Connection Between Human Body And 5 Elements Of Nature

Various ancient philosophies across the world have categorized the structure of the Universe into five fundamental elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (Space). These elements, often referred to as the “Panch Mahabhoot,” hold immense significance as they provide insights into the laws governing nature.

Each of these five elements symbolizes distinct states of matter present in the natural world. The “Earth” element signifies solid matter, “Water” embodies liquids, “Air” encompasses gases, “Fire” represents the transformative force within nature, and “Ether” acts as the foundation for elevated spiritual experiences.

Interestingly, the connection between the elements in the human body and those in nature is profound. All of creation consists of varying combinations of these five elements. The human body, too, is a manifestation of these elements in different proportions: 72% water, 12% earth, 6% air, 4% fire, and the remainder being Ether. Although the ratios of the first four elements generally remain constant, the proportion of Ether can be elevated. Each element plays a distinct role in forming different anatomical structures within the body.

The “Earth” element is responsible for solid structures such as bones, muscles, skin, teeth, hair, and tissues, providing the body with strength and form. “Water” gives rise to vital fluids like saliva, urine, blood, semen, and sweat. The “Fire” element governs hunger, thirst, sleep, visual perception, and skin complexion. “Air” is intricately linked with all types of bodily movement, including expansion, contraction, vibration, and restraint. Meanwhile, “Ether,” being the subtlest of the elements, is found in the body’s hollow spaces as forms of radiation such as radio frequencies, light, and cosmic rays.

The harmony of these elements is closely tied to the concept of “Prana” or vital force within the human body. Nature’s laws dictate the necessity of maintaining a balance among these elements.

Imbalances among the five elements can give rise to various diseases. The root cause of chronic illnesses often lies in the impurity or disproportionate presence of one element or a disharmony between different elements within the body.

  1. Water Element Imbalance: This is evident through symptoms like excessive mucus, cold, sinusitis, glandular swelling, tissue edema, and variations in blood viscosity.
  2. Earth Element Imbalance: Such an imbalance manifests as general bodily weakness, calcium loss from bones, obesity, cholesterol irregularities, fluctuating weight, muscular disorders, and more.
  3. Fire Element Imbalance: Imbalance of this element leads to conditions like fever, skin inflammations, abnormal body temperature, profuse sweating, hyper-acidity, sluggish digestion, toxin accumulation, and diabetes.
  4. Air Element Imbalance: Disorders linked to this element include dry skin, blood pressure anomalies, respiratory problems, persistent dry cough, bloating, constipation, lethargy, insomnia, muscle spasms, and depression.
  5. Space Element Imbalance: Disruptions in the balance of this element manifest as thyroid issues, throat ailments, speech disorders, epilepsy, mental disturbances, and ear-related problems.

Yoga’s Remedial Role

The practice of yoga serves as a potent means to purify the elements, restore equilibrium, and promote overall well-being. Techniques designed for purifying the five elements are collectively termed “Bhuta Shuddhi.” These practices aim to tap into the latent potentials harbored within each element. Furthermore, yoga offers methodologies to master these elements, known as “Bhuta Siddhi.”

As we delve into these ancient wisdoms, it becomes evident that our physical constitution is intricately intertwined with the very elements that shape the world around us. Embracing this connection and striving to maintain a harmonious equilibrium within ourselves allows us to unlock our inner potential and lead healthier, more balanced lives.

Rahul Gandhi Advocates An “India With Love And Affection, Not With Anger And Hatred”

“We need to build a modern India with love and affection, not with anger and hatred,” said Rahul Gandhi during a reception attended by nearly 4,000 Non-Resident Indians at the Javits Center in New York. Currently on Sunday, June 4th, 20023.

“There is a fight going on in our country: a fight between two ideologies. One we represent, and the other is represented by the BJP. On one side is Mahatma Gandhi, and on the other is Nathuram Godse. Gandhiji was modern, forward-looking, and open-minded. However, Godse spoke of the past, never spoke about the future but was filled with anger and hatred and was a coward, who was unable to deal with his life.”

Rahu Gandhi was on a six-day tour of the United States, having visited San Francisco, Washington D.C, and attended this grand finale of the meeting of an enthusiastic crowd, who received him with thunderous applauses, during the reception organized by the Indian Overseas Congress of USA (IOCUSA).

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi pressed his criticism of the country’s leadership in a speech Sunday, calling for Indians in the U.S. and back home to stand up for democracy and the Indian constitution.

“To be nasty to people, to be arrogant, to be violent, these are not Indian values,” Gandhi, 52, told an enthusiastic crowd at the Indian Overseas Congress USA event at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. He spoke just after a minute of silence recognizing a massive train derailment in eastern India that killed 275 people and injured hundreds more.

Gandhi has been on a three-city tour of the United States, including speaking engagements at Stanford University in California and the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“Modern India cannot exist without our constitution and our democracy,” he said Sunday. He also urged a stronger partnership between India and the U.S. to offset China’s influence.

“One of the things we have to think about is the bridge between India and the United States,” he said. “How do we compete with the challenge the Chinese have placed on the table,” he asked, specifically citing issues of mobility and the world’s energy supply.

“RSS and BJP are incapable of looking at the future. They are driving the ‘car of India’ and looking in the rear-view mirror. They will always find someone else to blame. They may even blame the British for a train crash. Instead of blaming, we must find solutions for issues like Youth unemployment. We need to build a bridge between India and the United States, focus on the partnership, and deal with the challenges we face from the Chinese. Are we focusing on the revolution that is taking place in the fields of mobility, data and connectivity, and transformation in the energy sector”? he asked.

“There is a full-scale attack on the democratic structure and institutions in India, including the judiciary and the media, and that is an attack on the very idea of India. Modern India cannot exist without its constitution and democracy. It is our job to defend it, and one thing that excites me when I meet thousands of you is that you, too, believe in that very idea of India where people would love each other.” he added.

