“Vasudaiva kutumbakam-one earth, one family, one future: “- India’s mantra for a healthy and prosperous earth as the G20 leader : Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo


“Vasudaiva kutumbakam-one earth, one family, one future: “- India’s mantra for a healthy and prosperous earth as the G20 leader

Raina, Sunil K.1,; Kumar, Raman2

Author Information
Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 12(2):p 191-193, February 2023. | DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_254_23
  • Open



India is a civilization, not just a country, nation, or government. Leadership of G20 coming to India, at a time when the world is battling pandemics, war, energy and climate crisis, and resource restriction is not just appropriately suited politico-economically but socio-culturally as well.[1] G20 a prominent post–World War II initiative aimed initially at international coordination of economic policy, includes institutions such as the “Bretton Woods twins,” the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. The group was founded in response to the series of massive debt crises that had spread across emerging markets in the late 1990s, and eventually impacted the United States, primarily based on the realization that the G7, G8, and the Bretton Woods system would be unable to provide financial stability, and that it needed to be a new, broader permanent group of major world economies to achieve sustainable economic growth.[1] However, because of the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and addition of, more “issues of global significance” such as migration, digitization, employment, healthcare, the economic empowerment of women, and development aid to the economic agenda, the importance of G20 is beginning to receive enhanced attention.[1]

Though the detractors of rising India are likely to claim that the taking over as the leader of the G20 as rotational and cosmetic only; it is the timing of the taking over as the leader and events preceding it make this period of India’s leadership—a significant geopolitical event that.

Globalization vs. Civilizations?

All civilizations have evolved through different chain of value systems to promote human existence and progress. Although the western civilization has continue to claim the domain leadership of globalization; others civilizations such as India and others in the Asia/Africa may not carry a similar perspective. But, unfortunately the contemporary dominant narrative that defines the modern scientific advancement in social, political, economic, ethical, environmental, or health is rooted in the claim of the western world as the sole heir to the history of modern scientific achievements, indicating a geographical origin and therefore the obvious source for currently accepted norms in globalization. The establishment of this apparently incorrect claim of being the sole intellectual source of human progress everywhere across the world undermines the value of diversity as essential to establishing true globalization. This so called universalist view of the western idea is build on a superstructure of one size fits all globalization, and encompassing all cultures, societies, and geographies-making true understanding of globalization an eventual impossibility.[2]

Industrial Revolution, WWII, and the Post-colonial World: Present Crisis

Despite the history of globalization being not new, the promotion of it in the currently accepted form after World War II (post-colonial) definitely picked pace only in the last five to seven decades. In an advisory titled, “Measures for the Development of the Underdeveloped Societies,” the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs observed that “There is a sense in which rapid economic progress is impossible without painful adjustments. The ancient philosophies have to be scrapped, old social institutions have to disintegrate; bonds of caste, creed, and race have to burst; and large numbers of persons who cannot keep up with progress have to have their expectations of a comfortable life frustrated. Very few communities are willing to pay the full price of economic progress.”[3]

Based on the conviction arising out of this philosophy, the advancement of the idea of durability and invincibility of a western science–economic–military framework extending to health and the environment has been comflict infested. This framework is coming to suspected now of only thinking about how to make rules to manage the non-western world, particularly Asian nations, which have 60% of the world’s population into that world order, which it defines as globalization.

While the eastern and sourthern civilizations were being brushed aside, common sense and reasoning suffered, environment, medicine, and health lost their way until COVID-19 emerged in 2020. As if COVID has not been enough, the latest war in Europe has only unmasked Europe’s inability to resolve conflicts peacefully, more so in times of serious resource restriction, despite its claims to be moral, ethical, and all-knowing. But, then peace and contentment may not be at the center of European ethos. Europe’s continuous accusing of others about sectarian/civil conflicts (their one of the stated reason for their universalist view and form of globalization) cannot relieve them of the burden of the Yugoslav wars, often described as Europe’s deadliest armed conflict since World War II. The wars, which ran from 1991–2001, resulting in the dissolution of Yugoslavia were marked by many war crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and mass wartime rape.[4]

Similarly west’s continued claims of helping the world improve on climate, as the largest component of a green planet are also half-hearted, to say the least. Despite being among the largest contributors to environmental pollutants, their unwillingness to transfer climate-friendly technologies to poor nations is legendary. The success of, “loss and damage” as part of the United Nations climate summit will need to be watched over for these reasons.[5]

It is a known fact that for decades, wealthy nations, which have emitted half of all heat-trapping gasses since 1850, have avoided calls to help reseource contributors but colonization victim poor countries recover from climate disasters, fearing that doing so could open them to unlimited liability. However, then again, addressing liabilities has not been their strength.

