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‘The East is rising again’: Peter Frankopan

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Jaipur: The West is giving up its predominant role in global politics and economics to the East Asiaspreading from the Middle to the Far East in this century and the significance of the ancient “Silk Roads”, which were once the hub of commerce, culture and knowledge, is slowly getting restored, says historian Peter Frankopan.

The Silk Roads area will shape the next century as it plays a significant role in the hydrocarbon economy, and in one sense, the terrorist outrages taking place in the European capitals and elsewhere arise from the Middle East, which is its significant part, said Oxford academician Peter Frankopan at a session titled “The Silk Roads” at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday.

“Control over networks was the story of the 19th century, the 20th century and will be the story of the 21 century but now Eastern nations like India and China will be resuming eminence,” he contended.

Frankopan, who in his new book “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” seeks to reassess the role of the east where civilization itself began and the world’s great religions were born and flourished but was eclipsed by the advent of colonialism from the western hemisphere from around the 15th century, says the East’s role in shaping the world has not been sufficiently known.

Confessing himself influenced by Luke Skywalker, Alexander the Great and Indiana Jones, he said that he is in his book had sought to address the deficiency of the role of East.

Legendary travel writer Colin Thubron, who has travelled most of the Silk Roads region and described his adventures in a series of inimitable travelogues, noted Frankopan’s book takes history back from the West and was an awesome feat of scholarship and the range of sources that had been consulted would need one knowing 15 to 16 languages.

Frankopan also sought to clarify that there was no such thing as a single Silk Road but rather a series of Silk Roads or networks that linked continents and oceans together, and “along which flowed ideas, goods, disease and death and empires were won and lost”.

And in the contemporary world, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that were seen in the Silk Roads, as his book says.

On the significance of the area, he said it represented three things were the best of the human species – the willingness and ability to communicate, the ability to cooperate and curiosity.

“This is what brings me and you all to the Jaipur Literature Festival,” he noted, adding it was along the Silk Roads that the goods and ideas that have shaped and influenced the world flowed till nearly half a millennia ago, when the focus shifted to the western hemisphere and colonialism which was based on unequal relationships and duplicity.

He noted that in the era that the Silk Roads set the pattern for the world and Europe didn’t figure into it, since it never had any resources that could be traded, while there were more Christians in Asia then that had been in Europe till at least the 13th century

On the role of India vis-a-vis China in the new order he sketches, Frankopan quipped he was a “historian, not a prophet”, but noted from what he understood India and China had been in competition for several centuries now for the leadership of neighbouring areas.

Stressing that regional cooperation was important, he said he got the impression that India was disengaging itself from the region.(IANS)(Image-wordpress)

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RSS’ call to re-mould Indian Constitution

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says that the Army takes six to seven months to train its soldiers, the RSS can get its cadres ready for battle in two to three days

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The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002
The Sangh Parivar, better known as the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) celebrated the 125th anniversary of the song in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
  • RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is a is an Indian right-wing
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat expressed his views on Indian Army’s preparation in his speech to RSS workers in Muzaffarpur in Bihar
  • Kiren Rijiju said if the Constitution permits, RSS can go ahead with its interference in military matters.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wants to re-mould the Indian State with a military which adheres to Hindutva, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has said.

This is the message that emerges from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s speech to RSS workers in Muzaffarpur in Bihar that while the Army takes six to seven months to train its soldiers, the RSS can get its cadres ready for battle in two to three days, the CPI-M said.

“This remark has drawn widespread condemnation, with the main criticism being that the RSS chief had insulted the Indian army by claiming that the RSS can do a better job than the Army in training soldiers,” an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy,” said.

Also Read: Story 20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy That Everyone Should Know

“While this criticism is valid, the intent of these remarks is much more serious,” it said. “The statement has revealed a vital aspect of the RSS outlook about the Army and the militarization of society.”

The editorial said: “What the RSS wants in the re-moulding of the Indian State is armed forces which adhere to Hindutva. For Bhagwat, the soldier in the Indian Army and the Swayamsevak of the RSS are on the same footing.

RSS support Hindus
RSS world’s largest organisation promote Hindutva.

“Under the present Indian Constitution, such an integration of the Army and the RSS is not possible.

Also Read: All you want to know about the ranks of Indian Army

That is why, both the RSS clarification and the defence put out by (Minister of State for home) Kiren Rijiju makes this qualification that if the Constitution permits, the RSS can go ahead with its interference in military matters.

“The implication is ominous: a re-worked Constitution should enable this to happen.”