Gandhi concluded by saying that Indian values aren’t nasty, arrogant, or violent. I intend to build an affectionate relationship with you all where you can tell me what you think and effectively interact with while promoting a nation where we can live with love and affection.

George Abraham, Vice-Chairman of the IOCUSA, opened the meeting by lauding Rahul Gandhi as a profile in courage. “When others remain silent, he is willing to stick his neck out despite threats or intimidation even at the cost of his esteemed positions or even his own dwelling. He is indeed a ray of hope for all of us who are yearning for peace and harmony for our mother land.”

Mohinder Singh Gilzian, President of the IOCUSA praised Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra and said, “It has inspired millions and once again provided hope for all of us who aspire for democracy and freedom. Yatra has indeed bridged gaps between communities and promoted mutual understanding”. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to host him today and wished him great success in the future.

Sam Pitroda, the global chairman, spoke about the need to awaken and work with vigilance for a better future for India. He said, “IOC is in 30 countries now. We will continue to talk to the global community despite the misinformation, propaganda, and lies emanating from the other side. Future belongs to science, and efforts by the Government to remove evolution and periodic tables are not in the best interests of our next generation”. He also led the meeting to observe a minute of silence in memory of those who perished in the Odisha train collision.

Pradeep Samala, who was the General Convenor of the meeting, thanked Rahul Gandhi along with all the dignitaries who were present on the dais. He expressed special gratitude to all the IOC officials and volunteers who made the meeting successful. He especially thanked John Joseph, who was the Chairman of the Hospitality committee for the grand reception accorded to Rahul Gandhi on June 3rd at the Terrace on the Park in Flushing meadow in Queens, New York.

The meeting was further enriched by the presence of many Congress leaders from India who also spoke at the event, including Deependar Hooda, Mani Shankar Iyer, Revanth Reddy, Vijender Singh, Rudra Raju Guduru, Madhu Yakshi, Amarinder Singh Warring, Venkat Reddy, Komati Reddy, Arathi Krishna, Punnala Lakshmaya, Neelima Kota, Alka Lamba. Dilip Chouhan, the Deputy Commissioner of New York City, also spoke.

IOC leaders John Joseph, Phuman Singh, Leela Maret, Thomas Mathew, Rajeshwar Reddy, Ram Gadula, Peter Kothari, Harkesh Thakur, Amar Singh Gulshan, Gurpeet Singh, Kulraj Grewal, Baljinder Singh Kundu, Gurmeet Singh Gill, Gurmit Singh Buttar, Rajinder Dichpally, Nikhil Thagadur, Pawan Darsi, Kawaljit Kaur and Sandeep Vangala, Sharath Chandra Vemuguti, were also present on the dais. Sophia Sharma, General Secretary of IOCUSA, was the Emcee.

AAPI President Dr. Ravi Kolli: Indian American doctors have ‘paid our dues and won the respect,’ ‘we have a seat at the table now’

The AAPI leader highlights need for healthcare equity, diversity and inclusion as important goals.

By Aziz Haniffa

Dr. Ravindranath “Ravi” Kolli assumed charge as the 41st president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in at the organization’s annual convention in San Antonio last June. Previously, he has served as the vice president and secretary of AAPI.

A board-certified psychiatrist with qualifications in addiction, forensic and geriatric psychiatry, Dr. Kolli currently serves as the Psychiatric Medical Director at SPHS Behavioral Health in Monessen, PA. He earned his MBBS degree from Rangaraya Medical College in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, in 1982, and MD from St. Francis Medical Center in the United States in 1992.

In a recent interview with Aziz Haniffa, former Executive Editor of India Abroad, Dr. Kolli spoke about his agenda for AAPI, the organization’s role in shaping healthcare policy and its activities in India, and mental health issues within the physicians’ community, among other topics. The interview has been edited for clarity.

Read: 2023 AAPI Global Health Summit to be held in Visakhapatnam, India (December 27, 2022)

Aziz Haniffa: Dr. Kolli, first and foremost, congratulations on your ascending to the AAPI presidency. You took over AAPI at a very seminal time, in the post-Covid environment. A lot of changes have taken place in the healthcare industry. What are your key priorities in terms of growing AAPI, which is arguably the most influential and the most powerful international medical organization today, and also in terms of shaping healthcare policy? How is AAPI is going to be a catalyst in the shaping of policy in the healthcare field?

Dr. Ravi Kolli: Thank you very much, Aziz. Covid has been an opportunity as well as a challenge. And AAPI and Indian American physicians have risen to the occasion both here in the United States and in India, serving their communities at their own risk and personal sacrifice, even risking lives. We helped India as well, when there was so much confusion and lack of awareness about the pandemic, explaining how to deal with it. A lot of our doctors spontaneously reached out to India, providing treatment, setting up telemedicine, clinics and also offering material resources that they were like lacking. We were able to undertake and provide services and support when they needed. And we are really blessed to be able to do that.

And as far as new and ongoing challenges, we always have to be eternally vigilant and continue our battles to have policies that help healthcare globally, as well as domestically here We need to work for a system that is more equitable. Healthcare equity is a big thing now. Diversity, equity and inclusion, these are important goals. We need to continue work on that.

Physician wellness is another important aspect for my turn. As a psychiatrist, I have been focusing on that. [Recently,] we had seminar on suicide prevention seminar. It was very well received. I spoke about the suicide rate and suicide risk in physicians. We need to work on physician wellness, as the important component of the quadruple aim of improving healthcare, experience, as well reducing the cost of care. So, we have lot of work ahead, and we are up to the challenge. Our members are very smart, very hard working, very well connected, and very successful. They have a lot of idea. We are using those ideas and energies in one forum, in multiple ways — so that we are more effective and more impactful.

