Welcome 2013


Dr. Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra – TRANSCEND Media Service

Year 2013 has arrived.

We the people of the world welcome the New Year with fan fare. We visit our families and friends, greet each other, and then immerse ourselves in routine activities, and the days pass away.

With every New Year we face change in our lives. We grow old and by one year our life becomes short.  We get new opportunities, take new assignments, and make new friends. We have moments of joy and grief, the intensity varies from individual to individual.

Events happen around us. We keep an eye on them and act accordingly. We get ready to embrace events that bring us joy, and shun those which bring us grief.  The life passes by, the New Year becomes old, and we wait for twelve months to welcome another new year.

We reflect on the passing year as we welcome the New Year. Developments, good and bad, took place within and without us, in and around our immediate family and extended neighborhood, and in the world. We find at the end despite ups and downs life is beautiful.

At individual level, the changes may appear minuscule or far reaching. The individual toils for survival. But at the level of consciousness we do not know whether we have climbed another stair. All religions preach human values, but as the world events reveal it appears we have not followed our faiths. Discrimination against the powerless continues, we shelter animosity against others, discord persists in relationships, and exploitation of the poor by the rich thrives.

Individual’s inner state reflects outer action. An individual perturbed from within may challenge established rules and create tumult. The race in achieving goals in a competitive world may have compromised some of the fine human virtues. The busy world separates immediate and extended relations. It separates parents from children, and individuals from society. The result has been chaotic. Violence at workplaces or institutions of learning, or at public spaces has grown. The world and its inhabitants suffer from malnutrition of inner peace, which is in urgent need of cultivation– at home, education institutions, in parliaments, in world bodies and above all within human beings.

The higher we climb the mountain, farther goes our gaze. The more we rise in consciousness, the more we see the world as a part of our family. The expansion of the individual consciousness is a certain remedy not only for the individual, but also for the society. When we say the world is our family and think and act in that spirit, most of the problems we confront and call insurmountable will wither away. One does not need to be a genius to understand this simple dictum of life.

The maxim that world is but a family remains so far a chant from noble souls, but has not penetrated the minds and hearts of world leaders as the events of the passing year revealed. At the larger level, at the levels of the nation-state and the world, problems remain far and wide though they do not threaten survival of mankind. Violence in parts of the world reflects that the nation-states have not been guided by the higher collective consciousness as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Crisis in Iran and Syria persists while we welcome the New Year.

Nothing remains static in life. Things like flowing water move. Whether it is individual, or family, or nation-state, or the world, changes take place. The change is not one-dimensional but multifaceted. How this change takes place depends on the individual and also on the groups consisting of individuals. The global concerns about radicalism, climate change, economic disequilibrium, diseases can not be seen merely as creations of unseen forces, but are shaped by individual, national and international actions. These issues can not be addressed in a frame in which each nation fights for its interests and perceives others as enemy. National ego must give way to national reconciliation. Nations, as a philosopher says, are like stones in a beautiful ornament – the world. The ornament has no significance without the constituent stones, which are in proper order. The world has seen proliferation of power in recent years but that does not guarantee that the world will be better place to live in unless nations come out of narrow calculations and think big. It is a difficult but feasible idea.

As I view from the window a white blanket covers the city of Minneapolis as rain of snow continues. The rain as I feel imparts a message of peace and love. The white flakes cover the earth without any discrimination.  They are not parsimonious in their profundity; their serenity disseminates the message that the saga of life is unremitting. It continues as years pass by with the mantra: life is beautiful, and we must contribute to its beauty.


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 7 Jan 2013.

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