New Delhi Diary – April 2020

India No.1 superpower?

Most ‘thinking Indians’ have one question: When will our country be the number one economic superpower? Well, it does not seem that we will have to wait for long. The PwC, an international professional services firm, says that within the next 30 years, the world’s largest economic powers will be those that are emerging today, surpassing the current behemoths like the US, Japan and Germany. By 2050, the global economy will be double in size. And the happy news is that the firm predicts that India will be the second largest economy after China. The US will be relegated to third position. They predict that the top 10 economic powers in the world over the next 30 years will be China, India, the US, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Germany, and the UK, in that order.

The question stands: When will India become the No.1 economic superpower? Well, there is no answer yet. Perhaps, we will have a more definitive answer when we are the No.2 economic superpower!

The most influential people

HH the 14th Dalai Lama has once again been voted as the most influential person in the world in 2020. The list was compiled by London’s oldest bookshop, Watkins, that has been compiling this list since 2011 and publishing it in the magazine, Watkins Mind Body Spirit. The magazine reports that HH the Dalai Lama’s influence cuts across continents, religion and race. The other top influencers include Pope Francis, Greta Thunberg, Eckhart Tolle, and Oprah Winfrey. The most influential Buddhist leaders in the world are listed as HH the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Robert Thurman, Pema Chodron, and Ajahn Brahm.

This list is compiled using multiple different metrics and qualifications. There are several other organisations that compile their own list of the most influential persons and these lists differ vastly.

Lessons from Covid-19

We Indians are not only an argumentative lot but also an unruly one. However, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have suddenly changed our erratic ways and behaviour. To begin with, we must admit that the countrywide lockdown has given us a sense of discipline and hope that if we follow the guidelines, we could contain the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondly, we Indians have come to learn the value of time, and how ‘a lot of time’ at home can be well-spent in doing what one has not been able do all these years. And thirdly, as a little birdie says, “When and where do we get such a long period of the whole family staying together and enjoying a curfew-ed life”!   

City spends a day laughing!

I had a funny but greatly enjoyable day recently in the city. Thanks to Khushwant Singh Humour Festival that was organised by stand-up comedian Maheep Singh. The idea behind the show was to let people vent their pent-up feelings and frustrations of their daily lives. And it seemed to have been a great success as people swore that they were extremely happy at the end of the two-day festival.

Maheep Singh said, “We are all here to cheer up and celebrate life even though there is too much of violence all around.” Several stand-up comedians like Amit Tandon, Rahul Ram, Danish Hussain, Rajneesh Kapoor, and Gurshiman Khamba ensured that the audience laughed “their hearts out” endlessly. The good news is that the city is going to have more such events managed by different organisations. This kind of stand-up “comedy culture” has become a part of the city’s ‘must-have’ events because of their popularity among the youth and senior citizens. While the youth find it “great to take part in”, the elderly find such events better than other events that “lack a direct appeal”!

Tailpiece:

Coronavirus found Donald Trump quite lost, and in a sad mood. Coronavirus laughed and laughed endlessly till Trump asked in great agitation: Why are you laughing at me like that?

Coronavirus laughed again, and said, “Why are you so helpless? Where are your fighter jets, missiles and nuclear weapons?”

By P. P. Wangchuk

P. P. Wangchuk is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker

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