It is the first day of the year. Almost seems like yesterday, that we heard our flamboyant late PM, Rajiv Gandhi's vision of taking the country into 21st century................. lo and behold, nine tenths of a decade in Ikkeeswin sadi(21st Century)
is already over. Does time fly? It does, it seems, at supersonic jet speed. Late Mr Gandhi, would not be turning in his grave, at the state of affairs in his beloved country, for indeed we have made rapid progress. While Rajiv had envisaged every home with a TV antenna jutting out of its roof, we have done one better in having now, most homes with Cable TV connection or DTH receivers. While he wanted to see telephones in all homes (remember Sam Pitroda of C-DOT), even a ricksaw wallah has multiple cell phones. Economic liberalisation has borne fruit and we have telephone calls at the rate of a Post Card.
There still are a number of grey areas, like rural development, unemployment, rising corruption, terrorism, sectarian violence, rise in Maoist Insurgency, Climate change ...................and a whole lot more. Nevertheless our achievements have been noteworthy, to say the least. Imagine, who would have thought 25 years ago that representatives of our country would take centre stage, in an international summit on an issue of grave concern to the world at large. No prizes for guessing, that I allude to the Copenhagen Summit.
There are countless websites, TV channels, magazines et al, giving us how 2009, has been. Why do they not do some crystal gazing and foretell what the coming year/s might be like. Do I want to be different and take a shot .................
My guess is that the next major challenge for India is going to be the Maoist Insurgency, (read my earlier post) and like with the rest of the world in the energy climate era, controlling climate change. Maoist Insurgency seems to have engulfed a fairly large portion of the country already. Now that the world is still in the grip of the worst recession in many decades, unemployed youth are susceptible to fall prey to the lure of extortion money and the glamour of the gun. It is better than sitting at home and feeling like a burden on all and sundry. Public service infrastructure in most major cities is being tested to the limit, with ever increasing migration from rural to urban areas. Unless the authorities take a real hard look at what needs to be done and act on it in right earnest, problems like the Mumbai water crisis are going to become a routine affair. Decongestion of major cities is the only solution, as infrastructure cannot keep pace with growing population and associated problems. And to that end, making newer and smaller states may not be a bad idea.
I cannot but think and shudder at how our future generations are going to cope with the multitude of challenges that are bound to confront them. With the short sightedness of our politicians, the future seems bleak indeed. All of us in our individual capacities and collectively think seriously about the future of our children and contribute towards making this world a better and more peaceful place to live in.
In 2010 and beyond, let us resolve to do just that. Need I say how? I am sure, all of us, are aware of how responsible citizens of the world ought to act and behave to prevent further damage to our environment and civilization.
WISH YOU ALL A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR