान पर सवार होकर वे गए थे उसने भी तकनीकी ख़राबी का हवाला देकर वापस ले जाने से इनकार कर दिया और उन्हें व्यावसायिक विमान से घर जाना पड़ा।

श्री खान को विमान उधार देते समय, सऊदी अरब ने भारत को आश्वासन दिया कि वे यह सुनिश्चित करेंगे कि भारत को तेल की किसी भी तरह की कमी का सामना नहीं करना पड़ेगा। सऊदी अरब ने चोट के साथ अपमान को और जोड़ दिया है जिसके तहत हाल ही में उसने भारत में 100 बिलियन अमेरिकी डॉलर के निवेश पैकेज की घोषणा की है। (श्री खान इसकी केवल 25% राशि पाने के लिए बड़ी राजी-ख़ुशी पूरा पाकिस्तान सऊदी अरब को बेच सकते हैं।)

इमरान खान को एक ही बार में पूरी तरह से आतंकवाद का खात्मा करने की ज़रूरत है लेकिन ऐसा करना अब कठिन है क्योंकि उन्होंने अपनी ताकतों के ही पर कतर दिए हैं। उन्हें अपनी सेना से सौदा करने की ज़रूरत है, जो अभी भी भुट्टो की भारत को “हजार घावों” से आहत करने की धमकी से प्रेरित लगती है। यदि सेना उनकी तरफ़ है तो उन्हें आतंकवाद के अपने कारखाने बंद करने की आवश्यकता है। इससे न केवल विश्व, बल्कि उनके अपने लोग भी राहत की साँस लेंगे, जो उनके ही द्वारा दिए जा रहे इन प्रवेशों से सबसे ज़्यादा पीड़ित है।

इमरान खान, अगर वास्तव में विश्व नेता के रूप में कद हासिल करना चाहते हैं तो उन्हें पाकिस्तान के लोगों के लिए काम करना चाहिए। उन्हें अपने देश के निर्माण पर ध्यान केंद्रित करना चाहिए और उस विश्वसनीयता को वापस लाना चाहिए, जिसमें तीन दशक पहले उनका देश, विश्व के साथ आनंद लेता था।

उन्हें भारत के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करने और धमकी देने के बजाय भारत के साथ संबंधों को सामान्य बनाने की दिशा में काम करना चाहिए। मददगार भारत उनके टूटे और दुर्बल देश के लिए बहुत कुछ कर सकता है। व्यापार फिर से शुरू किया जाना चाहिए, और लोगों के बीच आपसी बातचीत में सुधार लाना चाहिए। सुरक्षित पाकिस्तान उन लाखों पर्यटकों के लिए दरवाजे खोल सकता है जो पाकिस्तान में घूमना पसंद करेंगे। पाकिस्तान की अर्थव्यवस्था को पुनर्जीवित करना होगा।

केवल आर्थिक रूप से आत्मनिर्भर पाकिस्तान ही राष्ट्रों के बीच सम्मानजनक स्थान पाने की उम्मीद कर सकता है।

क्या चुने गए प्रधानमंत्री इमरान खान को सेना द्वारा नचाया जा रहा है? या मुस्लिम विश्व के नेता उन्हें नचा रहे हैं? या कट्टरपंथी इस्लामी आंदोलन के नेता? या वे ऐसा प्लेबॉय है, जिसने क्रिकेट विश्व कप जीता और कैंसर अस्पताल बनाया? या तहरीक-ए-इंसाफ के नेता, जिनके बारे में पाकिस्तान ने सोचा था कि वह उन्हें पिछले नेताओं से मिली सभी चुनौतियों से मुक्ति दिलाएगा? या क्या वे केवल ” डूबो देने वाले (इम द डिम)” हैं , जैसाकि कुछ राजनीतिक टिप्पणीकारों द्वारा उन्हें आमतौर से कहा जाता है?

क्या असली इमरान खान कृपा कर गिने जाने के लिए खड़े होंगे?

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Imran Khan - Extremist Politician or Moderate Cricketer?

United Nations: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at United Nations on Sep 27, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

The United Nations General Assembly week is over, and the theatrics of the selected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan can now be analysed. So much desperation, so much bluster and open Nuclear threat in the speech from Imran Khan at the United Nations General Assembly is unprecedented and deserves condemnation from everyone.

What was Imran Khan’s real agenda and what was he trying to talk about? Who was he addressing in his rambling speech littered with so much abuse so much rhetoric and so much frustration and anger? Someone summarised that in Mr Khan’s speech he used Narendra Modi 12 times, Kashmir 25 times, Terrorism 28 times and Islam 71 times! Using terms like bloodbath is unacceptable.

Leaders of Pakistan and the Congress party have realised that when nothing works, blame the RSS. Raising the matter of the RSS at the United Nations was ridiculous since Mr Khan and his band of merry men have absolutely no understanding of the work being done by the RSS. They are simply parroting what they hear from the leaders of the Congress party in India.

Talking about Hitler and Mussolini and comparing them to the RSS and warning the international community from the most haloed podium of the United Nations General Assembly went down very poorly with most world leaders. Everyone was surprised to see the Prime Minister of a country raving and ranting well beyond his allotted time, trying to plead for help while threatening the World!

Khan has openly encouraged the terrorists being supported by his Army in Pakistan to indulge in Jihad and has therefore justified and given permission and encouragement to the terrorist organisations and the Pakistan Army to start sending terrorists into India. At the same time, he is also making an impartial appeal about how Islam is a religion of peace and how Pakistan has been the biggest sufferer of the war against terrorism.