Read: AAPI to celebrate India Day on Capitol Hill (August 30, 2022)

You’ve been a board-certified psychiatrist for many years. You have specialized in all facets of psychiatry, including depression and suicide. I know that is going to be a major priority for you because post Covid that is the major issue we are dealing with. What are some of the ways you are going to attack this problem and attack this challenge? Every AAPI president comes with the priorities that are very general to all of AAPI, but there are people like you who are specialists in certain areas who then pick out an avenue and then go full steam ahead of that.

The time has come to address the physician wellness head on. The stigma and barriers that keep physician from seeking help need to be addressed much more. It is being addressed, but I think we need to be more vocal about it, especially in our community, which has cultural inhibition as well as professional fears that are kind of self-imposed. At times we don’t seek Help. We need to call it out and make people aware. We are all in it together, and it’s okay not to be well sometimes and seek help. There’s no harm in it, but we need to make it easy for them to access help. So, we need to continue the education part and the stigma part. As psychiatrists, obviously we see the suffering. It’s a longer process of healing sometimes—not just a one-time encounter. We are trying to help by reaching out to members anonymously to see if they are needing help. Sometimes, within the community they may not want to reach out to their own colleagues. May be setting a helpline dedicated to Indian physicians can be done within the system legally. We are looking at such a system to address physicians’ wellness.

Read: AAPI to continue efforts for preventive healthcare in India (January 8, 2022)

During the early years, besides fighting discrimination, AAPI was also very much involved in alleviating problems in India, such as poverty and health disparities. Its charitable foundation was set up for that purpose. It seems to be going pretty well. What are you doing in terms of addressing the problems in India?

The charitable foundation has been around for 30 years. It has been supported by AAPI members and AAPI itself, with seed money and funding, and all that. It has its own structure. They have done good work in India, like setting up clinics, delivering services locally. But we want to have a broader vision of reaching out to bigger number of people in a systematic way, rather than in a scattered way. We are working on more structured, systematic, impactful and sustainable programs.

One of the initiatives we came up with last year was “Adopt a Village.” To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Indian Independence, we came up with this initiative to adopt 75 villages through sponsorships from AAPI members. We did the first phase, adopting 50 villages in states such as Gujrat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana.  We reached out to 50 villages, and we screened 100 to 200 villagers in the rural areas for basic healthcare concerns like diabetes, kidney diseases, anemia, high blood pressure, by doing blood work and physical assessment. We created a database, identifying patients and connected them with local physicians, giving some feedback. In the next phase, we are envisioning to provide continuous services to them through teleclinics and in-person clinics through local partnerships. That’s a long-term ambitious aspiration and goal we have. Hopefully with the members’ support and showing them results and healing people and making changes in their lives, it will continue to grow and grow.

Read: Women leaders share their inspirational stories at AAPI Forum (January 26, 2022)

Unlike the bad old days, when organizations like the American Medical Association, the group that represent organized medicine in the United States, was very condescending toward AAPI, especially during its formative years. It changed in the last 15 20 years, with AMA presidents attending AAPI Conventions. AMA has had its first International Medical Graduate cell. A lot of AAPI members have gone on to hold senior positions in the AMA. My friend Dr. Bobby Mukkamala was elected to the AMA Board of Trustees a few years ago. The Genex is also very much involved in the AMA. Now you have very good relationship with the AMA and other major medical organizations. How do you hope to work with others to make sure that it is not just the AMA that will be shaping health policies but AAPI will also have a very important role to play in then, in conjunction with the administration and the Department of Health and Human Services?

You said it right: the AMA had a different attitude at the beginning; they had their own professional agenda. But that has changed. Now the AMA is very receptive to and very respectful to our presence. They have found synergy with AAPI. As you pointed out, a lot of AMA presidents have been at our conventions. Last year, at our convention, their current president was there on all three days, that’s what I was told. He was very engaged and happy to mingle with us. His agenda is also physician wellness and work on common goals. We are on the same path and have the same goals. And like you said, Dr. Bobby Mukkamala was on the AMA board. Like his father, he has always been very engaged with AAPI. So, AMA recognizes the values, the hard work and contributions of Indian American doctors. We paid our dues and won the respect. I think we have a seat at the table now, not on the menu, anymore. We’re at the table, not on the table. We reached out to the ACP (American College of Physicians) last year when [Indian American] Dr. George Abraham was the president. We had a constructive engagement with them. We are reaching out to the American Medical Women’s Association also. We are building bridges and continuing our collaboration with [major mainstream groups] on common themes like patient care, equity, diversity and inclusion. We have common goals on trade-related issues such as Medicare funding, graduate medical education funding and immigration.

Read: AAPI women’s panel hosts conference on domestic violence (October 19, 2021)

AAPI always boasts with a sense of pride as it represents 75,000 Indian American physicians in the country. But it has always struggled in membership drive. I always compare it with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, AAHOA. But of course, AAHOA has an advantage, as a vast majority of its members are Gujaratis. They are very homogeneous, unlike AAPI, whose members include physicians across India and because of that Indian regional politics are a factor. How are you going to grow AAPI into a force with big membership? I know off late you have roped in the Gen X, Gen Z and a few millennials as members. But how are you going to grow AAPI into a really potent force and produce numbers?

Like I said in my inaugural speech our shakti (strength) is in our sankhya (numbers). Our strength is in our numbers and member. So we want to reach out to everyone. Our founding fathers were a very inclusive and diverse group, and want to bring that culture back where everybody is included and respected. I don’t personally see as any different than anyone else. That’s my personal feeling. But I want that to be the norm than exception. That’s a challenge, but that’s a strength as well. We need to be inclusive, and we are trying to be that. Sometimes it takes the openness to bring people into the organization. That’s my goal and my job. And you’re right that there is some politics, but it doesn’t have to be divisive. We can compete with each other in a productive way, without being divisive, and make a difference. People can use identity politics for short-term gains. It can cause a lot of damage. We need to discourage it. We need leaders to heal the wounds and build the bridges.

