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BY: JAYANTA GHOSAL
I am a human being – Homo sapiens. But does that mean I am poor, brutish, nasty and small? That is what Thomas Hobbes had thought. Machiavelli’s prince had also said that if you want to control people, the masses, the electorate – then you’ve to keep a whip in your hand like the ringmaster in a circus. Only a strong leader can control the mobocracy.
The great Indian political circus has also had several Prime Ministers. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi. Each Prime Minister is unique The modus operandi is different. In 2014 when Modi entered Lutyen’s Delhi, the popular perception was that a strong man has arrived. Like the arrival of James Bond, after the World War II to dispel the darkness of the depressed British masses. Plato had preached that for a philosopher king who would also be the representative of God – that he will bring justice to mankind.
Today in a democracy, we chose our leader through the process of election. There is no monarch. Nor do we have a philosopher leader like S. Radhakrishnan. We have Modi and the popular perception persists that he is a ‘strong leader’. At the eve of another election, the discourse on strong leadership has started again. But we need to understand that strong leader doesn’t mean an undemocratic leader. I think that even in a coalition government one needs a strong leadership to run the coalition. A strong leader does not mean that he will be blunt to the ideas of others – that he or she will not listen to the voice of the people. Rather, if you want to frame policies, you’ve to talk to experts, bureaucrats and even other people.
After getting 282 seats, was Modi reluctant to listen any other opinion?
I think this belief is absolutely wrong. I know his style of functioning and I can say, bluntly, that each and every day he spoke to several people on different subjects. In Lutyen’s Delhi, there is a wrong perception that he takes his own decision – this isn’t correct. In Delhi, he begins his daily routine with briefing meetings. Principal Secretary Nripendra Mishra meets him first. Then P.K. Mishra and other PMO officials. He talks to his PS and APSs daily. Then, the PM conducts video conferences with his department secretaries. He would also hold such conferences with state government officials.
He also has his own unique way of taking inputs from the feedback from the ground; a team, a set-up that isn’t just restricted to social media like Twitter or Facebook. He seeks opinion from the chaupals of different villages. Before the declaration of the election, he conducted a review meeting. The PMO wanted to know the status of implementation of different Government of India schemes in the country’s 29 states and 7 union territories.
It is true that Modi didn’t encourage the Dalal Raj of the political system. In Maharashtra, what is the reason for the deteriorating relationship between Uddhav and Modi took in the past 5 years? Was it ideological? Was it the just the BJP’s single party mindset? An arrogance of big brotherhood? The informed political circle know that the actual reason is because Shiv Sena couldn’t get the malai of Delhi’s power. It started with the Mumbai corporation and ended in a cabinet birth for Shiv Sena.
When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, Balasaheb quarrelled on several issues. But the supply line for Shiv Sena was never disturbed. Vajpayee was the first NDA PM in 1998. The Vajpayee era could easily be said as the beginning of the ‘swarna yug’ of Indian economy. It was under his leadership that India went for Pokhran 2, but was he a strong leader? The Indian mythology of strong leadership would dictate that he wasn’t.
Vajpayee was, after all, a man of political consensus. How can such a leader be characterised as strong? Here lies the fallacy. Once the late Pramod Mahajan of the BJP told me: “Do you know what is our major problem in this party and government? And what is the advantage the Gandhi family of the Congress have?” He explained: “In our party it is a tyranny of democracy. Vajpayee may be the leader but there is an oligarchy. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha. And beyond these leaders there is Nagpur. Humhara yaha fayasla lenese jada chintan manthan hota haye!”
In congress there is a working committee but only one Gandhi will take the final call. Nobody can object. Sharad Pawar and Purno Sangma raised issues and they had to leave the party. Only once Vajpayee did not disclose the decision to Advani also — and that was the Pokhran blast and that event made Indian leadership strong! See, Advani pressurised Vajpayee to hold general election six months early. And Vajpayee accepted. He lost the election.
Can anybody dictate Modi like this today?
In the party national executive meeting held at Palampur (Himachal Pradesh), the BJP leadership led by Advani took the resolution in 1989 to start Ramjanmabhomi movement. Vajpayee objected but he was a loner and a minority voice. Now this model of Vajpayee leadership is desirable? When a General cannot issue order to his soldiers forcefully? Second, when you are a victim of political blackmail. P.V. Narasimha Rao had to manage JMM MPs to win the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha. How can he be the strong man? Manmohan Singh did not like it, but chargesheeted Lalu Prasad was in his cabinet. I recall that once, while accompanying him during a trip, he said on record that keeping Lalu in cabinet is coalition compulsion. Manmohan Singh wanted to go to Pakistan to talk. The party said no. How can he be a strong leader?
