As 2019 gives way to 2020, India is a nation exhausted by politicking. Mostly those who do not have to work for their daily bread – students, professors on tenure, dynasts and professional ‘servants’ of the people – have the energy to indulge in the daily tug-of-war for influence and power. This may be a very small percentage of the population but it is still a substantial number. Since discontent is fairly widespread as the times are tough, one really needs to stand out to be seen, if not heard. The effort is truly getting cacophonous, as the CAA protests amply show.
Could 2020 be a better year in comparison? Will the economy pick up on sustainable lines? Will government services improve for the common people? Will India’s extremely diverse and layered social and commercial environment develop the essential networking that modern and competitive economies require? Or, will the instinct to lay low and do nothing in the hope that all the troubles will go away overwhelm the national psyche? Are there enough people with merit and risk-taking ability to develop the critical energy necessary to break through the ennui? It certainly is not present in the older generation, which is too bogged down in the past and fighting mostly its increasing irrelevance.
Does India’s youth have what it takes to take the nation to the heights everybody aspires to but will not take the necessary risks to achieve? Individually, they are doing very well as expats in nations where the enabling environment exists, and even in India. However, it is in developing a culture of enterprise and competitiveness that they face the biggest challenge. India’s mind and heart seem clogged with the transfats of habit and laziness, and it is only the raw energy of aspiration that can cut through the arteriosclerosis of historical deposits.
Hopefully, in 2020 India’s achievers will take the lead and establish a new culture of doing rather than complaining, of taking responsibility rather than claiming entitlement. The experience, even wisdom, of the elders can guide them, but the direction and initiative has to be theirs. It has been easy for earlier generations to seek career fulfillment and financial well-being in other lands, instead of battling to change things at home. The conditions are ripe, however, for using the present opportunities to transform India from enormous potential to mind-boggling achievement. Can there not be Virat Kohlis in every aspect of Indian life, taking opportunity by the scruff of its neck and hitting it out of the field, six after six? This is the question the young should ask themselves as they party into the New Year.