Sports helped me understand the inherent potential of a human being. Sports is the simplest, yet the most effective tool for social transformation. Sports works at many levels—mind, body and soul. A healthy body harbours a healthy mind. A robust sporting culture is a must healthy society, inculcates the sense of fair play. Sports is, and should be where it isn’t, an essential part of education, as it ensures legitimate and just engagement of people from all walks of life unrestrained by the barriers of caste, creed or gender. Greatness of a nation, region or a city can be judged by its sporting acumen. I see sports as a great instrument to bring about social transformation for better. I plan to use sports as a policy initiative in various situations and places, be it a conflict zone or in places reeling under economic depravity.
We’re victim of our own growth, humanity is 7 billion and growing. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “there’s enough for people’s need, there isn’t enough for people’s greed.” The world order is inequitable. The fruits of development and technological revolution is confined to few privileged. The worst sufferers are teeming millions of young people, who have the energy and drive, but no jobs or positive avenues to life and opportunities for a fruitful engagement with rest of the world. The rising violence, radicalism, or other hate crimes, unrest in the society is a consequence of growing disparities. Youth, and society at large, is disillusioned and bitter—feel have been denied their rightful due. This phenomenon is not confined to the less developed world. The West, particular Europe and the US, are feeling the heat. To engage youth productively and constructively will be one of the greatest challenge and opportunity in the decades to come. I commit myself to reap huge demographic dividend by focusing and devising interventions with, for the youth of the world.
I’m against gender discrimination, both positive and negative. I demand and will work for an equitable treatment of women. Parochial and patriarchal mind-set is ingrained in our societies—East or West—which prevents half of the humanity to realise their inherent potential and talent. Gender roles limits capabilities of a society. The women have come forward, but men also need to mend their ways. Safety of women is a concern, not just in Delhi, but in all the metropolis of the world in some measure or the other. It’s a matter of shame that the body of a woman has remained a venue of violence and exploitation. There is need to work to create equitable, just society where women are equal partner. And this requires, inherently a mental revolution. The focus has to be man, his attitude is the genesis of all crime against women. I’m not a supporter of a special exalted status for women, but that of parity. I will work for a society that doesn’t discriminate on the basis of gender.
I believe that people who are handicapped for whatever reason, are also blessed with a special, inherent and unique ability. In other words, adverse circumstance vitalised hidden talents. And to hone hidden talents is a good way to ensure differently-abled live a life of dignity and self-reliance. To achieve that, there’s a need of constant, affirmative and supportive attitude of the society, government and various other stakeholders towards them. The society at large should be able to cater to their special needs to reap benefits of their special abilities. That calls for a focused approach. I have seen how honing of talent of a differently-abled person in a field of sports can give new zest and meaning to their life. This has to be extend beyond sports and inculcated into day-to-day lives.
Food security will be a challenge. To me the solution lies in maintaining a balance between traditional agriculture practices and the use of technology. I belong to Hindi heartland of India. For generations, farmers are treated as agriculture scientists—custodian of traditional knowledge of the soil types, water, climate and biodiversity. This knowledge is bequeathed generations after generation. Inadvertent and indiscriminate use of technology has resulted in problems. Punjab is a glaring example. Globally, there’s a move towards the basics and natural way of life. The popularity of ‘organic’ food is not a fad—is a way of life. The food security would require a focused approach keeping the needs of the farmer at the forefront. In my view to ensure food security, technology has a major role to play. Technology has to serve the farmers by helping them increase the productivity in a sustainable fashion, not to replace or subjugate the farmers.
What does it take to ensure a strong foundation? Simple; reviving nationalism, national pride and going back to our roots. Undoubtedly, the easiest route is via revisiting our invaluable literature. Blessed with literary stalwarts like Jay Shankar Prasad, Dinkar, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Nirala, Tagore, Mahadevi Verma, it is unfortunate that our younger generation has no time for these gems. I stand committed to reviving literature of our region, bringing it closer to today’s youth, integrating it with their aspirations, and hope. With timeless literature as the building block, we can be sure of a strong and vibrant nation proud to sing ‘Sare jahan se acha, hindustan hamara.’
Clean environment is life force. Nature is mother. Nature can be fury, as well. Last 200 years of unbridled development has made humanity achieve the improbable, in the process, however, they have reduced the planet over last few generations into a furnace and a chimney. The essential balance of the nature seems to have been disturbed. There are potent signs for humanity to change the way it treats environment in its quest to excel or face disastrous consequences. To me, clean surroundings and healthy environment is the most fundamental of all fundamental rights. There’s a need of awareness. And there’s a need of a focused approach on multiple fronts. For instance, water is just one of many issues that underline the predicament we face, victim of our own, so called, progress. Humanity has failed to provide clean potable water to all, yet, has contaminated, destroyed natural water systems all over the world.