Today we need a strong leader and strong nation. But this doesn’t mean that it has to be against the culture of political pluralism. Such a leader need not be against federalism, need not run an unitary government. Our Constitution suggests a quasi-federal structure, and such a leader can be a symbol of that political entropy. But creating a hate campaign against Modi, projecting him as an autocrat – is that democracy? Actually, till today, I have not seen one Devkant Baruah statement in the BJP saying ‘Modi is India’. (IANS)
On 2nd of December, India observes 'National Pollution Control Day' in remembrance of the people who lost their lives in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The incident which affected over half a million people, occurred during the night of 2nd and 3rd December 1984. The leakage of gas from the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal is considered as one of the worst industrial disasters in the world. Around half a million people were exposed to the highly toxic Methyl Isocyanate gas which resulted in some losing their lives immediately, while others suffered major injuries. The cause behind the disaster is still under debate. According to the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), it happened due to an act of sabotage.
Apart from the tragedy that happened. The day is, also, a symbol of the deteriorating state of environment. It is the need of the hour to curb and take necessary steps in order to survive. Human foot-print is turning out to be nothing but negative on the planet earth. The pollution from any human activity is not only adversely affecting the planet but no stringent measures are in place to curb the damage caused.
“Environmental pollution is a result of human activity and the development that occurs when physical, biological and chemical agents are released to the environment in such quantities that the pollution adversely affects human health and damages the environment.” The major kinds of pollution are water pollution, soil pollution, air pollution and noise pollution.
Water Pollution – Harmful chemical waste is released from factories into water bodies or rivers, which then flow and end up in seas and oceans. A lot of plastic and other waste also, end up in rivers because of littering. These affect the marine ecosystem. Fishes or other marine animals may eat and choke on them or not be able to digest them.
Fishes swimming in polluted water | Unsplash
Soil or Land Pollution – This kind of pollution is partially linked to water pollution. When the polluted water from water bodies seep into the surrounding land, it gets polluted. Littering is a major cause of soil pollution. The chemical pesticides used in agriculture at times become pollutants.
Air Pollution – Toxic fumes and harmful gases that are emitted from factories and automobiles contribute greatly to this type of pollution. The presence of chemical constituents in high amount in the air is bad for the human body. It can cause lung cancer, heart diseases, respiratory disease and neonatal disorders.
Also Read : Poor air quality in Delhi
Huge amount of polluted gases being released into the environment from a factory | Unsplash
Noise Pollution – Speakers or sound systems blaring over the decibel limit contribute to this kind of pollution. Loud noises from firecrackers are also a part of this. These affect the ability to hear, not just of humans but also other animals.
There are a lot of things that we can do to lessen the amount of pollution caused. The following are a few of them:
- Stop littering
- Use trashcans to throw away garbage
- If possible, the trash should be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable and treated accordingly
- Not waste electricity, turn off appliances and lights when not in use
- Switch to other forms of renewable energies, like the solar energy
- Use lesser amount of plastic and try to recycle whatever is absolutely necessary
- The cars should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that they do not release toxic fumes
- If possible, carpool or even better, use the public transport
- Using paper bags
- Using rechargeable batteries
Recently, a lot of brands and products are trying to be more considerate towards the environment. A particular skincare brand has started selling their products in paper tubes instead of plastic ones. Some companies are selling one-time use pens without the plastic body, the refills are instead wrapped in paper.
We have to follow the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle in order to cut down on the amount of waste that we generate.
(Keywords : Pollution, Prevention, India, Chemicals, Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution, Noise Pollution, Reuse, Recycle, Climate)
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One of the world's largest hotel franchising company, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, with approximately 9,000 hotels in nearly 95 countries, continues to expand its presence in India with the addition of four new hotels under the Ramada, Howard Johnson by Wyndham, and upscale Wyndham brands in sought-after and culturally-rich destinations such as Jaipur, Varanasi, Mohali, and Udaipur.
The new properties will bring Wyndham's total number of hotels in India to 50, and they are part of the company's ongoing commitment to the sub-Indian continent's growth, with about 30 hotels in the pipeline, eight of which are anticipated to open in 2022 alone.
