The time leaving us is a time when the world has been in a breathless race. A year in which everything went topsy-turvey with the pandemic, for which a cure is yet to be found, and which cut across the borders we had built between developed and developing worlds. There is no period in history ever since the World Wars gripped by such a deep crisis. The lesson derived during the year is that it is not lethal and speedy weapons but broad hearts with compassion that wields strength. Only if countries used to setting apart a major chunk of their assets to defence budget, realise that what we need is a string of schools, health care centres and research centres and act on it that we can judge if this new lesson has brought about any change for the better. And that is also a pre-requisite for making 2021 a year of hope and trust as envisioned by the United Nations.
Although the US population's election of Joe Biden, who held up unity and pluralism, and rejection of a ruler with hallmarks of bellicosity and racial hatred, does not raise excessive optimism, it can be seen as a first step towards a change in the world including caution against wars and protection of nature.
With the availability of effective vaccines against Covid, there may be a relief from the whirlpool the world is in now. But when a threat is looming on the Indian horizon that soon after the rollout of the vaccine against Covid, steps will be initiated for implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act, what is the antidote for the hurt it causes to Indian population and the global community that cares for India? Is the Indian government trying to declare to the world that it has not learnt any lesson in spite of miserably going out of gear at the face of Covid, and the economy having faced an all-time low? Or is it that we refuse to worry about the harm caused by increasing caste murders, minority persecution, civil rights violations, anti-human laws and court judgments devoid of compassion? The only antidote to the current malady is for people of India to keep asserting with diligence that the oxygen of India lies not in communalism and racism but in secularism and democracy.
The new year is dawning through the Himalayas, by witnessing the flame of a life-and-death struggle lit by the farmer population that serves food to the country and who set out to avoid dying of hunger and indebtedness through a struggle for survival. Year 2021 also marks the centenary of an epic rebellion at the grassroots section of Malabar including farmer labour with a goal of ending landlord exploitation and imperialist occupation. The hope is that the current war of resistance of India's farmers will not go futile at such a time.
This is also the time when Kerala's local administration domain has just been refreshed with induction of seasoned senior leaders as well as youth with new ideas, into the path of development. The country looks forward to a re-engineering of the establishment into one with commitment to man and earth across all aspects right from environment protection to health security. All the pitfalls that came in the way of the much-hyped development models at national and global levels in the past should be kept in mind when a new development philosophy is evolved. The panchayats and municipalities of Kerala should become success stories and global examples of equality and self-reliance. If those who have taken the reins dare to adhere to their oath, they will definitely be able to actualise the promised change.
There is no wound time cannot heal, goes the adage. When in everyone of us there is a cure called humanity that can heal wounds of any depth and relieve pain, there is no need to wait for the mercy of time. It is too late to open up minds which were shut pre-Covid and to put an end to the distance we keep. This is a time to get to know and get close to, each other, and thus to make the world a garden of tolerance; the time to hold close through word and deed. Let the coming year be a time when our offspring's eyes do not get with tears because of starvation and discrimination, but instead be able to look at the stars in a clear sky. And let not the shroud of prejudice and the toxic smoke of warplanes mar their vision.
'Madhyamam' takes this occasion to wish every reader a happy new year.