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Politics 2014: A watershed year for India, but ‘acche din’ continue to elude

New Delhi,Arghya Roy Chowdhury: In politics, a week is an eternity. So a year is enough time for major contours of the existing polity to see a dramatic shift. This change has been none so much visible than in 2014, at least compared to the last couple of decades. A year that saw the ignited hopes of many people engineering a tectonic shift in the power dynamics in India, a year when the miscalculation of the Aam Aadmi Party cut short the growth of a promising mass movement, a year when traditional rulers were relegated away from the hallowed circle by ordinary Indians tired of being taken for granted.

The year 2014 was indeed a watershed year for the country, but it doesn’t mean it gave all the clues to the puzzle of what lies ahead for India, touted to be a global superpower in the future. In fact, the year threw up more questions than it answered for an impassioned observer. The year can be broadly divided into pre-May16 and the time post that. The mood of the country has reportedly changed, India is apparently again a buzzword in the boardrooms of top corporates and our PM is almost a global rockstar attracting legions of fans.

But how far have things changed on the ground? A period of six-seven months is too early to judge a government which has come to power with an imposing mandate. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. It is not only about preaching to the faithful, but also to assure the remaining that the government is dedicated to the principles of sarvajan hitaye. Governance can’t be series of photo-ops with an extended PR spin augmenting its importance. Neither can it be through perfunctory tweets, but cold silence when the event at hand is too volatile for a spin. If it is indeed Modi’s government, then his colleagues should also sync in tune with his appeal of peace and harmony and give a moratorium to communal violence. However, from farmer suicides to lack of women’s security, all the teething problems continue to linger unhindered. A series of controversies have also ensured that the government’s ambitious reform pitch is under a cloud.

As the sun sets on 2014, a gloomy December has brought with it news of several terror attacks across the world. The hardliners are alive and kicking, their faith in humanity long eclipsed by their penchant for bigotry. It is not about faith, but rather about indoctrination of power, the lack of basic empathy and muzzling the opinion of others by seeking an alibi in some religious book. This is a global problem and India is not immune to it. Reports of a Bangalore-based man operating the pro-Islamic State Twitter handle, and a few actually packing their bags to join a ‘global jihad’ are indeed disturbing and indicate the importance of keep the secular fabric of the country intact.

The current government has been branded as a ‘U-turn sarkaar’ by its opponents. While some of the re-thinking may be due to pragmatism, others have come about because the erstwhile stance was taken just for the sake of opposition, without any ideological locus standi. The new government is looking for big-bang reforms in the coming year, but it needs to be tempered with a liberal doze of social reforms. India in many ways, is at a crossroad. A measured inclusive agenda of governance can give wings to the hope of millions, the combined inertia propelling the country to potential greatness. Similarly, some missteps here and the country can fall back to the impatient vortex of instability as marked in the rest of South Asia.

‘Make in India’ should not be only a motto, but a fervent belief in the inherent strength of all Indians irrespective of their caste, creed and language. ‘Swachh Bharat’ should ideally be about purifying our society of all taboos.

Here’s heading into a bright 2015 with the hope that the country is steered well in the envisioned direction.

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