When did Jihad, an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim become a term synonymous with terrorism, destruction, revenge and death?

What is interesting is the way Mr Khan tried to take the position of a leader of Islam in the World when he tried to explain, in a desperate tone, how people who follow Islam get offended when the world says anything against their religion. It is another thing that everyone who is not a believer is a kafir. Not once did he say that it is necessary for people who follow the religion to make any changes to themselves. He has conveniently put the entire blame of all the problems of 9/11 and thereafter on the rest of the World. He strongly condemned the use of the words radical Islamic terrorism but did not even once suggest that the responsibility for reining in the jihadists lies with leaders like himself.

His speech the previous day at the Asiatic Society was the same as the one he made in the General Assembly and to be fair to him, he did say that the Asiatic Society speech was a practice speech. He had nothing new to talk about except Kashmir, Islam and how the World need to so much more for the religion.

Earlier, Imran Khan, sitting with his tasbih while talking to President Trump is a picture worth thinking about. His body language gave away his nervousness. He was appealing to the most powerful man in the World while praying to Almighty God hoping that there would be a miracle. He was desperate for a positive comment that he could take back home like “winning the World Cup” after his first meeting with President Trump that was apparently set up at the request of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Not once did he talk about the incredible poverty of Pakistan, the major shortage of power, water, fuel and food supplies. He chose not to speak about the illiteracy and the very poor health record of his country. He ignored the impassioned pleas of Baluchistan and the other suppressed minorities in Pakistan. He did not speak about the bankruptcy his nation is facing because of corruption and mismanagement and conveniently laid the blame for Pakistan likely to be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on India.

Imran Khan has returned to Pakistan empty handed. His supporters and that large number of journalists were expecting a miracle from his trip to India. He had assured them that nothing short of a revocation of Article 370 would be acceptable to him! Not only did he not get anything from the world leaders who did not believe a word that he spoke with but also his borrowed plane from Saudi Arabia refused to take him back owing to a technical error and he had to fly home on a commercial plane.

While lending a plane to Mr Khan, Saudi Arabia also assured India that they will ensure that India will not face a shortfall of a single drop of oil. To add insult to injury Saudi Arabia has just announced a US$ 100 billion investment package in India (Mr Khan would have happily sold the entire Pakistan for 25% of this amount Tu Saudi Arabia).

Imran Khan needs to stop terrorism once and for all which will be tough now that he has unleashed these forces. He needs a buy in from his Army which still seems to be motivated by Bhutto’s threat of hurting India with a “thousand cuts.” If the Army is on his side, he needs to shut down his factories of terrorism. Not only will the World heave a sigh of relief but also his own people, who by his own admission have been the biggest sufferers.

Imran Khan, if he truly wants to attain the stature as a World Leader must work for the people of Pakistan. He must focus on building his country and bring back the credibility his country used to enjoy in the World three decades back.

He must work towards normalising relations with India rather than keep competing with and threatening India. A supportive India can do a lot for his broken and impoverished country. Trade must be resumed, and people-to-people interaction must be improved. A safe Pakistan can open the doors to millions of tourists who would love to visit Pakistan. The economy of Pakistan must be revived.

Only an economically self-reliant Pakistan can hope to find a respectable place amongst the comity of nations.

Is Imran Khan the selected Prime Minister being propped up by the Army? Or the leader of the Muslim World? Or the leader of the Radical Islamist movement? Or the playboy who won the cricket World Cup and built a cancer hospital? Or the leader of Tehreek-e-Insaaf who Pakistan had thought would deliver them from all the challenges of the previous leaders? Or is he simply “Imm the Dim” as he is popularly called by some political commentators?

Will the real Imran Khan please stand up to be counted?

*******************

The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers.

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“हाउडी मोदी” का पुनर्निर्माण

190924 Howdy Modi 2

भारत के कतिपय विपक्षी नेताओं और पाकिस्तान के अमूमन सारे राजनेताओं और पत्रकारों को छोड़ दे तो हर कोई इस तथ्य को स्वीकार रहा है कि ह्यूस्टन टेक्सास में प्रधानमंत्री मोदी का भाषण, भारत के संदर्भ में बाजी पलटकर रख देने वाला है।

लगभग हर किसी ने प्रधानमंत्री मोदी के भाषण के बाद हुए डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प के भाषण के बारे में लिखा लेकिन लगता है किसी ने भी प्रधानमंत्री मोदी के प्रारंभिक भाषण पर कोई टिप्पणी नहीं दी, जिसके ज़रिए उन्होंने राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प का आह्वान किया था। आइए इन दो नेताओं ने जिन कई मुद्दों पर बात की उसके पुनर्पाठ से पहले श्री मोदी ने जो परिचय दिया, उससे शुरुआत करते हैं।

दो नेताओं ने मंच पर प्रवेश किया तब श्री ट्रम्प का हाथ श्री मोदी के कंधे पर था। यह तीसरा अवसर था जब वर्ष 2019 में थोड़े अंतराल के बाद वे मिल रहे थे और दोनों की ख़ुशमिज़ाजी उनके हाव-भाव से साफ़ झलक रही थी।

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी आगंतुक थे, न कि ह्यूस्टन, टेक्सास में मेजबान। राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प के आगमन से पहले कई अमेरिकी नेताओं ने उनका परिचय दिया और उनका सम्मान किया। जैसे ही राष्ट्रपति का आगमन हुआ, श्री मोदी ने राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प का परिचय देने की जिम्मेदारी अपने हाथों में ली, गोकि श्री मोदी ही उस कार्यक्रम के मेजबान हो। उनके द्वारा पूरी तैयारी के साथ दिया गया परिचय, राष्ट्रपति के चेहरे पर मुस्कान ले आया और जिन विभिन्न मुद्दों के बारे में श्री मोदी ने कहा उस पर राष्ट्रपति ने सहमति दर्शाई।

