Want to be a part of making India a superpower? Rake a pledge here: Yes, I Pledge
The genuine drive to do something for oneself and the world at large lies in a handful of people, but without the correct direction, this purpose could die down.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can.”
The Repos founders were lucky enough to get the best mentors that the industry has to offer. One of these mentors who guided Repos in the correct direction was Dr. Radhakrishna Pillai, India’s premier corporate mentor who has dabbled in every field from politics to academics to athletics, defence, and so many more. Even though he addresses the Repos Team periodically, rejuvenating us with motivation and knowledge, he came back recently to speak to Repos Founder Aditi Bhosle Walunj. Check out what he had to say about India becoming a Superpower in the next twenty five years.
What do you think about India’s journey in the last 25 years?
“There are two Indias. The India that has been existing for centuries and the India that is now post-independence. What we talk about is the new India of 75 years. So let me tell you that after 1947 we had lots of challenges as a new nation. It was not easy. We were a war-torn country; India was divided into two countries. So we had a lot of problems. So we did not have food to eat. If you remember there was a generation left with no rationing of milk and food. The population grew four times from 30 crores. It went to 130 crores. The education level wasn’t very high. So I always say that at the administrative level, at the political level, at the policy level, there are a lot of challenges. Yet the good news is that India has always been on a growth trajectory. Not only did the population grow, but our education also grew. Today we are atma nirbhar in many fields. A country which imports food today is exporting food. Today we are food surplus.
As you know we never had enough energy. And we are now thinking about how we can become the energy leaders of the world. Look at it very positively. In spite of all the challenges, in 75 years we have only grown as a nation. Be it literacy, be it education, be it research. And of course, today in the nation there are a lot of billionaires. I look very positively, as a civilization, as a country and a culture, the last 75 years we have only grown significantly and we should be proud of its achievements.”
When you say that India’s future belongs to its past, what exactly do you mean and what is it that you want us to do for this?
India’s future is dependent on its past. No other culture in the world can actually claim the kind of past that we have. We talk about Bharat being sone ki chidiya. We were the wealthiest part of the world. 34-35% of the world GDP came from India. Even though we are not currently the world’s number one economy, everything that we did is documented and kept in the libraries. There are two things we should always remember about the past. Number one, we had a spiritual culture. And second, we also had a materialistic culture. Now what do you mean by a materialistic culture? There are a lot of economic models that our country had. Like we had a family economy, we had a village economy, we had a temple economy. That is the reason why we are the richest part of the world. And we actually did research on every field, be it chemistry, be it music, be it business. We had our own models and our rishis (saints). Our forefathers actually documented everything. For example, the book that I studied, Kautilya’s Arthashastra or Chanakya Niti, as we say, they’re all documented. So Mahabharat, Ramayan, and the Vedas everything is there. So if you want to go ahead, just go and look at those books. All the systems and processes are documented. We have to just modify so we can go back to Arthashastra, pick up the management and leadership ideas and modify the present. That’s why I said our generation is very lucky. So what should we do? We should go to the past, look at the records, look at the books. But remember, we should never glorify the past too much. That is getting stuck in time.
If there are only three lessons that we can learn from our past, what should they be?
So I would say three lessons are: number one, India’s complete culture, spiritual culture. We gave the whole world what we call yoga. Today we can see that being celebrated as International Yoga Day. So, spiritual culture, the greatest gift from India to the world is meditation. India discovered the whole process of meditation. But a lot of people have a misunderstanding that spirituality and materialism don’t go hand in hand.
The second thing is that we are also successful as a wealthy nation. So making money and wealth is not bad. But with the spiritual base, we should make money. I have to use two Sanskrit words, Artha and Adhyatma (wealth and spirituality). We always created wealth not for selfish reasons, but for the whole society.
Third, and the most important thing, Indians were always practical. Great saints like Swami Vivekananda believe in practicality. I’ll give you an example, you know, When Swami Vivekananda had gone to America for the very famous Parliament of Religions, in the same ship, the founder of Tata group, Jamshedji Tata also travelled along with him and they discussed a lot of practical ideas of how India should become an industrialised nation.
