It is almost a year now, since the people’s Lok Sabha mandate was announced, and the Party pivotal to India’s fight for freedom, was forced to relinquish the reins of a government it had managed for most of the years since our independence in 1947.
While the process was democratic, the shift in scale and sentiment was revolutionary.
Ironically, the Party that steered India through its Green Revolution, Industrial Revolution, and IT Revolution; and Leadership that helped India rise as an economic superpower in the new world order; was re-positioned to occupy the Opposition benches.
The people of India meanwhile, seem to have embraced the winds of change and the new language of governance, in anticipation of “acchey din!”
Coincidentally, the culmination of years of work on Mission Mars and global downturns in oil prices, for example, gave the new government early image-wins, and straws of positive sentiment to grab.
Perfectly timed invitations, and perfectly placed punch lines drew crowds and attention to India and its people; with its Prime Minister becoming master of ceremonies, to national-pride fuelled audiences.
Naturally, when a billion odd people rise together, world leaders and markets are bound to sit up and take notice.
Well done, I say. India needs this. In fact, India has needed this rocket-boost for a very long time.
That being said, one can only point out that boosters detach themselves from a rocket as it goes into space. Then the spaceship has to power itself, and travel its course alone, and in a vacuum.
That is the most difficult and lonely task of a Government.
As the new government travels on its declared mission and attempts to tackle all the issues blamed on the previous government, we must pause and reflect on the journey that lies ahead; pause and reflect on us, the people going along on the ride.
The immediate questions before us are the obvious political ones.
Now that the tables have turned, will the BJP involve the Opposition in government and policy decisions, as much as it wanted as Opposition?
Will the Congress play the role of a constructive Opposition, or will it become the obstructive Opposition it accused the BJP of being in the past?
Will Narendra Modi be able to overhaul the system he called incompetent, and cleanse the country of the corruption as he promised?
Will the traditional satraps of the BJP actively support Modi’s efforts and let him own the limelight?
Will the government’s agenda of economic progress hold its own against right-wing fundamentalist agenda?
These are questions most people are asking today.
How about we pause and reflect on some other key questions…
Why do the government and judiciary appear to be in constant conflict?
Why is there evidence of friction between government and the CBI? And then sometimes, why does the CBI seem to be working in collusion with vested interests in the government?
Why do we focus so much on policing and justice by governments and courts, when we should also be focusing on moral awakening and social reform?
Will the people of India, who voted for change, actually be bearers of it, or barriers?
Yes, the people of India. Aren’t we also responsible for the state of our nation?
Why is corruption blamed on those in power and high places, when the ecosystem that encourages and feeds it includes almost everyone around us?
Why do we blame the police and government for crimes against our mothers, daughters and sisters, when it is our own fathers, sons and brothers committing them?
Will the people of India recognize that the apathy and selfishness isn’t the exclusive symptom of the government, but also an ailment of our society?
Let us pause and reflect on this.
Let us also pause and reflect on day to day issues we face.
Can the people who complain about litter in the streets, ask how it got there in the first place?
Will those who complain about corruption, risk delays in their work, and stop actively offering bribes?
Will those demanding better infrastructure and governance as taxpayer rights, acknowledge that only 2% of us actually pay tax and contribute to national wealth?
I do not claim to have the right answers to all these questions. But I have opinions, as would you. Which means, as a nation of a billion plus people, we have at least a million opinions… and agendas and action points… which explains the nature of our polity, and state of our nation.
And the only way to address all of the above, is for all of us to first come together as a nation, and share our thoughts and concerns. Actively contemplate collectively. To pause, and reflect.