श्री मोदी ने वर्णन किया कि कैसे राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प के साथ उनकी पहली मुलाकात में उनका परिचय ट्रम्प परिवार से करवाया गया था और उन्होंने कहा कि अब उनकी बारी थी कि वे राष्ट्रपति का परिचय अपने परिवार से कराए और ऐसा कहकर वे स्टेडियम के सभी श्रोताओं से मुखातिब हुए और उन श्रोताओं को अपना परिवार बताया जिस पर सभी ने जोश-ख़रोश में जयकारे लगाए-“मोदी मोदी”। यह वास्तव में उसी बात का प्रतिनिधित्व कर रहा था जिसका जिक्र वे हमेशा भारतीय दर्शन के ‘वसुधैव कुटुंबकम्’ (विश्व एक परिवार है) के रूप में करते हैं।

उनकी टिप्पणियों “मेक अमेरिका ग्रेट अगेन (अमेरिका को फिर महान् बनाया जाए)” और “अबकी बार ट्रम्प सरकार” को भारत के विपक्षी नेताओं ने ग़लत तरीके से समझा और ग़लत तरीके से प्रस्तुत किया, ये वे ही लोग हैं जो बिना सोचे-समझे किसी भी बात को अपने पक्ष में करवा लेने की कोशिश करते हैं। इन लोगों ने अपनी सहुलियत से इस बात को पूरी तरह अनसुना कर दिया कि श्री मोदी राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प के वर्ष 2016 के चुनाव अभियान के संदर्भ में यह जिक्र कर रहे थे। श्री मोदी ने बड़ी सावधानी से इन शब्दों को ” उम्मीदवार (कैंडिडेट) ट्रम्प” के साथ रखा था। इस परिचय के समय श्री ट्रम्प और श्री मोदी साथ-साथ खड़े थे और इन शब्दों से उनका श्री ट्रम्प के साथ सुर एकदम जुड़ गया।

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी को साफ़-साफ़ पता था कि वे किस बारे में बोलने वाले हैं और जिस लाजवाब तरीके से उन्होंने तैयारी की थी और जो उनकी सोच थी, जिसे लेकर उन्होंने संवाद साधा था उसकी प्रशंसा हर कोई करेगा। एक ही भाषण में वे कई मतदाता वर्ग को संबोधित करते लग रहे थे:

  1. बड़ी तादाद में भारतीय अमेरिकियों ने उन्हें सुनने के लिए पाँच घंटे से अधिक समय तक इंतज़ार किया, उन 4 मिलियन भारतीय अमेरिकियों के साथ, जिन्होंने जबसे श्री मोदी को कद्दावर नेता के रूप में देखा है तब से उन्हें पूरा समर्थन दिया है, जो उनके देश, उनकी भूमि को लेकर उन्हें गौरवान्वित अनुभव कराता है।
  2. उनके पूरे भाषण के दौरान अमेरिका के राष्ट्रपति वहाँ उपस्थित थे।
  3. स्टेडियम में रिपब्लिकन और डेमोक्रेटिक दोनों दलों के कई प्रतिनिधि और नेता मौजूद थे।
  4. लाखों भारतीय उनका भाषण सुनने के लिए वहाँ रुके थे, जबकि बहुत रात हो गई थी। उनमें से निश्चित रूप से कई विपक्षी दलों के नेता थे, जिन्होंने एक वक्तव्य से दूसरे वक्तव्य के बीच के अंतर के विस्तार को पहचाना होगा।
  5. पाकिस्तान के दर्शकों के लिए श्री मोदी ने अमेरिकी राष्ट्रपति की उपस्थिति में कुछ सख्त टिप्पणियाँ भी की थीं।

ट्रम्प का परिचय दिए जाने के बाद श्री ट्रम्प ख़ुद उन्हें मंच के छोर तक ले गए ताकि वे स्थानापन्न हो राष्ट्रपति को सुन सकें।

श्री ट्रम्प ने बड़े उदार मन से प्रशस्त टिप्पणियाँ कीं और उन्होंने दो-तीन बार कहा कि व्हाइट हाउस में भारत सच्चा मित्र है। अमेरिका के लगभग 4 मिलियन भारतीयों से श्री मोदी ने जो अतुलनीय अपील की, राष्ट्रपति ने उसे पहचाना। कहीं न कहीं श्री ट्रम्प के मानस पटल में चल रहा होगा कि पिछले चुनावों में 77% भारतीय अमेरिकियों ने डेमोक्रेटिक की प्रत्याशी हिलेरी क्लिंटन को मतदान किया था। यदि वे यह विश्वास दिला सकें कि वे भारत का समर्थन करेंगे और इस तरह वे इतनी बड़ी संख्या में इन मतदाताओं को अपनी ओर कर पाने में सफल हो पाएँ तो, उनके लिए निश्चित ही मददगार होगा।

जब राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प ने इस्लामिक आतंकवाद का मुकाबला करने की बात की, तो विशेष रूप से दिलचस्प था कि उन्होंने अमेरिका और भारत इन दोनों देशों के बीच पहली बार हुए त्रिकोणीय रक्षा अभ्यास का उल्लेख किया।