Not many people know about it. Tata Group, the seed capital of ideas came from Swami Vivekananda. You know what he said? He said we should have a world-class research institution to become a world leader because India was lacking behind in industrialization during those days. And the Tata group started the Indian Institute of Science. So everybody knows about the story of Taj Group of Hotels, it was their iconic hotel of that generation,India’s answer to the world but not many people know that we were the first country also to move forward in research and scientific research. Indian science in Bangalore was started by Jamshedji Tata himself and Swami Vivekananda. So I would say the three takeaways were India’s spirituality, India is materially successful and India is also very practical. And every generation has to be very, very practical. We adapt to all the changes today. If you look at the pandemic, I think no other nation would have adapted to the digital world the way we have. We run the digital companies of the world. Be it Google, be it Microsoft and even for that matter Twitter. So we are very easily adapted to change as this change is only constant and we know how to practically adapt to change.”
Do you think that India can become a superpower?
“India is a superpower. It is not becoming, it is being.
How do you define a superpower? Is it a military mindset with a lot of missiles and weapons? Or is it the economy? In fact, according to many people, superpower is the way to rule the minds of people. So today Google is a superpower or Twitter is a superpower. So if you look at India and Indians have already conquered the world. So let me give you a small idea. If you look at yoga, imagine almost 200 countries have adapted it as a regular practice at individual level. So when the International Yoga Day comes, it is not one country, it’s all the countries in the world that practice yoga at the individual level. The schools across the globe are actually studying Sanskrit and Indians are ruling the globe in a lot of the companies. And I’m not even talking about America. I know managing directors in countries like Vietnam, in Singapore, in Fiji island, more than 100 plus countries have Indian leaders already there. So what do you define by superpower? Is it that only one place will be in power? No, India’s biggest power is knowledge power. I repeat, India’s biggest power is knowledge power.
And we were blessed with ages that we always focused on knowledge. So according to me superpower is the power of knowledge. And India is already there.”
65% of our population is between the age group of 25 to 35. What are the three practical suggestions that you will give them?
“Three basic tips for the youth of India? As you said, 65% are below 35 years. The first thing is to practise meditation every day. Believe me, the power of meditation is very different. We do a lot of rituals. We do puja and everything. But to sit down quietly and think and sometimes not thinking is also a power by itself. And in fact today we are called the knowledge workers of the world. But if your mind and intellect is not calm and quiet, you cannot operate.
You should make money, the Indian youth should be the richest in the world. We should aim to be billionaires. But the foundation should be ethics and values.
Therefore they say have values before you create valuables. Everybody talks about valuation of companies. And the whole youth of our country is into startup culture. Absolutely brilliant! Don’t just start but flourish.
The first is to meditate, the second is to make a lot of wealth. and the third and the most important is give back to society after you create wealth. We can engage with the power game. There should be joy in giving back to society. Philanthropy is not new to India but we have to redefine philosophy. We were a poor nation. Now very soon we’ll become the richest nation in the world. At that time, don’t forget to give back. So, three things….meditate, create lots of good money for the society, and finally give back to the society. These are the three things.”
Can we be the Vijigishu of the world? Or create the Vijigishus of the world? If yes, how? Can you just explain about this in some details?
“Yeah. So let me explain the concept of Vijigishu. As you rightly pointed out, that is a concept that has been there in our country for centuries. If you study the Mahabharata, if you look at the Pandavas becoming the leaders, they were not just leaders or kings of Hastinapur, they were the leaders of the world. So we have no idea. So the science of leadership is ruling the whole world, the whole earth. But we think that leadership is in one country, one small place. No… And we don’t have to kill and conquer people to become leaders. If you look at Gautam Buddha, he had travelled to many countries and he also became a spiritual leader, the concept is Raja Rishi (Sage King) a king with a spiritual base. Coming back to your question about Vijigishu. It is a very prominent idea given by Chanakya. As you have already studied it. It is becoming a world leader, Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya. He did not train him to become leader of India, he trained him to become leader of the world. So my suggestion to the youth of India is to become world leaders in whichever field you choose. I’ll give you a simple example. Let’s say you are playing cricket or any other sport. Is it wrong to go and aim for a gold medal in the Olympics? That should be your target.There is nothing wrong.Why only win a national medal?Go and win a gold medal internationally.And that happened in badminton just yesterday,you know? In every field, the film world we are already ruling but let us have that spirit. Unfortunately, we don’t have a strategy on how to become a Vijigishu. And that’s where Chanakya comes in. So only dreams are not enough, sometimes dreams and goals can become fantasies. Along with that aim to become a world leader we should also have a roadmap, and Chanakya as a strategist has prepared the roadmap. So my suggestions: everybody should aim to become a Vijigishu in your own field. The second important thing you ask is that will India become a Vijigishu 2030? The answer is no. India will become Vijigishu before 2030.
India will become a world leader in the year 2025.”