Change can be bottom up; people-led revolts in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have shown us how. In India, a top-down approach has mostly dominated change in recent decades - be it the economic reforms initiated in 1991, the liberalisation of key businesses such as telecom and aviation during the NDA regime, or such landmark legislations as the National Rural Employment Generation Act and Right to Information (RTI) more recently.
But are those who lead our nation able, willing and ready to embrace change? We asked residents of the country's top cities. The response was a mixed bag. Vox pop
While 53% of 821 respondents in eight cities covered by the Hindustan Times- CNN-IBN survey believe that the ruling class is adapting well to a fast changing world, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore drifted from the trend, with a majority of respondents in these three cities believing that change is resisted by those who lead the nation.
For those who think that our leaders are against change, the blame solely lies at the doorsteps of today's netas. About 40% said politicians feel safer with the status quo, which is why they look at change with suspicion.
Not to say that change hasn't happened. The landmark RTI Act has changed the way government does business to a large extent. Not without its pitfalls, though. Sixty six percent of those surveyed said that the RTI has led to greater transparency but at the cost of efficiency. It's not just the netas who have to embrace change, but all of us.
Are people today looking for a change in the demographic mix of the nation's leadership?
A lot of newsreel has been allotted to the ages of our leaders. But people know that being young does not necessarily mean accepting change easily. Sixty two percent prefer a leader with ability and a critical outlook, rather than someone who is young and inexperienced. "A majority of voters today are young and can elect young leaders," said Rajnath Singh, former president of Bharatiya Janata Party. "Voters know that they need able leaders, and leaders with experience."