उसके बाद श्री मोदी को राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प द्वारा मंच पर आमंत्रित किया गया। यह देखना भी बड़ा दिलचस्प था कि इन दो विश्व नेताओं के बीच कोई तीसरा पक्ष नहीं था। श्री मोदी ने अमेरिकी निवेश आमंत्रित करने के लिए अपनी सरकार की उपलब्धियों के बारे में विस्तार से बात की, लेकिन उनका मुख्य संवाद पाकिस्तान और कश्मीर के बारे में था।

श्री मोदी उत्कृष्ट वक्ता हैं और शत्रु पर वार करने की उनकी अपनी ख़ास शैली है, वे लगातार 9-11 और 26-11 के बारे में इन हमलों के पीछे किसी देश या नेता का नाम लिए बिना सवाल पूछ रहे थे और लोगों की बढ़-चढ़कर प्रतिक्रियाएँ मिल रही थीं। इसका राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प पर निश्चित ही गहरा प्रभाव पड़ा होगा क्योंकि इससे पहले वे इमरान ख़ान के साथ की पत्रकार वार्ता में भारी भीड़ की प्रतिक्रियाओं का अनुभव ले चुके थे। उस समय प्रधानमंत्री मोदी आतंकवाद पर लगातार तीखा हमला और कटाक्ष कर रहे थे और अब वे दोषियों के ख़िलाफ़ निर्णायक कार्रवाई के मुद्दे पर आ गए थे, जो वहाँ की भारी भीड़ में बैठे हर श्रोता तक गुंजायमान हो गया था और उनके सम्मान में वहाँ उपस्थित विशाल जनसमुदाय ने खड़े होकर तालियाँ बजाकर उनका अभिवादन किया।

जब बात धारा 370 के विषय में आई तो प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने बहुत स्पष्ट रूप से कहा कि लोकतांत्रिक सिद्धांतों के अनुसार संसद में दोनों सदनों द्वारा इस पर विस्तार से टेलीविजित बहस हुई थी और जिसे दुनिया भर के लोगों ने देखा था और इन बहसों के बाद ही दो-तिहाई बहुमत से यह कानून पारित किया गया था। श्री मोदी ने वास्तव में इस तथ्य की पुष्टि के लिए विभिन्न भाषाओं में श्री ट्रम्प और अन्य नेताओं को सूचित किया कि भारत में “सब ठीक है”। यह बात वास्तव में उन चंद नेताओं तक भी पहुँचानी थी जो पाकिस्तानी सोच पर “तोता रटंत” करते आ रहे हैं।

अपने भाषण के अंत में, श्री मोदी ट्रम्प के पास गए और उनका हाथ अपने हाथ में लेकर राष्ट्रपति के साथ पूरे स्टेडियम की विजयी परिक्रमा लगाई।

यह श्री मोदी का विश्व के सबसे शक्तिशाली व्यक्ति के सामने भारत की नरम शक्ति का प्रदर्शन करने का तरीका था और जिन मुद्दों को प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने अपने भाषण में उठाया था उन पर निहित सहमति प्राप्त करना था। बहुत आश्चर्य नहीं होगा यदि हम 26 जनवरी 2020 के गणतंत्र दिवस पर मुख्य अतिथि के रूप में राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्प और प्रथम महिला को देखें।

स्पष्ट रूप से श्री मोदी ने अमेरिका और श्री ट्रम्प के साथ इतने मजबूत संबंध बनाने के लिए बहुत श्रम किया है। यदि यह मानकर चले कि श्री ट्रम्प फिर से चुने जाते हैं, तो वे भारत के लिए ऐसे बन सकते हैं जैसे निक्सन, चीन के लिए थे। अगर ऐसा होता है, तो भारत 10 बिलियन अमेरिकी डॉलर की अर्थव्यवस्था बनने की एकदम सही राह पर होगा और हम सभी को इसके लिए श्री मोदी को धन्यवाद देना होगा।

अपने दूसरे कार्यकाल में प्रधानमंत्री मोदी अपने कार्यकाल के शुरुआती दौर से ही सभी कठोर फैसले लेने की जल्दी में हैं। चाहे हम उन्हें चाहें या उनसे नफरत करें, उनके पास 56 महीने से अधिक का समय है जब वे तीसरे कार्यकाल की चाह में फिर से चुनाव में खड़े होते हैं।

यह ‘मेक इंडिया ग्रेट अगेन’ (भारत को पुन: श्रेष्ठ) बनाने के लिए वर्ष 2014 से अब तक किए गए सभी परिवर्तनों को लागू करने और उनके परिणामों को देखने के लिए पर्याप्त समय है।

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लेखक कार्यकारी कोच, कथा वाचक (स्टोरी टेलर) और एंजेल निवेशक हैं। वे अत्यधिक सफल पॉडकास्ट के मेजबान हैं जिसका शीर्षक है द ब्रांड कॉल्ड यू- The Brand Called You, राजनीतिक समीक्षक और टीकाकार के साथ वे गार्डियन फार्मेसीज के संस्थापक अध्यक्ष भी हैं। वे 6 बेस्ट सेलर पुस्तकों के लेखक हैं और कई ऑनलाइन समाचार पत्रों के लिए लिखते हैं।

हमारे पॉडकास्ट देखें यहाँ www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com                                                 