Post-COVID World

The COVID-19 pandemic, despite the loss it caused—human, societal, or economic, has inadvertently helped debunk economic theories based in unilateral dominance as well as the science that came as a by-product of such theories.[6] It (COVID-19) taught us that benchmarking and marketing itself as the sole inheritor of scientific and moral values as applicable universally may be fraught with danger. A crisis of high magnitude will unmask if benchmarking is superficial and Covid-19 was once in a century crisis-a rare black swan event. The war in Europe, the energy crisis, the climate disasters, and the resource restriction appear only to have added to the damage caused by COVID. COVID-19 proved that the unbelievably diverse world was too complex to be packed into this utopian hold-all one size fits all idea. But, COVID-19 actually may have only uncovered a crisis, which had been in the making for the latter part of last century and extending into the current. The ruin staring at us is not just of economics, it is of ethics, it is of unwillingness to accept diversity as the core principle of existence, it is of true identification of the principles of globalization with every global citizen an equal partner. Most significantly though on the better side, it is a period of actual realization of a failure of the universalist views of the west.

Window of Opportunity-India’s Leadership of G20

Probably, this is a time of acceptance of a more sustained worldview coming from a civilization with a long history of acceptance of global citizenship as fundamental to their growth and sustenance. In that sense, it is more than appropriate that the leadership of G20 at this time of crisis comes to the cradle of civilization—India, a nation known for seeking its own answers for any kind of crisis based on the principle of global ideation but local impact. Nothing personifies globalization in a truer sense than the core Indian civilizational principle uniting all living things (humans, animals, and plants) “Vasudhaiva KutumbakamOne Earth, One Family, One Future.”[7]


Ayam nijah paro veti gananaa laghuchetasaam Udaarcharitaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam

It means “This is my own and that a stranger–is the calculation of the narrow-minded, for the magnanimous-hearts however, the entire earth is but a family.” The principle that finds similar formulations–from Tangun’s Hongik Ingan in Korea, or Ubuntu in different African traditions, echoes the potential to build a global ethical framework for peace, environmental friendliness, and prosperity for all people.[7] The philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is also complementary to the core Indian civilizational principles of Satya (truth) the principle that equates God with soul or Ahimsa (non-violence) a positive and dynamic force, which means benevolence or love or goodwill or tolerance (or all of the above) of all living creatures, including the objects of knowledge and various perspectives or Asteya (no desire to steal) refers not just to the theft of objects but to refrain from exploitation or Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) to live simply and keep only those material things that are required to sustain the demands of daily life. India’s offering to the world as articulated by the prime minister of India, “Indian culture is very rich and has inculcated in each one of us great values, we are the people who have come from Aham Brahmasmi (I am divine) to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth, One Family, One Future).[8] It is this timeless current of thought that gives India an unwavering belief in multilateralism and globalization.

Future of the Planet

Civilizational understanding of Indians on the continuity of human existence on Earth is based on the principles of continuous “seeking of answers.” Over over several period of several millenniums, though Indian civilization has kept introducing more complexity and allowed it to develop a more comprehensive and wholesome view of the fundamental concepts of environment, education, and health. One of the core values is that the well-being of Mother Earth depends on the preservation and sustenance of the environment. “Whatever I dig from thee, O Earth, may that have quick recovery again. O purifier, may we not injure thy vitals or thy heart.”[9]


As world suddenly realizing the impermanence of its own existence is looking for comfort and support; G20 is expected to contribute significantly to a healthy, prosperous, and equitable world. The arrival of the leadership of G20 in India’s hands is most appropriately timed as the world is expecting the arrival of true globalization—the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. There has to be a global willingness to accept diversity as the core principle of existence, it is of true identification of the principles of globalization with every global citizen an equal partner. The world can become prosperous and healthy only if peace and progress go hand in hand. Globalization must embrace civilizational diversity for sustained peace and development and conflict resolution.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1. G 20 | G 20 Major Economies | 10th G 20 Summit-PMF IAS. Available from: https://www.pmfias.com›Global. [Last accessed on 2013 Feb 07]
2. Globalization: Threat or Opportunity? An IMF Issues Brief. Available from: https://www.imf.org›external›. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]
3. Measures for the economic development of under-developed countries: Report/by a Group of Experts appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Available from: https://digitallibrary.un.org. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]
4. Excerpt: The World and Yugoslavia's Wars. Available from: https://www.cfr.org›excerpt-world-and-yugoslavias. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]
5. COP27 Reaches Breakthrough Agreement on New “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries. Available from: https://www.unep.org›news-and-stories›story›cop27. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]
6. Raina SK, Kumar R, Kumar A, Kumar D, Raina S, Gupta R, et al. Broad guidelines for primary care practitioners/standalone private health facilities/frontline healthcare facilities in view of COVID-19 pandemic. J Family Med Prim Care 2021;10:1–9. doi:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1192_20
7. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World is One Family. Available from: https://www.hyunjinmoon.com›vasudhaiva-kutumbak. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]
8. India's philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Available from: https://www.financialexpress.com›lifestyle. [Last accessed 2023 Feb 07]
9. Mother Earth: World Environment Day-The Yoga School India. Available from: https://www.theyogaschool.in›component›easyblog. [Last accessed on 2023 Feb 07]

G20; one earth; one family; one future; Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Copyright: © 2023 Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care