AAPI and Indian American physicians have been the brand of the community since the passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. After the landmark immigration bill in 1965. They became the brand of the South Asian American immigrant community, much before the hoteliers and the techies established themselves. But an unfortunate manifestation in recent years has been the number of accusations against Indian American doctors regarding medical fraud. Of course, AAPI can’t be held responsible for that because these are individuals who have made their own decisions. How do you try to make sure that the brand of AAPI is not contaminated?

The brand AAPI is what we cherish. I tell every member and every leader of AAPI that they are the ambassador of AAPI and their job is to protect, enhance and project AAPI’s image and brand in a realistic way. Like you said, personal failures cannot damage AAPI’s name. Even those people who are caught are not always been criminal in their intent. Sometimes they get caught up in the system which is sometimes convoluted. Nobody knows what the rules are and it keep changing. I think some of it is lack of awareness, some of it is lack of using the resources properly, managing time properly and doing too many things. We have a habit of not saying no sometimes. That leads us to bad situations and red flags. So, we need to educate our members as to how to be careful, be safe and protect the brand image. As ambassadors of India, as ambassadors of the physician community, and as ambassadors of the next generation of Indian American physicians, we have so many responsibilities.  We need to take it as an honor and duty to protect our brand because once the brand is damaged, everything will be gone.

You are instrumental is building up AAPI’s name and brand. As you said, AAPI’s brand kind of facilitated path forward for many other professions to come in afterwards and we tell them, “All your success is primarily founded on our image and our brand.” And they are aware of it, and they respect Indian physicians. We always have a higher responsibility. I always believe that with great power comes with great responsibility. That’s what it is.

Read: AAPI-TN raises $75,000 to fight human trafficking in India (December 9, 2021)

When you took over the helm of AAPI, in your presidential remarks, you mentioned some of the elders of AAPI and its founding members. You said that we are grateful, we are indebted to them for fighting discrimination while at the same time making sure that the AAPI brand was strong and held in great respect. What made you make those remarks?

That was truly from the bottom of my heart because I know, even at this time, how passionate they are about AAPI. Whenever I talk to any of the past leaders the passion that comes out is inspirational to me. AAPI is just like their child. They want to protect it, they want promote it, they want to preserve it and enhance it. That passion is contagious. Honestly, the hard work they put in was tremendous. What we are reaping now is because of the seeds they planted. So those words were from bottom of my heart and they came very spontaneously. They have built the organization from the scratch. They built the foundation by digging the dirt and putting the stone. I have to acknowledge it. Standing on their shoulder, we can see further and aim higher.

The Incredible “Everyday Elite” runners of India

The Series: Part 2

The Wonderful Privilege of Running!

 How wonderful it is to run. Something so simple, the act of putting one foot in front of another, can bestow so much joy. Ask anyone who runs ! They feel only gratitude for all that they achieve, physically and mentally, as a runner.
Running seems to keep reminding them of the many amazing things our body can do and it helps them to appreciate their strength and challenge their limits to overcome weaknesses. Running is a privilege, and is still a niche among
athletes. Many still view it as a highly elusive sport. To help banish the hype behind something as basic as the
joy of running, brought about the concept for a series, on the incredible “Everyday Elite” runners of India. Stories of strength and resilience and a show of daily perseverance in face of adversity. Runners are somehow the best people to have in one’s life too. The qualities that define their running also shine a light on the incredible personalities they themselves are in their personal lives too. These athletes are aware that there may be a day when
they won’t be able to continue pursuing this high endurance sport. Everyday, that they feel strong as a runner, they celebrate it !

As you read the stories that outline their running journey you will notice surprisingly consistent similarities in their spirit. Tales that reveal that these athletes may be reaping the benefits from running but their real strength as a
runner lies beyond sheer talent and consistent training. We connected with some of the Incredible “Everyday Elite” runners of India and asked them to share their running stories of passion and achievement to understand their “Why”. Sit back and enjoy this easy pace journey as we shed light into their journey and reveal the totally relatable
and inspiring top personality traits that these “Everyday Elite’ thrive on.

Everyday Elite: Anoop Sharma

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them”

They say a runner’s grit often comes down to steely inner strength and unshakeable faith. Let us start with the remarkable story of our “Everyday Elite” Anoop Sharma. A Mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur for whom
running is an integral part of life just like breathing or eating. An accomplished runner worth his mettle, he
understands very well that through hard work and focusing on compartmentalising one’s fears, all runners can learn
to remain in the moment. It is his core strength as a runner and one of the reasons why he is an irreplaceable member of his running group.

This Delhi based 51-year old athlete is a father of 2 and recalls how his better half, Kiran, who he calls his pillar of strength, has been his anchor through the various ups and downs of his fitness journey.

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Though it was not always this way for him. Throughout his younger days he played competitive football and kept fit but a subsequent shaky entry into adulthood into busy corporate work culture saw him fall into the unhealthy
trap of bad habits like most professionals at a young age. Popping pills for headaches and acidity and to cope with daily stress had become a norm. It was during such time that his brother a runner, cyclist and shuttler, brought his
attention to his health situation and suggested he start a routine for fitness.On his behest he started running 2-3 kms at his local park and started a regular fitness routine. It was at one such session at the local
park that he had a chance meeting with some dynamic members of the running group Dwarka Xpress runners. At that point he didn’t realise this routine of daily training with a group would be the catalyst that his health required . He soon discovered his innate ability to get into zone while working out and soon his confidence in his ability gained momentum as he started showing up for tough training sessions. This was during the same time when he confidently
signed up to take on the challenging and prestigious Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Now he looks back in amazement as to how seamlessly he completed the half marathon with an impressive debut time. His enduring passion to achieve
his goal, advice from a strong running group and a supportive family had made him an overnight champion within the running community. Since then there has been no looking back for this talented “Everyday Elite”


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He has shown that one can become a true champion with training and deliberate practice especially in the
fun company of one’s running buddies. He is a prime example of how by giving one’s best effort each and every time we invariably make our fitness goals achievable. He, of course, manages all of this by staying humble and without ever forgetting the big picture.