  • ट्विटर : @gargashutosh                                                          
  • इंस्टाग्राम : ashutoshgarg56                                                     
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  • अनुवादक- स्वरांगी साने – अनुवादक होने के साथ कवि, पत्रकार, कथक नृत्यांगना, साहित्य-संस्कृति-कला समीक्षक, भारतीय भाषाओं के काव्य के ऑनलाइन विश्वकोष-कविता कोश में रचनाएँ शामिल। दो काव्य संग्रह- काव्य संग्रह “शहर की छोटी-सी छत पर” मध्य प्रदेश साहित्य परिषद, भोपाल द्वारा स्वीकृत अनुदान से प्रकाशित और काव्य संग्रह “वह हँसती बहुत है” महाराष्ट्र राज्य हिंदी साहित्य अकादमी, मुंबई द्वारा द्वारा स्वीकृत अनुदान से प्रकाशित।

Deconstructing “Howdy Modi”

190924 Howdy Modi 2

Everyone, barring a few opposition politicians in India and most politicians and journalists in Pakistan, is acknowledging the fact that speech by Prime Minister Modi at Houston Texas is a game changer for India.

Almost everybody seems to have written about the speech of Donald Trump followed by the speech of Prime Minister Modi, but no one seems to have commented on the opening speech given by Prime Minister Modi to introduce President Trump. Let us start with the introduction made by Mr Modi before we start to deconstruct the many points that were made by the two leaders.

The two leaders arrived on the stage with Mr Trump’s arm around the shoulder of Mr Modi. This was the third time these leaders had met in a short period of time in 2019 and their bonhomie was evident from their body language.

Prime Minister Modi was the visitor and not the host at the Houston, Texas event. He was introduced and felicitated by various US leaders before the arrival of President Trump. Once the President arrived, Mr Modi took on the responsibility of introducing President Trump as if Mr Modi was the host at this event. His well-prepared introduction had the President smiling and acknowledging the various points Mr Modi spoke about.

Mr Modi recounted that during his first meeting with President Trump he had been introduced to the Trump family and he said it was now his turn to introduce the President to his family as he reached out to the entire audience in the stadium introducing them as his family to loud cheers of “Modi Modi.” This truly represented what he has always spoken about Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (the World is one family) as the philosophy of India.

His comments of “Make America Great Again” and “Abki Baar Trump Sarkar” may have been misunderstood and misinterpreted by the opposition leaders in India who are always looking to score a point without thinking. What they chose not to hear was that Mr Modi was referring to President Trump’s election campaign in 2016. Mr Modi also carefully prefaced these words with “Candidate Trump.” These words struck the right chord with Mr Trump who was standing next to Mr Modi during this introduction.

Prime Minister Modi clearly knew what he was going to be speaking about and one must appreciate the incredible amount of preparation and thinking that must have gone into preparing his communication. In one speech, he was addressing multiple constituencies:

  1. The large number of Indian Americans who had waited to hear him for over five hours along with the 4 million Indian Americans who have been giving him a lot of support since they see in Mr Modi a strong leader who will make them proud of the country of their origin.
  2. The President of America who stayed throughout his speech.
  3. The multiple representatives and leaders of both Republican and Democratic parties present in the stadium.
  4. The millions of Indians who stayed up to listen to his speech even though it was very late at night. Among them were certainly leaders of the opposition parties who must have recognised the gap widening with each passing comment.
  5. The audience in Pakistan for whom Mr Modi had some tough comments in the presence of the US President.

After making the introduction of President Trump, Prime Minister Modi was escorted to the edge of the stage by Mr Trump so that Mr Modi could take his chair to hear the President.

Mr Trump was very expansive and generous in his comments and he more than once talked about the true friend India had in the White House. The President recognised the incredible appeal Prime Minister Modi has amongst 4 million Indians in America. At the back of his mind Mr Trump must have remembered that 77% of the Indian Americans voted for Hilary Clinton, the Democratic aspirant in the last election. It would certainly help if he could swing the large number of these voters to his side if he was able to convince them that he would support India.

While President Trump spoke about combating Radical Islamic terrorism what was particularly interesting was his mention of the tri-force defence exercises between America and India, a first for these two nations. His second announcement of establishing a Space Force and asking India to collaborate with America was a milestone announcement which seems to have gone unnoticed.

Mr Modi was then invited to the stage by President Trump. It was interesting to see that there was no third party between these two World leaders. Mr Modi spoke about the accomplishments of his Government at length, understandably to invite investments from American business, but his key communication was about Pakistan and Kashmir.

Mr Modi is an outstanding orator and in his own inimical style he kept asking questions about 9-11 and 26-11 and the people behind these attacks without naming the country or its leader, getting an overwhelming response from the crowd.. This certainly made a strong impression on President Trump because he repeated the response of the large crowd in his press conference with Imran Khan. Prime Minister Modi was scathing in his attack on terrorism and his comment that time had now come to take decisive action against the perpetrators reverberated with everyone in the large audience and received a standing ovation.

When it came to the subject of section 370 Prime Minister Modi very clearly stated that in accordance with democratic principles this was debated at length by both houses of parliament in televised debates that who watched around the world and it was only after these debates that the law was passed with the two third majority. In multiple languages, in a matter of fact way, Mr Modi communicated to Mr Trump and other leaders that “all is well” in India. This was also a communication to the few leaders who have been “parroting” the Pakistan line of thinking.

At the end his speech, Mr Modi walked across to Mr Trump and holding his hand, took the President for a victory lap around the stadium.

This was Mr Modi’s way of demonstrating the soft power of India with the most powerful man in the universe and getting his implied assent on the various points that Prime Minister Modi raised in his speech. It would not be surprising if we see President Trump and the First Lady as the Chief Guests at India’s Republic Day on 26th January 2020.

