International Relations

Protests Rally in Support of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in G-20 Logo

  • The use of the Sanskrit word “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The world is one family) in the G-20 emblem has provoked diplomatic talks between India and China.
  • According to reports, China opposed to the use of non-UN languages such as Sanskrit in G-20 materials being negotiated.

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

  • The ancient Sanskrit term “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” conveys the concept of the world as one big family.
  • This concept, which has its origins in religious literature, has reverberated throughout history and has gained resonance in modern times, influencing diplomatic relations and global events.

अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्।

उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्॥

  • Meaning: Considerations such as “he is mine or he is another’s” emerge only in the narrow-minded. To the open-minded, the entire world is a family.

Origin and significance:

  • “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase made up of three words: Vasudha (Earth), Eva (Thus), and Kutumbakam (Family).
  • It is seen as a profound moral virtue, representing interconnectivity and world harmony.

Historical Context:

  • The original verse exists in the Maha Upanishad, emphasising unity among all beings and the world.
  • Engraved Symbolism: The verse is inscribed in the entry hall of the Indian Parliament, demonstrating its significance in Indian society.
  • The passage supports accepting the world as a family, emphasising magnanimity and detachment.

Influences and Interpretations

  • Spiritual Advancement: Subsequent shlokas expound on the concept, claiming that detachment leads to the attainment of the Brahman (Universal Spirit).
  • Hindu Literature Influence: The Bhagavad Gita refers to “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” as the “Loftiest Vedantic Thought,” indicating its importance in Hindu philosophy.
  • Dr. N. Radhakrishnan connects the concept to Gandhi’s holistic development vision and nonviolent conflict resolution.

Modern Importance

  • Prime Minister Modi invoked the word, emphasising its principles of togetherness and cultural richness.
  • International Earth Science Olympiad: The phrase was used in the logo of the 7th International Earth Science Olympiad to emphasise the interconnectedness of Earth’s processes.
  • The theme and logo of India’s G20 presidency was “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which represents world unity.

Diplomatic Dispute

  • China objected to the use of Sanskrit in G20 documents, claiming that it is not an official UN language.
  • Despite its relevance, the statement was not included in official G20 agreements due to China’s objections.
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