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With more that 150 half marathons, 8 full marathons and 4 ultras in his running kitty, there has been no looking back for this iconic “Everyday Elite”. He also got an opportunity to test his superior running mettle as he went on the
historic run from Kashmir to India Gate , August 2022, as a part of the “The Great India Run 2.o”. This delegation was a part of the national “Ghar Ghar Tiranga campaign”. With this herculean challenge, done and dusted, he easily
cemented his place amongst elite group of young and fast-rising ultra runners in India, showing that he is a natural leader equipped with laser-sharp focus . His inane ability to bring out the best in both himself and many around him in his running community makes him an admirable and a beloved athlete. Now, he feels, running for him, is synonymous with breathing itself.

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The pandemic did stir up some ups and downs in his life just like so many of us across the board but with his acute sense of paying it forward and friendship of his buddies within his running group, kept him grounded and strong
throughout the lockdown period. His training buddies are now are his go-to people for any support in his life. He swears by these friendships and says that training with them keeps him strong enough to navigate any tough situation that life would throw at him . “ Everyday elite ” runners toil tirelessly to pay it forward by getting as many people to benefit from running and a fit lifestyle. Anoop too pursues this high endurance sport while having a profound effect on the people around him as he exudes his effortless athletic candour in his daily runs. He is actively involved in supporting the running community in Delhi. During the covid period, he was the point person for any covid related emergency in his running group. Natural leaders like him have an ability to bring out the best in both themselves and those around them especially in time of crisis.

These “Everyday Elite” do not boast of a dramatically different genetic makeup but inspiring daily routines that show that endurance, power and agility are attained over a period of time, always silently backed with consistent effort and
basic human kindness. Anoop is a pioneer in his group for inspiring daily routines. His mantra for all newbie runners is to place importance on warm up and cool down exercises before any running workout sessions. This he feels is extremely important to remain injury free. He feels that the “beat yesterday“ mentality is not sustainable
for new runners and that following proven training schedules in running groups are the best for long term benefits for runners. He also advise against comparing oneself with other runners and advises to focus on one’s own customised training plan suggested by a trusted mentor. Even as he daily trains and tries to inspire as many people to take up running as a fitness lifestyle, he himself is working on a new and improved training plan for himself. For the year 2023 he has his eyes on the challenging Tata Mumbai Marathon and the most daunting Khardungla
Marathon . With his favourite tagline being #followyourpassion we are looking forward to follow his running journey well into year 2023.

Everyday Elite

Smita Dixit

‘Rest, Restart, Focus as many times as you have to , just don’t quit’

How wonderful it is to run ! We have heard many runners say this!

Our next everyday elite , an Ayurvedic doctor by profession says that everytime she heads out the door, no matter the
distance or the time, she is immensely grateful for the opportunity to put one foot in front of the other. It is an
opportunity to be closer to her fitness goals. Running daily for fitness since 2016, this 49 year old, mother of
two, feels fortunate that something so simple like running brings so much joy to her. She feels it to be a privilege and and she cherishes each and every step she takes during her daily workout.

Her fitness journey started in Mumbai where as a working mom she had countless sources of stress, leaving her barely with 30 minutes of her time of the day to finish a small walk. However, when a fatal fall from the staircase confined her to the bed for a good 4-5 months, she knew she had to follow an aggressive approach to get back to her
fit life. With the bones of her legs put into place by metallic plates and screws she was fast losing all confidence of leading a normal life ever again but her strong mind did not allow her to wallow in this fear for long.

Smita was not ready to give up any time soon and holding fort under this stressful time she pushed herself to try and walk daily. After 8 months of daily struggle to get moving despite being dependent on an attendant for every menial job she didn’t lose hope to move on her own. She recalls this time as the most mentally-challenging and tough time. With half the battle won she knew she had to strengthen her weak legs. Switching on to a mental state of total focus, she continued walking more, despite being slow. Regardless of the pain and struggle, she stayed focussed on getting
stronger, not just better. She slowly learnt to be tuned into to her fit state of mind each and every day. Soon she was jogging at her local park and even met some top-tier athletes who inspired her to not let her passion for getting fit, wane even a little bit. She got inspired to take her running to the next level and started training for marathons.

The need to succeed physically came from within her and in 6 months itself she had successfully completed a 10km run and within 10 months a half marathon. She soon was thriving under the satisfaction of finishing marathons and the challenge of training for more runs was like a gift, a gift of a new lease of life.

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With a her enduring passion and grit to lead a normal life she kept her routine of running. By 2017, when her support plates were removed from her legs, she was already on her way to attempt and finish 3 marathons, two 12 hr ultra runs, a stadium relay run and various 10km and 21km runs. A prime example of courage and resilience Smita’s run journey is nothing short of enviable. With a desire to become a top-tier runner she received a surprising bonus of
winning her first podium female 12.5km at the BNP ultra-run at Sanjay Gandhi national park in Mumbai in year 2018. With many prestigious wins like a silver podium in 10km at th IDBI federal Mumbai marathon(age category) and another silver podium at the GSC spirit of sports 2020 event in Mumbai, Smita is truly an iconic runner to
follow in the running community.