Clearly Mr Modi has staked a lot on building very strong bonds with America and Mr Trump. Assuming that Mr Trump will be elected again, he can become for India what Nixon was to China. If that happens, India will be well on its way to becoming a US$ 10 trillion economy and all of us will have Mr Modi to thank for.

In his second term Prime Minister Modi is a man in a hurry to take all the tough decisions early in his term. Whether we love him or hate him, he has more than 56 months before he seeks election again for a third term.

This is enough time to implement and see the results of all the changes he has made since 2014 to Make India Great Again.

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The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers.

Watch our podcasts at www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

Attributes of your Personal Brand

 

6. The Brand Called You (low res)

Your personal brand is composed of many attributes that help to define you. These attributes are partially how you see yourself and partially how you think others see you. Your thoughts and perceptions are ratified through the people you interact with or the consumers who come in contact with Brand You.

If you think of yourself as a brand, you are no different from anyone else who believes in leaving their name as a legacy in this world. A strong personal brand must have several attributes. The combination of physical form, your qualifications and your achievements are the skeleton, the flesh, blood and muscles of Brand You. These attributes coupled with your skills, intelligence and wisdom, is your persona.

Your persona, Brand You, will define how you will be perceived by your audience and in the rest of your world.

You need to consider the following eight attributes to understand and evaluate your personal brand and to understand how Brand You measures up against each. These attributes are as applicable to the brand of your company, your product, your service as they are to your personal brand.

  1. Relevance.

A strong brand must be relevant in the context of bridging customer expectations and supplier deliverables.

You need to be relevant for others if you expect them to give you a share of their already cluttered mind. How can you be relevant to someone?

Within a family or your circle of friends you could be relevant as the head of the family, the primary bread winner or a trusted member of the community. In an organisation, you could be a person who others can trust.

  1. Consistency.

Consistency in a brand is seen when you communicate your message in a way that does not deviate from the core brand proposition.

While our personal brand must always be seen to convey a consistent message, we are human beings and we will bring in our personal biases in our interactions. It is important to remember that what is consistent for someone could be completely inconsistent for someone else.

Do you change dramatically between times when you are happy and stressed? Think about whether your behaviour consistent in times of stress and whether you can be relied upon especially in times of stress?

The consistency of your persona is what others look for in you.

  1. Proper Positioning.

A strong brand should be positioned so that it makes a place in the mind of the target audience.

Each one of us believes we understand how we are being seen or perceived by others. We are always looking for a reinforcement of these beliefs in our interactions with others. Think of all the times you have looked at your friends and family for a tacit or express approval of your actions. You need to understand why your consumers should prefer Brand You over others.

Understanding and accepting where our perceptions differ from what we see, hear and experience is necessary for us to work on making changes in the perception of our brand.

  1. Sustainable.

A sustainable brand drives an organization towards innovation and success. A sustainable personal brand will survive in the long run.

Your personal brand has to be sustainable and ensure the consumer remains attracted to it over time, resulting in repeat purchase or repeat contact.

You, knowingly or unknowingly, keep sending out signals and impressions about yourself to the people and the World around you. These signals are both positive and negative.

  1. Credibility.

A strong brand must be credible. It needs to deliver all the attributes that it has promised.

The way you communicate your brand to your audience and your customers should be realistic. It should not fail or appear to fail to deliver what it promises. Do not exaggerate the attributes of Brand You or overstate the performance you can deliver. Your customers want to believe in the promises you make to them and do not want to be disappointed.

It is better to under promise and over deliver rather than the other way around.

  1. Inspirational.

A strong inspirational brand should transcend the category it is famous for.

When inspirational people speak, the audience listens with rapt attention. Their communication skills are outstanding. Many corporate leaders and political leaders are very inspirational speakers and have a very large following not just among their employees or their political parties but across boundaries of companies, parties and possibly across several countries.

The challenge most of them face on a regular basis is how to keep saying inspirational things to keep their brand value consistently high.

  1. Uniqueness.

A strong personal brand should be unique and different from competition. It should set you apart in a clear and unambiguous manner.

It is important for you to understand all the areas where you believe you are unique before you are able to leverage your uniqueness.

  1. Appealing.

A strong brand should be attractive and appealing.

Your appeal will have rational and emotional elements. There are people who talk down to you and make it known that they are superior to you. Do you find such people appealing to you in any way and would you make any effort to communicate with them?

How you choose to present your attributes will determine how your audience perceives you. Perception is what will drive the value of your brand leading to your acceptance or rejection from the community you choose to live in or be a part of.

The appealing characteristics of Brand You will always attract your audience as you work towards leaving your legacy.

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The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers. 

Watch our podcasts at www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com 

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

Café Coffee Day – Successful Model with a Lonely Entrepreneur

“It is a lonely job at the top” is a statement that has been spoken for a very long time over the past few decades and we saw one more example of a distressed entrepreneur taking the extreme step. 

Café Coffee Day is a classical example of a successful business model with a high profile and celebrated promoter who was possibly a very lonely human being with no one to share his inner most feelings of distress, loneliness and possibly depression. 

The challenges being faced by the group of companies are not over – by exiting from the scene, Mr Siddhartha has shifted the onus of resolving his challenges to his family and the board of directors of his multiple businesses. He built a very strong brand and created job opportunities for thousands of people. More importantly, he will be remembered by the millions of customers who discovered friendships, relationships, startups, business ventures and the social relationships over a cup of coffee at his stores. 

A lot has been spoken and written about the financial liabilities of the group and the asset base of the business. Allegations have been traded between political parties trying to gain some political advantage out of this tragedy.  

