ECLIPSES ARE SHORT-LIVED
THE New Year rings in new hopes and expectations, as if failures and frustrations have been rung out with the year that has just ended. To begin the New Year with forebodings may sound like a pessimist’s pastime. However, we must face it with buoyant self-confidence. And the stout-hearts among us like this writer should not lose hope, though the reality, grim and grinding, beckons the nation to a desperate prospect. The economic hardships alone do not account for the mounting discontent. Much more is involved in the present complex situation.
There is distress all over the country Deep-rooted fatalism, dumb acceptance of misery, a raging sea of poverty, and a few islands of vulgar luxury, inhabited by a few who behave as if nothing has happened. This is India today. And this should disturb every sensitive Indian today. The time is long past when one could pacify one’s conscience by angry outburst or exposure of a few misdeeds. The situation is far more serious, the prospect grimmer.
The cancers that have grown in the vitals of India are so horrendous that whole limbs may decay and die before some sort of curative effort succeeds in the rest of the system. Men of vision, integrity and merit were at the helm of affairs in the early years of this nation. A different set of qualifications has now become necessary to attain and then retain office. Men and women of merit have disappeared from the higher echelons of power.
The welter of crashing values, the miasma of poverty, the insensate outburst of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, regionalism and casteism: it is chaotic. One is also shocked at the sight of brute force trampling upon the underprivileged, while the elite enjoy all the inevitable accompaniments of permissive morality, addiction to vicarious violence, erotic and narcotic fantasies.
Caught in the immediacy of the present we may be agonizing over these maladies. There is still hope. “There is an ebb and tide in the affairs of man. Things will change”. This may be the darkest hour before the radiant dawn. God has not gone bankrupt. He can make the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame cross the mountain. If past is any pointer to the future, there is indeed hope. There is resilience in our people, which no combination of adversities can kill. Our ideals and principles might appear to be in eclipse. But, eclipses are short-lived.
In an atmosphere surcharged with cynicism on the one hand and despair on the other, we would do well to go out anywhere, amidst the din and bustle of the factories, among the IT professionals or the vast expanses of the fields, in the beehive of busy offices or in the boisterous, crowded campuses – among men, women, the young and the old – you will hear a thousand and one questions why things have gone wrong and what’s the way out of it.
Dedicated men and women, sacrificing comfort and many allurements of the consumerist society are building a new India in the remote villages and hilly regions of this vast land of ours. There abound in this country today men and women of finest moral qualities, experts in their respective fields seeking to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to serve the community by disseminating it to the public. In the prevailing darkness they move about like figures in silhouettes; soon the sun shall arrive and identify them, and among them shall be seen new leaders with a new message of enriched patriotism. A new resolve to make this land of ours a better place to live in. The saga of such endeavours is hardly publicised by the media addicted to the burlesque of present-day politics. But they give us reasons for hope.
The reserves of India are too strong to be contained by the unworthy for too long. Today’s rulers as well as the ones waiting in their wings to be future rulers must necessarily be themselves marginalised sooner or later because they are superficial manifestations of a superficial phenomenon; neither they nor the phenomenon that sustains them have any validity in the general scheme of human progress.
Like wars, seemingly hopeless political cancers help steel a nation’s nerve and accelerate the maturing process. India will then step out of the new into the newer.
501, Indira Residency
Bangalore 560 043