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Till date she is willing to be coachable and thrives on regular challenges she takes on with her running group.
She feels that consistency and training is the key for anyone to take up running as a sport. Her passion for running keeps her grounded and even a new city couldn’t stop from the path she had chosen. She soon joined a vibrant running group and continues an enviable running training routine. She trains with the group before she leaves for work and never misses her LSD runs on Sunday. She continues to compete and knows that as long as she keeps running she will never lack resilience to bounce back from any setback. She believes consistency is the key to
achieving any running goal and now has her eyes set on taking on the Tata Mumbai marathon in January and the Khardungla challenge in September in the year 2023

Everyday Elite

Sohan Sharma

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win”

As more a more people realise the fact that keeping physically fit can dramatically improve the quality of their life and make them live longer its safe to say that there are many takers for this ‘endorphin hit’ called running. They say, as runners, it is not about how far your legs can go, it is about how far your mind can take you. Although every runner starts their fitness journey for a variety of reasons, research clearly shows the reasons why people start running are vast and varied and most times as unique as the people themselves. Running as a sport has no remote
control. Each day requires an equal effort. After all plans fail, life gets in the way, things get hard but they all know the real secret is not giving up. Thats the magic pill. The never give up attitude. !

One such “Everyday Elite” is 52 year old Sohan Sharma, a legendary runner, who over a period of time has shown to the running community that being disciplined is the easiest way to stay motivated. This father of two grownup sons started running 5 years ago with his running group DXR . For Sohan, running is an obsession, an obsession to
do whatever it takes to be the best. His focussed concentration as he tackles any type of run has led him to achieve  many unbelievable milestones as a runner.

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His running buddies know that he has a tangible vision for all of his runs and is keen on growing his run trajectory with each year. In 2021 itself he ran an unbelievable consecutive 100 half marathons as a part of the virtual event
Hundred Days of Running. A much revered and irreplaceable member of his running group, he shows a vulnerability of taking on new challenges with his teammates, showing that one learns more from taking calculated risks.

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He is a proud daily runner and with his day starting at 5:45 am alongwith his morning gang. He is much respected
for his teamwork and consistency. Since the initial days of his joining the running group it was evident that he could
perform well under pressure and displayed an upward learning curve with each new run. He has a full time job, taking care of documentation of property at the Delhi registration authority, Janakpuri and believes that that after a
great run one can produce their best work and feel a heightened sense of concentration at work too. Many group members clamber to run the track with ‘Sohan sir ‘as they lovingly address him as he seems to show an effortless
way of working towards his running goals.

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Displaying humility and kindness with each of his runs, Sohan stands heads and shoulders above the league of runners in Delhi-NCR . He is a  crucial member of any important delegations to various marathons, The Ladakh
marathon, Morni Hill Marathon and various national level major runs of Delhi NCR like ADHM/ NDM/Super Sikh to name a few.

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Ultra running is his entire way of life now. He has championed as a strong runner as he believes that learning from failure or setbacks is all a part of setting goals and without it there is little room for evolving new abilities. It is
safe to say that as a runner he enjoys running outside his comfort zone, paving the path to some strong lasting
running habits. Using this ideology he approaches every new running challenge with great enthusiasm with his
running group. In 2023 too, his quest for perfection is going to make him a contender for a cracker of a performance at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023. From here he wishes continue to move forward towards his dream of qualifying for the Boston marathon.

Everyday Elite

D P S Rawat

“Passion is energy, Feel the power that comes from focussing on what excites you!”

To shed light on the mental dimension of an Everyday Elite we can safely say that their patience and perseverance is evident as we see them unapologetically show up for all level of athletic challenges. They have fine tuned their mind into compartmentalising their worries and aim focus on the task at hand. They would always be the ones to finish their cross lines having given their all. Such is the story of our next “Everyday Elite” D P S Rawat who believes that his love for running can be simply understood in one simple line “Life is a marathon run it”.

A retired ex-banker belonging to an army family started his running journey just as a hobby and proudly shares that running for sport is in his “Pahadi” blood. After retirement while his peers were taking on new work assignments he decided to be home to take care of his family, especially his wife. He found running to be that catalyst for him. He knew it was absolutely necessary to remain fit. Despite hardly finding spare time to run he knew that running gave him courage to make changes in his life and feel stronger. During his most vulnerable time, running helped him to
take a bit of control back in their own hands.

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Running 20 minutes a day might sound like a lot of exercise to some, or not much to others. However, it was clear to him that just about anyone can benefit from a daily 20 minute run. Such was the start of a wonderful journey of our
‘Everyday Elite’ D P S Rawat. In his initial days of running as he was a solo runner he went through the whole process of trial and error and ended up injuring himself in one such run. He was cautioned by the doctor against any running or exertion. Instead of losing hope, he like any ‘Everyday Elite’, developed a compulsive need to work on
their deficiencies and improve himself.

Determined to continue be fit he joined a wonderful running group and started regular runs. A chance suggestion, from a running group mentor Madan Godara, saw him sign up for a 5km in the senior citizen category at an upcoming marathon. He ended up returning home triumphantly with a podium
finish in the Hindustan marathon, his first glittering trophy!. This confidence led to more practice runs with this running group and he went on to many other running endeavours like successfully finishing the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2 hour 6 minutes. From here on he has become a firm believer in consistent training and his tag line became “life is marathon run it”.

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He gives all the credit of his running success and resilience to his buddies in his running group DXR. To his name he has an admirable 50+ podium finishes at various Delhi-NCR marathons in open and age category. As a runner he too faces various obstacles in his runs and many times his mind wants to give up. He has, however, always found strength in the sense of belonging in his running group. Emotional support from friends and family keeps him grounded as runner and he aspires to keep taking his performance to a higher level with each run.

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He feels that running is a complete exercise and with a mix of yoga and mobility drills he continues to feel fit and agile. On days he cannot complete his workout he feels as if he has missed out on something precious . This running
frenzy is now a full blown passion for this “everyday elite”. His goal for the next year is to keep competing in the big runs in Delhi-NCR region and keep beating his previous year’s timing. He has a clear vision for himself , he wishes to do some local runs and get competitive by acquiring atleast 12 podiums minimum. In the year 2023 he would be seen competing in the New Delhi Marathon in January and the acclaimed Super Sikh run in February.

Trump Should Face Insurrection, Obstruction Charges: Jan 6 Panel

After more than a year of interviewing over 1,000 witnesses and the collection of hundreds of thousands of documents, gathering evidence and holding public meetings, the U.S. House of Representatives panel probing the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol has concluded its final hearing on December 20, 2022  by referring former President Donald Trump for four criminal charges.

Marking the first time in history that the Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution, the select Democrats-led panel voted unanimously to refer Trump and others to the US Justice Department on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and conspiracy to defraud the US by assisting, aiding or comforting those involved in an insurrection.

It also referred four fellow members of Congress, all Republicans, to the House ethics committee for failing to comply with subpoenas. They are Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, a member of the Jan. 6 panel who previously served as the lead manager in Trump’s second impeachment trial — told the media that ignoring or burying those recommendations would set “a terrible precedent for the future.” And he wen on to state: “An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the United States. It is a grave federal offense, anchored in the Constitution itself.”

“It’s of special concern when there’s an attempt to overthrow our election and essentially subdue our constitutional order and have someone seize the presidency who didn’t win it,” he said. “And if members of Congress have knowledge of that and may have been involved in it but refuse to say anything about it, we’re setting a precedent for future attacks on democracy itself. And that’s really the burden of our committee, to make sure that we prevent coups, insurrections, electoral sabotage and political violence in the future.”

Trump gave a fiery speech to his supporters near the White House the morning of Jan. 6, and publicly chastised his vice president, Mike Pence, for not going along with his scheme to reject ballots cast in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. Trump then waited hours to make a public statement as thousands of his supporters raged through the Capitol, assaulting police and threatening to hang Pence.

Trump satisfies the elements for obstructing an official proceeding, Raskin said, adding, “that was the whole purpose of his scheme and he succeeded in interrupting it for four hours, the only time that’s ever happened in American history.”

According to him, the former president also engaged in a conspiracy to make false statements and defraud the U.S. (through the fake electors scheme specifically), and that he “acted to incite, assist and give aid and comfort to an insurrection.” And it’s based on those facts and laws that Trump should be held accountable, Raskin argued. “In a society where all of us are treated equally under the law, the fact that he’s a former president would make no more difference than the fact that he’s a former businessman or TV star,” he said.

On why Trump bears responsibility

More than 900 people have been prosecuted for crimes like assaulting federal officers, destroying federal property, seditious conspiracy, attempt to overthrow or put down the government. Why should the foot soldiers be going to jail and not the ringleaders and the masterminds of this scheme to defeat American democracy? Look, if Donald Trump had succeeded, he’d be bragging about it, how he was the one who came up with the whole plan, Raskin said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy Tells US Congress That Ukraine Will “Never Surrender”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a historic visit to Washington on on December 21st, leaving his country for the first time since Russia’s February invasion to address a joint session of Congress and make a direct appeal to Americans for more aid.

The visit, shrouded in secrecy until the last moment, was the first time Zelensky is known to have left his country since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion in February.

The Ukrainian president is meeting with his U.S. counterpart at the White House and addressed Congress in a special joint meeting on December 21st.

Zelenskyy’s visit was aimed at underscoring U.S. support as Russia’s war drags on. It’s his trip trip outside Ukraine since Russia launched its attack in February.

The Ukrainian leader and his allies in the Biden administration made the most of the moment, both creating and reveling in the spectacle.

Biden greeted Zelensky on the White House’s South Lawn, walked him along the edges of the Rose Garden to the Oval Office and held a press conference alongside him.

Later, before his speech to Congress, Zelensky was shown the splendor of the Capitol by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The administration announced nearly $2 billion in new security aid to Ukraine, including a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery. Lawmakers voted on an omnibus spending bill that includes $44.9 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies.

In a joint press conference, Zelenskyy said the aid was “a key humanitarian issue, a survival issue” with Russia stepping up attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure as winter temperatures continue to drop.

His speech itself was punctuated by applause from members of both parties and reached its emotional crescendo as he presented a Ukrainian flag, apparently from the front lines in Donbas and signed by the troops, to the chamber.

He thanked Congress for the financial support his country has received over the 10 months of war that have ravaged the country.

“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy, that we handle in the most responsible way,” he said, seeming to address recent doubts from some GOP members that the U.S. should continue the flow of money to Ukraine.

He noted that while Russia possesses the power to stop its aggression, Congress, presumably with its pocket purse, has the power to speed up Ukraine’s victory. That would serve as a deterrent to other countries with thoughts of invasion, he added.

“It would be naïve to wait for steps toward peace from Russia, which enjoys being a terrorist state. Russians are still poisoned by the Kremlin,” he said. The road toward peace, he said, is dependent on bipartisan support from the U.S. “This battle cannot be frozen or postponed,” he said. “It cannot be ignored, hoping that the ocean or something else will provide a protection.”

“I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart,” Zelensky said. “Our two nations are allies in this battle, and next year will be a turning point. I know it — the point when Ukrainian courage and American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom.”

The Ukrainian military has shocked the world with its ability to repel Moscow’s invasion. Russia has been dealt major setbacks and the bulk of the fighting — now largely frozen in place — has been confined to the outer reaches of Ukraine. But a new wave of Russian attacks on the electrical grid have plunged much of Ukraine into darkness, leaving millions without heat and light.

The White House sees the war in Ukraine as a struggle that simply cannot be lost, for fear that such an outcome would embolden Putin and expose American weakness to rivals and adversaries such as China and Iran.

In the closing moments at the news conference, Biden sought to reassure Zelensky, telling him, “You don’t have to worry. We are staying with Ukraine as long as Ukraine is there.”

Pelosi To Leave House Leadership After 20 Years

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is ending her long leadership tenure with a historic flourish, wrapping up two decades at the top of the party with a string of major victories — political, legislative and diplomatic — that are putting a remarkable cap on a landmark era.

