THE visit of Prime-Minister-designate Mr. Narendra Modi to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and his worshipping of the deity is being hailed by the nation as a perfectly legitimate activity by a person holding high political office. There were times when such worshipping was treated as being anti-secular, though most leaders bowed before deities at various places as a matter of personal culture. Despite this, some forces calling themselves to be more secular than others also decried visiting of the temples as mere political showmanship. However, Mr. Narendra Modi has been able to change the image totally, thus leading the countrymen to accept proper religious rituals as perfectly legitimate activities. When Mr. Modi visited Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines a few days earlier and meditated for 17 hours, there some snide remarks from some quarters. Unmindful of those, Mr. Modi has continued to demonstrate to the nation the power of faith. This is no mean a contribution in a society in which false definitions of rule the roost.
EVEN as French Open tournament gets going, the world knows that the triumvirate of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic symbolises the best in men’s tennis. Whether Rafa Nadal will be able to defend the title or if Djokovic will win the tournament or Federer will establish his supremacy once again, will be only a matter of detail. For, their wins and losses do not obliterate their greatness as tennis masters. Even if a fourth player wins the coveted trophy, the threesome will continue to enjoy the best respect from the fans and competitors just because of their iconic skills and virtues and values. The three have brought to tennis something lasting, something classic, something out of which true legends are woven. As the opening tournament of the Grand Slam season, French Open has its own importance and a win here gives a great start to a player’s year-long quest of excellence. Yet, for Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, such details make only a marginal difference. Such are the levels of their extraordinary excellence.