Those who control the present, control the future. But beyond making short-term plans and acting on them, we have been, at best, lukewarm to how we want our future to be, and at worst, unbothered by such vagaries. For a people who still fall for the charms of astrology and soothsayers, this que sera, sera attitude could be seen as a paradox. But embedded in this 'what will be, will be' way of life, lies the menace of our notorious 'chalta hai' mentality that has allowed us to see dysfunctional behaviour as par for the course. While 2011 did see you, the citizenry, attentive to the many wrongs and callous inactions (as you did the year before that was marked by scams and brazen acts of inefficiency), for us taking stock here on January 1, 2012, the actions you take in your to-be-unfolding present will result in how we stand here 365 days ahead.
Food security and containing food inflation will be a challenge, one seemingly more manageable than the other. But incremental steps will have to be taken even after promises and wishes become law. For a nation becoming increasingly visible to the world, it is imperative we have far less of our hungry tomorrow than we have today - not only in percentage terms that are beyond the reckoning of individuals, but also in terms of sheer numbers. Here where we stand at the start of 2012, good things look better than they did on January 1, 2011. But bad things should also improve. The knobbly-kneed approach to national security, whether in the form of the domestic war against Maoists or the external one from terrorists, has to be replaced with a 'trickle up' vigilance that starts on the ground and ends in policy.
In the world stage, the stuck record of our desire to have a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and the utterings by dignitaries should be coupled with India's sense of greater engagement with the world, starting with our own neighbourhood. It's one thing to not want to meddle in affairs that lie beyond our nose; quite another to want to be considered a serious international 'player' who engages outside its own backyard. Where you stand and where we stand may not look that different from each other. But depending on how you act, the wheels of change will be set into motion by you in 2011. All we have done is kept it running and made necessary course corrections. For that, of course, our parliamentarians and politicians and those in the public space must have done their jobs and not have let things hang in limbo because of petty politics. For, in the end, the 'us' here on the first day of 2012 are the same people as 'you' there on the first day of 2011.