Independence Day: India celebrates 71st Independence Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from Red Fort in Delhi

 

Interesting tweets

And Goole’s special doodle

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Can NRIs use proxy voting for elections in India? Yes !

According to the proposal, NRIs, like members of Indian armed forces, would also be allowed to use the option of proxy voting.

Non Resident Indians (NRIs), by definition are people of Indian origin who hold an Indian passport but ordinarily live in a foreign country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been courting this group of Indians assiduously, anchoring the annual festival – Parivarsi Bharitiya Divas and other outreach events.  The NRI and Indian diaspora is courted by Indian political and business leaders for the large foreign exchange remittances and the other global resources at their disposal. Now, the government wants them to exercise their franchise too!

Vote

Some NRIs who aren’t eligible to participate in the political processes in their host countries try to keep abreast of happenings back in India. They feel that the ability to vote in Indian elections will keep them engaged and enfranchised.

The Government of India has a provision for absentee and proxy voting by members of Armed forces and their families. The Election Comission also allows armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting, as an interim measure, would be limited to “peace stations” and not include those posted at forward and disturbed areas. (Frequently Asked Questions by Service Voters)

The Indian law does not prevent eligible NRIs from voting in person. The main constraint is the time and cost: currently, an NRI who wishes to vote in state or central elections must travel back to his home constituency to cast a vote in person. He may also be required to show a voter’s ID or other documents as required by local polling officials. Data indicates that only 10-12,000 NRIs voted in the past election since most others didn’t want to spend a lot of money to travel to India to exercise their franchise.

Things are likely to change after the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to extend proxy voting to overseas Indians by amending electoral laws. The cabinet approved the proposal on August 2, 2017 but the law, “Representation of the People Act” still needs to be amended to include proxy voting as other means to cast their votes. According to the proposal, NRIs, like members of Indian armed forces, would also be allowed to use the option of proxy voting.

Articles on the topic

  • Indian expatriates welcome proxy voting move – Gulf News
  • Only 24,000 overseas Indians have registered as voters – Times of India
  • EC moots proxy voting for NRIs – The Hindu  
  • NRIs In US Welcome Cabinet Decision To Extend Proxy Voting – NDTV

Patanjali ‘s advert: appeal to all Patriotic Indians on the eve of 71st Independence Day

Baba Ramdev’s business genius in launching and driving swadesi, ‘Made in India’ products is still being analyzed by business leaders and students of business alike. The Yogi turned business magnate has skillfully introduced and nurtured a series of products that take on well entrenched players in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) space including Unilever, Nestle, Britannia and even Dabur among others.

Behind a folksy, homegrown veneer, Ramdev and his trusted lieutenant Acharya Balkrishna, (managing director of the company) operate a rather strong and serious business.

“According to CLSA and HSBC, Patanjali is the fastest growing FMCG company in India. It is valued at ₹30 billion (US$470 million) and some predict revenues of ₹5,000 crore (US$780 million) for the fiscal 2015–16. Patanjali declared its annual turnover of the year 2016-17 to be estimated ₹10,216 crore (US$1.6 billion). Ramdev baba has stated in his interview with CNN-News18 that profit from Patanjali Products goes to charity.” – Wikipedia

Continuing with a tradition of pandering to emerging desi nationalist sentiment, the company has launched a campaign with “appeals on 71st Independence Day to all Patriotic Indians (facebook)”

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Patanjali products also seem to be a hit with Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and the Indian Diaspora.

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Promoting desi products and Yoga: Baba Ramdev frequently tours the west to promote made-in-India products

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Check out recent headlines on the Patanjali Story.   And also an earlier blog “Indian Style Innovation? Generate electricity using bulls”

Want to be part of India’s development? Know more about Joy of Giving!

“Although, the Indian Diaspora is a very heterogeneous group, there is a common factor which binds them- their desire to maintain their connection with their homeland and to contribute to the social and development efforts in India. We are seeking to strengthen and deepen our relationship through IDF-OI.” Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs & Chairperson, IDF-OI

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Check out the Government Of India’s India’s development Fund

Swastika symbol and Hindu culture

Here is a recent query from a visitor to GaramChai.com 

I have a glass beaded necklace . I’m told it could be Hindu but what throws me off is the swaski. I ‘m also told that it was made long before Hitler. What are your thought on it. It has a beautiful peacock on it. – Patricia D. 

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Response from our editor follows

Hi Patricia,
Thanks for checking in.

Yes, this is likely to be a Hindu necklace with the swastika symbol. The symbol is widely used in Hindu culture. Check out the following link to Wikipedia

The swastika (as a character 卐 or 卍) is an ancient religious symbol used in the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and Southeast Asia. It is also an icon widely found in human history and the modern world.

The swastika is an important Hindu symbol. The word is ancient, derived from three Sanskrit roots “su” (good), “asti” (exists, there is, to be) and “ka” (make) and has meant a “making of goodness” or “marker of goodness”. The icon connotes and reminds the viewer of something “conducive to well-being”, “make good”, prosperity and dharmic auspiciousness. The swastika symbol is commonly used before entrances or on doorways of homes or temples, to mark the starting page of financial statements, and mandala constructed for rituals such as weddings or welcoming a new born.

Here is a funny anecdote. We live in North Carolina and after we moved into a new house, my wife decided to mark the good-luck-swastika symbol on our front-door. Our Caucasian neighbor was alarmed and asked my wife if ‘kids‘ from the neighborhood had market the door (?!). She was genuinely concerned about a possible racial angle to this. We explained the significance of Swastika to her and had a good laugh about it.

The peacock also has a strong Indian significance and happens to be the national bird of India. (link). The image of necklace you have shared certainly looks likely to be of Indian origin. Enjoy the necklace and check out the Wikipedia post for more details about the symbol’s significance in the Hindu culture.

Regards

GaramChai.com Editor