A few businessmen, possibly facing financial pressures in their own businesses, have started making allegations against the Government because of the alleged undue pressures of the Government agencies. Have these individuals thought of their retraction if actual financial irregularities are found? 

Audits and forensic audits will be undertaken. Investigative agencies will have to do their job. The Board of Directors of the various group companies will need to do a lot of introspection and seek answers.  The Private Equity investors who have supported these businesses will have their own perspectives to offer. The answers will emerge in the next few months and it is only after that should our political and business pandits start their pontification and give their opinions. 

Nothing can bring back the individual. The loss to the family and the organisation is final.  

It is important at this time to sit back and think of a much wider malaise that is affecting the entrepreneurial community. Why is it that 9 out of 10 startups fail? How much money do these failed businesses lose? All this money comes from the promoters’ own hard-earned earnings, from friends and family and from Angel investors. A few startups manage to raise money from private equity investors. When businesses fail, all these investors lose their money. 

To the entrepreneurs, failure of their business is a quadruple whammy.  

  • First is the loss of confidence since they have not been able to deliver on their dreams.
  • Second is the loss of all the investment made by each stakeholder.
  • Third is the pressure from creditors, employees, Government agencies and financial institutions who start to demand their money. 
  • Fourth is the negative coverage of a failure by our revered Fourth estate. 

Where does the entrepreneur go? Bankruptcy, though now available for companies, is a very cumbersome process. Personal bankruptcy commonly accepted in the developed economies is not an option to Indian businessmen. This law needs to be made more friendly for entrepreneurs in distress. Individuals need to feel comfortable to reach out for protection under this law rather than “fear the consequences.” 

Entrepreneurial depression is a serious issue that confronts every Startup Promoter. Let us look at some of the reasons why Entrepreneurs reach such a challenging situation. 

1.    Business idea is flawed: Ideas could be well ahead of their time in a market not ready to accept it or ideas could be significantly behind the stage the market is in. If the business itself is suspect, there is really no hope for the Startup. If the customer does not buy your idea, no matter how smart or good it may be, the startup is doomed from the very start.  

2.    Funding is Insufficient: Most startups bootstrap their early months / years till they are able to raise funding. The moment funds are received, it has generally been seen that the expenses of the organisation increase in a ratio completely out of proportion of the business of the company. Once overheads are built up, it is very difficult to pull back. A lot of time is spent trying to keep raising funding to keep the business going. When funding starts to dry up, the business starts to flounder. A common reason given for pulling down shutters is “we never had enough money in the bank!”  

3.    Diversion of Funds into areas not intended: This is a very common reason for businesses running out of money. No one is questioning promoters where all the funds taken from banks as loans has been used. If loans are taken and they are meant for growth of the business, why do businesses reach a situation where they cannot even pay the interest? If there is strong evidence to establish that an entrepreneur has misused, diverted or embezzled funds, the strongest possible action must be taken against such individuals.   

4.    Burn Rate is too high: Most founders underestimate their “burn” rate. Burn, very simply put is the amount of cash you are spending every month. Once the company starts to earn from its business, burn can be classified as spend minus the earnings. Therefore, if there is a constant burn in the startup, funds need to come from equity to meet cash flow requirements. The longer the period of the burn, the more difficult it is to raise new funding. 

5.    High cost of Acquiring a Customer: Remember that the Cost of Acquiring a Customer must never be greater than the Lifetime Value of the Customer. Most startups believe that this equation will gradually change in their favour. They also wrongly believe that Lifetime Value of a Customer is the top line earned and not the profit from the revenue. 

6.    Weak Management Teams: Many promoters start with friends as their team members instead of bringing in strong management teams. Weak or in-disciplined management teams have weak execution and their insecurity perpetuates the challenge faced by the startup when they bring in even weaker team members down the line. This leads to a domino effect and does insurmountable harm to the young startup. 

7.    Scaling Up: A big reason for losses is when a startup scales up before it has established its business plan in a smaller and more controllable environment. Conversely, startups have failed because they have not scaled up fast enough. There is really no right or wrong answer when it comes to building a startup. 

8.    Getting a Coach or a Mentor: Most entrepreneurs are lonely people and while they have the ability to hire a business coach who could function as a friend, philosopher and guide without any agendas, they are either not aware of this input they can seek or have a sense of “know it all” bravado. The young and abrasive energy of a startup founder needs tempering with the wisdom of an older manager. Bringing together the vision of the Startup Entrepreneur and the experience of an older manager in an unobtrusive and non-threatening manner will prove to be very helpful. In addition to watching the back of the startup entrepreneur and guiding him when the ship hits troubled waters, such individuals will also bring in strong subject matter knowledge, from their respective domains.  

There is a hot new startup that is being seeded by its founder and breaking out of its incubator every so often each day and yet there is another startup that has had its place in the sun and basked in its glory and is quietly riding off into the sunset. 

We need to create an environment that certainly applauds successes but does not punish failures. Otherwise, people will stop nurturing entrepreneurial dreams and this can be a serious challenge for any economy.  

Unless there is support system for entrepreneurs to handle failure, entrepreneurs will continue to take steps to mitigate their losses and save their businesses. When nothing works, we need to prevent them from taking any extreme steps. 

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The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers. 

Watch our podcasts at www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com  

  • Twitter: @gargashutosh
  • Instagram: ashutoshgarg56
  • Blog: ashutoshgargin.wordpress.com | ashutoshgarg56.blogspot.com

Tackling Loneliness in Retirement

2. Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire Managing Retirement in the Twenty First Century

Loneliness is a big problem at any age and in retirement with a loss of self-worth accompanied with stresses related to financial security, loneliness can be a serious problem.