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Indra, Panos Loupasis, Vice President Development for Middle East, Eurasia & Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts EMEA, said: "One of the fastest growing economies in the world, India brings immense potential for hospitality. These four new openings represent a significant milestone in our continued growth objectives to bring even more accommodation options all across the country. We look forward to continuing our strong growth trajectory here and in the wider Indian sub-continent and making travel possible for all in such a beautiful and diverse region.
Also Read : Hotel occupancy has grown to 35% in November 2020
The latest additions in India include:
Wyndham Chandigarh Mohali
Opened in October, this upscale hotel offers 80 guest rooms, three on-site eateries, a full-service spa with a heated indoor pool, steam room, sauna, and fitness centre and salon. The property also features a business centre and a wide event space for up to 1,200 guests. Conveniently located within direct access to the city centre and just 11 kilometres from Chandigarh International Airport, the hotel's guests can easily reach the nearby Elante shopping mall and the 11-acre Mohali Golf Range.
Inside of a hotel | Unsplash
Ramada by Wyndham Varanasi Katesar
Located in Varanasi, regarded as the spiritual capital and with world-renowned architecture, temples, and palaces, the 68-room hotel features a contemporary design and top-class amenities, including a gourmet restaurant and cocktail bar, and a modern spa with a swimming pool and fitness centre. The property opened earlier this month and also features four generously sized meeting rooms and access to Varanasi's business highway.
Ramada by Wyndham Jaipur North
Expected to open in December, the 107-room hotel will be the perfect getaway to experience Jaipur's colourful architecture, impressive City Palace, old bazaars, and Hawa Mahal, offering guests easy access to Jaipur Airport and the modern city centre. The hotel will boast a spa, an outdoor pool, a gourmet restaurant, and a seasonal rooftop overlooking the city. In addition, It will offer ample event space, including four meeting rooms and a theatre, to accommodate over 400 guests.
Howard Johnson by Wyndham Udaipur Roop Nagar
Expected to open by the end of the year, the contemporary, 94-room hotel features a wellness spa facility and a rooftop infinity pool overlooking Udaipur, also known as the "City of Lakes". Ideal for business travellers, the hotel offers an impressive business centre, meeting rooms, and banquet halls measuring more than 3,000 square feet. This amenity-rich hotel is perfectly positioned to explore one of India's most popular cities, with easy access to the World Heritage Site of Udaipur Palace, Lake Pichola, and Fateh Sagar Lake, which boast panoramic views of the Aravalli Mountain Ranges. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Wyndham, India, economy, hospitality, milestone, Mohali, Varanasi, Jaipur, Udaipur.)
By Olivia Sarkar
There is no doubt that the pandemic modified travel -- but that's just part of the story. Hilton released a global trends report, "The 2022 Traveler: Emerging Trends and the Redefined Traveler' which dives into an important truth: in two years, peoples lives were dramatically altered, and that radically changed people.
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The report examines the macro trends and changes that have emerged and will continue to thrive in 2022. Using insights from Dr. Kate Cummins, a travel psychology expert, and industry leaders, the report explores four consistent themes that summarise the new, pandemic-changed traveler, which are fueling several emerging travel trends:
Amid Chaos, People Found Efficiencies, And Will Be Looking for the Same in Travel: After on-demand services, grocery deliveries, and other time-saving measures become commonplace, people expect efficiencies and convenience .Shifts like contactless payments and digital check-ins to become more popular than ever before.
The Overall Focus on Wellness Will Span Beyond the Gym: The wellness vertical has moved beyond the spa and the gym. From bringing your dog along for the trip to creating spaces with more natural light and indoor plants, mental and physical wellness is a focus that will continue to grow.
Also Read : Few points for Pet Parents to keep in mind
Travellers can expect a rise in pet-friendly and sustainable travel optionsUnsplash
They Nurtured New and Existing Passions and Will Have More Refined Tastes and Preferences: After months of baking sourdough breads and planting victory gardens, people have new hobbies and passions, and they're expecting to pack their passions while traveling. Culinary and integrated experiences are expected to be in high demand.
Catering to this change, travellers can expect a rise in pet-friendly and sustainable travel options, unique food and beverage experiences and menu changes, and more offerings catered to guests' health and overall wellbeing -- and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The report outlines changes to guest preferences across the entire hotel experience, backed by internal booking and revenue data, guest feedback, third-party research and more. (IANS/SP)
Keywords: pet-friendly, travel, sustainable, pandemic, trends, convenience, wellness, passion, change, contactless, digital.
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