By Vijay Darda | 30-12-2019
May the country be happy & healthy, crops grow abundantly & farmers become prosperous, children get educated & youth get employment!
Nature that way, has divided Time into two dimensions: night and day! The Sun rises and sets every day, but man has tied the time to his canvas. Second, minute, hour, twenty-four hours, week, month and year! Then every fourth year there is ‘leap year’ i.e. an additional date of February 29! Nevertheless, just see the hassle of the times that a need has arisen to adjust the ‘leap second’ in the world clock. So the specialty of the New Year 2020 is that around the date of June 30, one second will be adjusted in the world clock so that the time when the earth is rotating and our clock is ticking synchronises.
We are about to bid goodbye to 2019. Through this column, I put my viewpoints before you on all contemporary topics all 51 weeks of 2019 so far. This column is 52nd and last of the year. Of course, I have incorporated your views too in my opinion pieces because as a journalist I write what I feel in the company of the common man. E-mails and letters received from you regarding the topics of the column also confirm this empathy. We all want our countrymen to be healthy, happy and joyous. In the auspicious moment of this year’s farewell and New Year’s arrival, let’s wish that our expectations are fulfilled.
Expectations can certainly be fulfilled because we Indians have competence and ability! If we have not been obliterated despite being attacked for centuries, then this is the proof enough of our incredible capabilities. So the question arises: What do we lack? I keep asking this question too and I keep doing comparative studies while moving around the country and the world. I also see in a small village in Europe that there are spacious playgrounds, beautiful parks and people have also grown the finest variety of trees and colourful plants outside their houses. The crystal clear rivers flow freely. There are plush roads, swanky footpaths and people park their vehicles in a disciplined way. The question always arises in my mind as to why we can’t have the same thing here too? In our country, whether it is a village or city, the vehicular traffic has become a headache.
Hardly anybody follows traffic rules. If we all resolve to not violate the traffic rules any more, will the traffic situation in our country not improve? If we decide that we will keep our neighbourhood neat and clean in the same way as we keep own house, will not our neighbourhood become tidy? If we launch a public movement to save our rivers, is there any difficulty in reviving them? We have many such examples before us which have proved that such amazing feats are quite possible. Uttar Pradesh-born Amla Ruia reached Rajasthan and built 368 check dams in 518 villages and solved the water crisis faced by more than 6 lakh people. Just think what can happen if the whole country follows in the footsteps of Amla Ruia and the government also supports it. Our waters can be as pure as I see in the countries of Europe! So let’s take a pledge in the New Year that we will not only not waste water but also save it.
We all have read from childhood that the soul of India lives in the villages and India is an agriculture based country. This is also true because according to the 2011 census 68.84 per cent of India’s population lives in villages. Agriculture is the primary source of income for about 70 per cent of the population. But what is the condition of our villages? Where do we stand as compared to the villages in Europe? Nowhere! Leave aside the prosperity of the farmers, we are not able to do much as to stop farmer suicides. Plans are announced still suicides do not stop! So take a pledge this time that you will definitely ask your people’s representatives as to what they are doing for the farmers of the country?
And let’s expect from this New Year that our climate improves and rains arrive on time so that crops will grow abundantly and farmers become prosperous. Pray this year that every household should have ample stock of grains so that no one dies of hunger. There must be sufficient resources so that a person does not have to travel from hospital to village carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder! May our health services improve, children have access to schools and government schools upgrade to the level of private schools. Let’s hope that the economic condition of the country bounces back into recovery mode. Let’s hope further that our industries flourish and every youth gets employment. No one should remain unemployed! Let’s have all the expectations that make life happy and put in the requisite efforts to fulfil them.
We are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the Gandhi Memorial in Durban, Bapu’s revolutionary land in South Africa, and bow my head in front of Bapu’s unique statue in Johannesburg, where he started practising law. A unique statue of Gandhiji as a young practising Barrister has been built at Gandhi Square in Johannesburg, which has not been seen anywhere till date.
This is the statue of youthful barrister Gandhi. Remembering Bapu’s peaceful revolution and initial work, this question has been arising in my mind again and again, when will we be able to build the India of Bapu’s dreams? So this year let all of us take a pledge that we will follow the path of truth, non-violence and humility and build an India that is far above the narrow thinking of caste and religion; and where only humanity matters.
Many greetings to you all from the entire Lokmat Media group for the year 2020. Be happy, delighted and full of joy!
The New Year is just about to dawn. Best wishes to all of you. May the coming year fulfil all the expectations and spread happiness. Let’s hope that the year 2020 rekindles our life in such a loving manner that it is never forgotten!