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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

As we dawn on a new year, there is much to look forward to but little does it mean we can remove and absolve ourselves from all that went down in the past year. Rather the year 2008 in many ways suggests a prequel to the hard times we need to brace ourselves for in 2009.

Milind Deora Nov 08, 2010
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As we dawn on a new year, there is much to look forward to but little does it mean we can remove and absolve ourselves from all that went down in the past year. Rather the year 2008 in many ways suggests a prequel to the hard times we need to brace ourselves for in 2009. The New Year was dignified with little cheer and celebration and rightfully so. From the economic meltdown to the predominance of terror attacks, an emotion of grief was felt across the masses. We should make a resolution as a nation this New Year; it should be one of solidarity and strength. India shall persevere and overcome these unrelenting forces and acknowledge its history of stoic confrontation. Referencing the approach of the Sixties and Gandhi’s revolutionary struggle would assist us in facilitating a much needed change. As Dylan rightfully said back in the Sixties, ‘The Times They Are A-Changing.’ That sort of consciousness lends a coherent and collective voice to the masses and impels that change. The election of Barack Obama heralds that change in the United States and so should we look upon new beginnings. This being only possible if we as a nation agree upon inviting change and taking chances.

This year has seen a spew of tragedies credited to terrorism with brief respite coming our way. The terrorists, as is second nature to them, have been ruthless in their pursuit and there is no denying that they have managed to send a shudder down the spine of a country that intrinsically harbours peace. And this time the rest of the world could not excuse itself of the implications; this came as a slap on the face for not only India but the entire civilised world. Indians felt helpless and violated which spawned a crippling anger, which was channelled the wrong way. The anger seems to have gotten the better of the youth – rather than fuelling the existing system, it spread like wild fire taking with it any shreds of rationality. There was not one collective voice but myriad different voices, sensitised by the same concern but streaming different approaches. Yes I admit, we have overlooked loopholes within our security and intelligence. We need to buckle up and address a lot of issues, but blame games are only going to handicap the possibility of coming up with any cohesive solution. I am not suggesting that the youth be pacifist. What I ask of them is to be realistic. They need to demand accountability of the establishment and in doing so pressurise the government to be more proactive. But at the same time they must leave the solutions to the experts. For any of us to think that we have the solutions to these problems, is to me, being naïve and arrogant. The youth should harness their positive energy and be collaborative over being confrontational. Also with the economy taking a hit and unemployment looming large, the ugly truth of corporations is slowly coming to light. The sham that was Satyam was effaced after eight long years; it reminds us of how we badly need a reality check and also need to reassess the notion of India Shining. In all of this, we must resolve not to be cheated again, to be alert, to demand accountability of corporations and the government.

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We need to rewind to all those ideals and principles that saw us through troubled times in the past. Gandhi was pushed to awry extremes yet he never buckled down allowing anger to get the better of him. We need that sense of resolute determination and focus. You can’t shut out and wish away the system, that’s one of the mistakes we might make. Don’t reject, distance and delink yourself from the system. Once you do that you become an outsider, and there is nothing within your power to be able to manifest the change you wish upon. I think the most important and fundamental step to take is embrace the system and work the change within it. We might rage against the machine, but what if the machine completely breaks down. We must understand our role in the whole dynamic of a representative democracy. I think all that has occurred in the past year and lingers through in 2009, only beseeches us to wake up and smell the coffee.

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