The events around the world have, on one hand, made the ruling class in India stand up because if things keep moving the way they have been for the past six decades, then a revolution is not far behind. On the other hand, the success in other parts of the world has also given our traditionally ‘complaining’ ( but rarely ‘acting’) middle class hope that days of mass movements are not over and change can be brought about by sustained pressure. We saw an evidence of this in Anna’s fast protest against corruption. For a change, we had company CEOs, Bollywood superstars, pilots, government servants including policemen on duty at Ramlila Maidan, businessmen, farmers, maids, housewives, babes, hunks, rich, poor, gurus and their chelas all coming out in open support of the movement. The numerous dharnas, candle marches, email and signature campaigns did move the needle somewhat but all of us know that we have just won a small battle. The war is still on.
The other highlights of the year have been our judiciary’s tough stand on the politician-businessmen nexus. We had hordes of starched white kurta dhoti/ pajama (silk saris in a few cases) clad politicians and Armani suited corporate honchos rubbing shoulders with the Buntys and Bablis in Tihar. It will be good to get an inside scoop on who was teaching what and to whom? Again, we know that the 2G and Bellary mine scams are just two of the many that have happened and unless we see some symbolic, tough and speedy judgments, our hard skinned scamsters are not going to get the message. There is not much point getting a pyrrhic victory after 20 odd years by convicting an 80 plus retired minister for some 4 lakh fraud. If anything, such mockery of justice emboldens the wrong-doers.
And then, our city held its local civic elections in the peak of summer this year after a gap of over 3 years. Again, this was just the first step towards making our city more liveable. There is still confusion associated with multiple developmental agencies but again people’s power is forcing an alignment of goals at all levels. The roads are beginning to be carpeted (or at least patched), street lights are increasingly becoming functional, sewerage lines are being drawn, cops are more visible on roads, and unauthorized structures are being demolished. There are miles to go before we can sleep, but a start has been made and let us appreciate the good work of a few people that are making this difference. Last but not the least, how can I forget our boys in blues getting back the World Cup after 28 years and Sehwag’s mouth-watering double century. Now it’s the turn of the Aussies to face our mettle!