Social isolation and loneliness are well known as causes of depression, mental health problems and physical illness. They are conditions usually associated with older people, who may experience the profoundly isolating effects of retirement, loss of a partner and children moving away.

There have been several cases where loneliness has led to depression, high blood pressure and other psychosomatic illnesses. Those retirees who are married at least have a companion but for those retirees who have remained single or have separated or have lost their spouse, the problems of loneliness get compounded very significantly.

Loneliness is something that often creeps up on people in retirement. Loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity, according to researchers who found that feelings of isolation can have a devastating impact on older people.

Even the most gregarious and sociable of people can find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of feeling lonely and isolated, and this in turn can lead to depression. Often loneliness comes from the death of a spouse, the loss of close friends, or the development of a debilitating illness – all things that we don’t want to think about, but unfortunately are inevitable as we get older.

Retirees sometimes go through multiple changes in their lives that contribute to loneliness in a relatively short period of time.

  1. Adult children move out of the house and sometimes far away from home
  1. Around the same time, people lose their ready-made social circle at work. Most people have not taken the trouble to create a social network outside work while were working and to try and break into an existing social network post retirement is challenging to say the least.
  1. It is not uncommon to lose a partner at some point during the later years of life. Loss of a spouse is seen as one of the top traumas a human being experiences in one’s life.

People who are socially comfortable and well-connected may easily make new friends, but if you are socially awkward and have traditionally found it difficult to make friends you need to find structured activities that will help you to create social contacts.

It only takes a little effort to make new friends and stave off those feelings of loneliness that can be so damaging to your mental health in retirement. What’s more, there is growing evidence that social isolation is connected with an increased risk of physical ill health as well, so combating loneliness may also improve your health too.

An increasing number of senior retirees have only got their television for company and this is a serious challenge that we need to address. Is there no way that we can engage with these elderly citizens so that they live the remaining years in contact with a few people?

“Human contact is my oxygen. I try to keep myself occupied but the chance of human contact is more important than anything to me. The touch of another human being is more so” said one person when he was talking to me.

“It makes me feel sad. I no longer feel of use to society but much of the time I mask my feelings with a mindset to keep going. People tell me that I am lucky to have my memories but this doesn’t help. I want to make the most of my life now” said another.

After speaking to several very elderly retirees, I found that they missed the all-important social contact with their friends and family. As they grew older and as one or both of them slowed down and were not able to reciprocate the social niceties that had done all their lives, they could see that gradually they were dropped from their social circle and the invitations dropped off. It reached a stage where they would see no one except their domestic staff for many weeks at a time.

We have read so many cases of police finding the body of a senior citizen in their home when the neighbours complained of a “foul smell” from the apartment. Nothing could emphasise the seriousness of loneliness of an elderly retiree than a person who has died alone with no one to attend to them for possibly, several days.

Loneliness is contagious. Older adults who feel lonely are more prone to behave in ways that may cause other people to not want to be around them.

A recent survey revealed that while only 10 percent of Indian seniors living in joint families felt isolated, nearly 68 percent of those living with nuclear families reported loneliness. The survey also found that older people living in rural areas have more social interactions and feel the pain of loneliness less in comparison to the urban elderly. It was also found that older Indian men are more prone to isolation than older women.

Tackling loneliness

Based on discussions with some care givers to the elderly and infirm, the following were some of the points that came up to tackle loneliness.

  • Stay Social – Maintain long-standing relationships to combat loneliness. Reconnect with friends with whom you have lost touch and establish regular routines with friends near you. Join social networking websites to get re-acquainted with people from your past. Long-standing relationships are more beneficial in fighting loneliness than new friendships. Senior citizens living in condominiums have managed to find a way to stay social and several resident welfare associations have provided for specific areas where the senior citizens can sit together for a cup of coffee every morning and evening.
  • Explore New Interests – As a retiree, you probably have less commitments and obligations. Take advantage of this to explore your interests, whether you are volunteering at the local school, joining a book club, playing an instrument or writing. The activity is not as important as the meaningful interactions you will have with other people as you develop a whole new circle of friends of all ages, who like you, have a similar interest.
  • Stay Positive – Talking to yourself to challenge your pessimistic or negative thoughts has been found to be very effective. Perceived loneliness is often due to incorrect or irrational interpretations of current life situations. Identify these thoughts and argue against them, utilizing contrary evidence. If this is difficult or you need assistance, you can work with a counsellor or with a friend who you can trust. 
  • Get a Pet – A dog or a cat have been known to be great companions for lonely people. If you and your spouse like a pet and are willing to take on the responsibility of looking after another living being then bring a pet into your home.

Mother Teresa had once said that “loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty”.

While the developed economies have understood the loneliness needs of the retirees and the senior citizens, we have yet to get an appreciation of their needs in India. We assume that once a person has retired, he / she will be happy with their television sets watching “serials” and have some of their friends for company. We need to watch and listen more. Older people often claim they are fine, and they don’t want to be a burden but most people need human contact.

Older people are a treasure and should be treated as such.

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The author is a Business and Executive Coach, a Storyteller and an Angel Investor. He hosts the highly successful podcast titled The Brand Called You. A keen political observer and commentator, he is also the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies. He is the author of 6 best-selling books and writes for several online newspapers. 

Watch our podcasts at www.tbcy.in | www.equationcoaching.com

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