A NEW dawn smiles in the far-away horizon ushering a new day, a year, a new decade. The darkness of the previous night melts away in its radiance. Life sparkles with new hope. Time, the greatest of all healers, has again moved to let a year of trials and tribulations pass into the enormity of eternity. Now, the magic of hope begins.
With prayer on lips, humanity welcomes the new dawn. Wisemen say, let the bygones be bygones but Year 2020 was not just any year to lose its significance in the vastness of time.
It had held its own not just in terms of colossal hardships that it wreaked upon mankind but also for the resourcefulness that humanity again demonstrated in face of toughest oddities. Most part of the year saw a pandemic inflict pain and suffering upon mankind, yet it also saw big and small efforts by nations, communities and people to do their bit to bring succour to those suffering.
A populous nation of 130 million with not-so-elaborate resources at its disposal stood tall to the task at hand. Riding on the strong arms of a pragmatic leadership, use of technology and her people’s resilience, India has done stupendously well in containing the coronavirus contagion to a great degree.
While many big nations have fumbled, India’s efforts, given all the odds against her, have been hailed by the world. The early lockdown, questioned by many for its impact on a troubled economy, did save many lives as is evident by present dwindling numbers of positive cases. The economy, too, is bouncing back. Indeed, the issues of low growth and joblessness do pose a challenge, but for anybody to think they can pass a pandemic without any substantial consequence would be downright foolish.
The images of the exodus of workers from cities will forever haunt the Indian mind. It brought to light an age-old problem not sufficiently addressed. The great urban-rural divide, the poverty of our villages, will need a firm handling. Various efforts have been done in the past to bridge the gap, but they have proven way too short of required hard work.
The desired change in the situation will require stronger efforts to bring prosperity to villages. This cannot happen until agriculture, the main source of livelihood, for most of the population, can flourish the way it did for centuries and centuries in this ancient country.
Government’s introduction of the three new farm bills seemed an effort in that direction. But it has met with undesirable opposition, mostly fomented through a misinformation campaign for narrow political gains. Fortunately, the green shoots of peace are emerging and year 2021 may see more concerted efforts by the government and farmers to ensure sustainable growth achieved after a comprehensive dialogue gained through mutual trust.
Year 2020 must also be remembered as a year when India’s neighbours received some kind and some strong-worded lessons in statecraft. In the volatile world, where not all nations are governed by democratic values, resolute answers on opportune times do go a long way in ensuring lasting peace.
The passing year saw India giving many such resolute answers to prying adversaries. From use of soft diplomacy to hard military solutions, India had everything on offer for friends and foes. With its borders guarded by brave hearts, pandemic on decline, economy on path of revival, this nation of 130 million will usher a new year and a new decade with lot of hope and faith and courage. Building of great nations, however, requires much more than hope, faith and courage.
They require united efforts, consistency, pragmatism and commonality of goals. Opposition for opposition’s sake can do no good for a nation bubbling with enthusiasm. For a thriving democracy, a chaos sometimes is a benefactor but that is not for all times.
Hope Year 2021 also meets a New India, where narrow aspirations will melt in favour of greater goals of national success, where democratic means will be used to further democracy, where development will be measured not just in terms of riches but also in righteousness.