Nancy Pelosi said that she will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, ending a historic run as the first woman with the gavel and making way for a new generation to steer the party after Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections.

The California Democrat, a pivotal figure in U.S. history and perhaps the most powerful speaker in modern times, said she would remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years, when the new Congress convenes in January.

President Joe Biden, who had encouraged Pelosi to stay on as Democratic leader, congratulated her on her historic tenure as speaker of the House. “History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history,” Biden said in a statement, noting her ability to win unity from her caucus and her “absolute dignity.”

Pelosi was twice elected to the speakership and has led Democrats through consequential moments, including passage of the Affordable Care Act with President Barack Obama and the impeachments of President Donald Trump.

First elected in 1987, Pelosi was among a dozen Democratic women in Congress. She was long ridiculed by Republicans as a San Francisco liberal while steadily rising as a skilled legislator and fundraising powerhouse. Her own Democratic colleagues have intermittently appreciated but also feared her powerful brand of leadership.

Pelosi first became speaker in 2007, saying she had cracked the “marble ceiling,” after Democrats swept to power in the 2006 midterm elections in a backlash to then-President George W. Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Ukrainian president has, since the Russian invasion began in February, emerged as the global symbol of democratic defiance in the face of the violent authoritarianism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zelensky’s visit, in particular, carried outsize significance.

“The 117th Congress has been one of the most consequential in recent history,” she wrote to fellow Democrats this week, taking a victory lap. She added that the lame-duck agenda has them leaving on “a strong note.”

During her remarks on the House floor, Pelosi recapped her career, from seeing the Capitol the first time as a young girl with her father — a former New Deal congressman and mayor — to serving as speaker alongside U.S. presidents. “I quite frankly, personally, have been ready to leave for a while,” she said. “Because there are things I want to do. I like to dance, I like to sing. There’s a life out there, right?”

It is Time for a Democratic Global Revolution

The people of the world need to seize the moment and bring about a democratic global revolution. It is time for a global parliament and real representation.

More than 21 million people got infected with the novel coronavirus and over 770,000 have died. Never before did the world witness similar collective lockdowns of social and economic activity that had to be enforced to contain the pandemic.

For many, the corona-related global crisis exacerbates a situation that was already critical before the outbreak of the virus.

The climate crisis is unfolding with record temperatures in Siberia, Greenland, the Antarctic and other places like the Middle East. The new climate apartheid is characterized by whether you can afford to shield yourself from such heat or not. Most cannot.

135 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger. There are currently more than 70 million displaced people who have fled war, persecution and conflict. It’s the worst humanitarian and refugee crisis in seventy years.

There is a global inequality crisis. Productivity gains and globalization disproportionately benefit the affluent. Financial assets in the trillions are hidden in offshore accounts from tax authorities. The world’s 26 richest billionaires own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet.

While global surveys confirm that people across all world regions strongly believe in democracy, there is in fact a democratic retreat. Confidence in the actual performance of democratic governments is waning. Populist nationalism and authoritarianism has been advancing, aided and abetted by social media platforms and the internet. Major arms control treaties are crumbling, geopolitical tensions are rising and multilateralism is under attack.

Civil society and citizens across the world are fighting back, though. Pro-democracy movements are at an all-time high as widespread protests in dozens of countries now and in recent times demonstrate. Freedom and justice have lost no appeal. At the same time, millions of citizens joined climate protests around the world and called for quick and effective action in this critical field.

The present issues are symptoms of a crisis of global governance. There is a scale mismatch between a political world order that is based on 200 states and territories and issues that demand decisive global action.

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, the organization continues to lose significance and impact. The UN is only as strong and effective as its member states allow it to be. The same applies to all intergovernmental organizations and forums, including the World Health Organization that had to launch an investigation into its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN’s Security Council, in particular, is suffering from a dysfunctional decision-making method that grants the five victors of the Second World War and official nuclear powers not only a permanent seat but also a veto right.

If long-lasting solutions are to be achieved, this scale mismatch must be tackled. It is not enough to call on individual governments to change their policies. The way how the world is governed must be changed. What is needed is a new vision of a democratic world order that is based on shared sovereignty on global issues, a clear commitment to human rights, the principle of subsidiarity and complete disarmament.

When the UN was founded it was recognized that this should only be a beginning and that changes would be required. Article 109 of the Charter provides that a conference to review the Charter should be held by 1955. The UN’s member states did not deliver on that promise. Now is the time to hold them to account. 

The world’s people need an actual say in global affairs that is not intermediated by national governments and their diplomats. The key ingredient of a new UN should be a democratically elected world parliament that complements intergovernmental bodies such as the UN General Assembly.

The creation of a new democratic world organization that has actual powers seems to be a gigantic project that raises numerous questions. How is a global democracy to be created while major states themselves are not democratically organised? Can decisions of a world parliament be enforced against the will of individual states? How is it possible that states will agree to the creation of a superior political unit?

These questions show the way forward: The people of the world themselves need to embrace and call for global democracy. Eventually, they are the sovereigns not only in their individual states but on the planet as a whole, too.

A global democratic revolution needs to push for a legitimate, inclusive and representative global body that will deal with these questions in a serious way. The creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly could be an important stepping stone to launch a global constitutional process and a transformation of global governance.

This global democratic revolution will be peaceful because it is not about destroying structures or conquering territories, but about opening up a political level that is lying idle. Supranational integration cannot be imposed by force. It will happen because the people want it. If existing movements in the fields of climate, environment, peace, disarmament, democracy, social justice and others join forces, the global democratic revolution will become very real.This may sound visionary. But the big issues troubling this planet and its people will remain, and worsen, unless the root cause is addressed. A democratic global government is not a mind game in some ivory tower. It is the most important question on the agenda of humanity today. (Daniel Jositsch is a Member of the Swiss Senate and President, Democracy Without Borders-Switzerland, and Andreas Bummel is Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders. Twitter: @democracywb)