My Dreams for 2012

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 2 Jan 2012

Dr Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra – TRANSCEND Media Service

The year 2011 is coming to an end and we welcome 2012. 2011 will be old, and the coming year will be new and the living reality. The old year will take away from us all kinds of things which we want to be our past, and leave the things we want to keep with us and cherish. As an optimist, as the one who believes in hopes, positive dreams, and who believe that things happen for the good, I have like many of my fellow human beings many dreams for the coming year. I will classify those dreams in three broad categories, but interlinked: global/international, national and individual.

At the global level I dream that nations will come out of their narrow nationalistic thinking, and think in terms of global, not in terms of parochial. The developments, in fact many, in 2011 in international scene have been guided by narrow nationalistic approaches, the approach that undermines the ethos of plurality and coexistence, the spirit of cosmopolitanism. In sum, the nations have been guided by ‘national ego’ rather than ‘national spirit’ that leads a nation towards the larger goal of internationalism, manifest in a global order what in Sanskrit is called ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is but one family).

I dream nations come together on various contentious issues, the issues which have often divided nations rather than bringing them together on issues such as climate change, shaping of international economic order, reform of the global bodies like the United Nations, or developing a common front to fight extremism, violence, drug trafficking, piracy, terrorism, conflicts, and so many other common menaces that afflict nations worldwide. In a globalized world, nations are connected, meaning what happens in one nation, is not totally isolated from the affairs in other nation in term of its impacts. For example, what happens in Eurozone has its impacts on other countries, or what happens in Arab world, or in Central Asia, or in Korea, has its impacts on other nations. The dialogues between ‘civilizations,’ between cultures, and between nations have faltered because nations have often viewed these as constructions to promote their interests rather than the common interests.

There appears to have developed a spiritual vacuum in guiding the conduct of nations. High sounding slogans of democracy, human rights, humanitarianism and also peace, have remained mostly parts of dry intellectual discourse, confined to the pages of books and journals. There is a wide gap between thought and action. Nations pronounce one thing but practice some other thing, or what we call diplomacy. Diplomacy so far has proved a poor mechanism to bring nations together towards evolution of a common framework for international peace and security. I dream in the New Year at least some of the discrepancies in the pronouncements of nations and their actions are dispelled. The dictum Love Thy Neighbour should be the guiding principle rather than being a buzzword to please our egos. Hypocrisy must be given up, and in its place straightforwardness and civility must guide nations and their behaviors.

Coming to my nation, India, called the largest democracy in the world with thriving freedom and equality but in reality which is a nation, majority of which are stricken by poverty, poor health, poor education system, and poor governance. That one of the great Gandhians, Anna Hazare launched the movement for Lok Pal to make India corruption free is something which I dream to see successful in the New Year. Let everybody, everybody means everybody, not the people in concrete barracks in metro cities, but also people living in huts in villages and countryside have at least two meals per day. India’s growth story, so called success and economic opulence, is laced with lethargy, apathy and drudgery of India’s morality and spiritualism. I am sure this is not the India Mahatma Gandhi dreamt. When Jawaharlal Nehru called industries as temples of modern India, he meant not only industrial development but also enough jobs for poor and enough food for their children. That dream did not materialize. India grew but only in the number of its population, only in the number of black money account holders, only in the number of cars and bungalows in cities. That lopsided approach must be abandoned, addressed. India’s core ‘service of man is service to God’ must be awakened, and their lies India’s growth and true success.

I dream that conflicts in India’s border, conflicts of India with its neighbours particularly Pakistan, its internal security dilemma in terms of rise of extremism, and violence, killing innocent people stop. Whether violence in Kashmir, or in jungles of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, or the violence in the aspirations to be rich overnight must stop, and that is one of my dreams in the New Year. The unholy tag for Delhi, the capital of India, ‘city unsafe for women’ must go. Let women and men walk free whether in day or in night. The individual whether rich or poor has her own dignity, and that must be respected. India’s politics has been vitiated by menaces of corruption, poverty of intellect, and lack of vision, and craze to hold power at any cost, which I hope will go down or at least be moderated in the New Year. I dream of a India, in the words of Sri Aurobindo, as a beacon light of peace, beacon light of development and spirituality, and as an ideal nation in the world.

At the individual level, I dream of myself as a human being who is more sober, humble and honest. I dream of myself as a conqueror over anger in the New Year. Howsoever differences of myself with others, however grave and acute, I should have no ill will towards that person. I think that will be the greatest achievement in the New Year. Self control, poise, control over anger, and conquering lies, must be the priority in the New Year. As my maternal uncle passed away this year, who was so loving to me, I realize that human life is so fragile, and so mortal, and so poorly subject to vagaries of climate, disease and hunger, that the pride of being human being must be coated with the humility that life is short, but the work is too great to be accomplished. It will be worthy to remember Gandhiji here, when he says ‘when I go to bed every night I think I die, and when I get up in morning I think I am born.’ Let that spirit guide thought and action in the New Year. I will stop with one of great Indian thinkers, Gopabandhu Das, who says, ‘Human life is not measured by moments, days, months and years a human being spends on earth but by the measure of their work.’ Let this spirit guide my conduct, conduct of my friends (none I consider my enemy), India and other nations, let us all be more humble in the New Year.

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Dr Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, currently part of the research faculty at the Centre for Central Eurasian Studies, University of Mumbai, India. He specializes on areas of conflict, peace and terrorism, and strategic dimensions of Central Eurasian politics.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Jan 2012.

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