Leaders can make or break a nation, more so through the words they utter. Therefore, it is vital that they use their words sparingly and carefully so as to avoid igniting negative passion and hatred in society.
On June 21, Yoga Day, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant made a very positive statement. Sawant spelt out his vision to make Goa yog bhumi (land of yoga) and urged people to adopt a healthy lifestyle by practising yoga.
Certainly, this was an extremely positive message by the chief minister at a time when the state is reeling under the burden of a high number of diabetes and cancer cases. I only pray people will take his message seriously and adopt a healthy lifestyle for their own good.
Yoga has the power to make the world a better place and lead us to health and spiritual enlightenment. Despite having its roots in Hinduism, yoga is practised by people from all religions. It's equally practised with the seriousness and vigour it deserves in Western countries.
Now, a question comes to mind: If Sawant wants Goa to become a yog bhumi, what does his vision encompass? CM's vision is to be applauded if it doesn't have any overtones of his party's religious ideology.
Earlier, the chief minister gave a call to wipe out all signs of the Portuguese in Goa, a statement which was not well received. The statement came in for much criticism, with many wondering what the CM meant.
It was possibly made to appease his political bosses from the saffron brigade. If that's the case, then he has succeeded. And probably, bolstered by his speech, some people tried to give sanctity to an allegedly illegal statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Calangute.
The situation was tense, but in the end, things were brought under control. Wise and peace-loving Goans did not fall prey to the machinations of a few to foment trouble. The issue could have certainly been handled more wisely.
Now, speaking about the great Maratha warrior Shivaji – he certainly deserves respect for being the first in the country to build a powerful navy to ward off foreign rulers. And he succeeded to a great extent.
If his followers believe that respect for the leader entails erecting his statue, then why not? Just the other day there was a demand to install a statue of Dr Jack Sequeira in Velim. If Dr Jack Sequeira's statue can be installed, so can Shivaji's.
Now the argument is for these leaders to deserve that respect, how many such statues of theirs will be required to be installed all over Goa? Well, the “wise men” will have to deliberate and formulate appropriate responses.
One thing is certain, achieving wellness and health far overrides building statues to pay obeisance to our erstwhile leaders. Who agrees with me on this? I am sure there will be many.
There appears to be a new fascination for building statues in Goa. If building statues is going to leave us divided, then it is not worth it. I am sure neither Shivaji nor Dr Sequeira would want that.
Now, going back to our dear chief minister's words on making Goa a yog bhumi. If it is to become one, let us strive for a yog bhumi where peace and communal harmony will always thrive.
Yoga has the power to lead us to moksha (liberation and enlightenment) and set us free from the worries of this stress-ridden life. Utilising yogic harmony and wisdom, may our leaders learn to use their words wisely so as to ensure a stress-free and peaceful society.