History never moves bare. The story gets draped with swaths of bloody aspirations, hapless hardships, and coloured idealisms that keep all of us busy through today and to the end of our days. An eventful year may scare us and may push us to introspect, but then will not spare a moment before making the transit. The current year too depicts the same panorama, but with a new story – about our obscurity and glory, our agony and joy, our indecisiveness and confidence, and above all, about our prejudice and tolerance.
While the tryst with democracy continues for the people in India making interesting revelations, the populace in Middle East still evaluate the democratic framework. The sub-Saharan countries still continue to meander towards their progress and prosperity under monopolistic democratic regimes. In Europe, some are sceptical by comparing 2013 with 1913 politically and economically, others have felt safe with the assertion that history has been learnt by now. As the Russian democracy is fast running into being called as the Putin’s world, people in neighbouring Ukraine are equally divided over their affinity of being westward or eastward. While the Third Wave of Democracy still leans on American experiments, the recent transformations in China keep many thinking about the both sides of democratic paradigm.
The year started with angry protesters in Delhi, who were shouting against politicians and parliamentarians, taking refuge in the existing framework of democratic politics. And then what played out is there for everybody to see. You can term it as the power of democracy or an affirmation to an idealism that we were scared to accept in our political discourse. On one hand, the year saw a subtle truce between the political class and their opponents. Though inherently unstable, it is a reality we have to wait for sometime before a new perturbation. On the other hand, the year could also differentiate the evolution in the democratic India from the revolution in the Middle East. In short, democratic framework will undergo further rigorous tests with its local favours in the coming year.
2013 saw a passionate debate, though not so passionate from both sides, with publication of two books by two leading pair of economists in India. While one argued about the hardships of the affluent, the other countered by pointing to that of the poor. Well, the poor should learn to be vocal as it is lot tougher in reality than that presented in the books.
While the alleged snooping by the USA created furore in the international arena, romantic passion seemed to dominate Indian snooping process; perhaps, it has to do with the tropical climate! By the way, both must have read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four. Well, snooping and prying will continue in the coming year too. Information technologies that aid these activities like audio and video deciphering, locational information analysis, and behavioural evolution of individuals in the course of time by crunching online social data will be in focus in the coming year. Yea, it is all about the management of big data – technically speaking.
Well, coming to the crux from where it all started, the entire world arena is on the boil with terror attacks. From scary mall incidents in Kenya to blasts in Mahabodhi temple, or even with explosions from America to Russia, efforts are on to have a consistent deterrent to peace – fights have become more democratic. Can Buddha smile longer? But then we have to live with it in 2014 too.
While terrorism kills violently, lifestyle diseases take their toll silently. The year has seen enhanced awareness though breakthroughs are meagre. Perhaps this is the area that will see major innovations in the coming year. Innovations in biotechnology and genome research will dominate in the coming year.
It often happens that individuals look back when the humankind zips ahead. While procreation has been the explicit goal in the history of Homo sapiens, implicit effort may have been otherwise. As hunter gatherers were captured by wheat and rice plants to help them survive and procreate rapidly, we claimed to start civilization. But human lost self-determination at individual level! Now, even the non-living things like information gazettes and automation tools have succeeded in imprisoning human, and are threatening to replace the very intelligence responsible for human evolution. We shall be OK as long as we multiply our DNA strands! The trend has seen robotics, all-prevalent computing devices and models, and 3-D printing being in focus in 2013 like that in the previous year. The trend will continue – and, with an added emphasis on usability and energy-efficiency.
Well, energy is scarce as long as nature does not thrust upon us. After crawling through apocalyptic year (as per much hyped Mayan calendar), the captured views of meteorites in Russia showed how susceptible we could be in the grand design of the universe. Even cyclones and typhoons never fail to remind us with the scary tales in spite of their lovely names. Earth can roar too! This is something I cannot discuss about for the coming year. And, this uncertainty makes me fall in love with His grand design, another leaf of which will be unveiled in the year to come.
Wish you happy New Year!