In Taoist philosophy, quiescence is described as a still state that is unlikely to easily change. Just as the stillness seems here to stay, life happens – forces of shade and light – Yin and Yang – arrive. These seemingly opposite forces churn the stillness, causing mayhem, till an altered quiescent state emerges anew. 2011 has been a churning of Yin-Yang forces over the Indian consciousness.
In the beginning, 2011 seemed to be yet another year of the scams- the cash-for-vote scam, the Common Wealth Games scam, Yedurrapa land de-notification and Reddy Brothers scam, the Goa mining fiasco and the 2G scam. The media cried foul, the Supreme Court struck the appointment of the top watch-dog, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, stating that like Caesars wife, it needed to be above all suspicion. The Opposition pointed fingers at the Government and the Government pointed fingers right back at the Opposition. Scams in India, it seemed, were here to stay.
However, deep within the folds of our collective consciousness a huge churning was underway that resulted in a tornado-like explosion over the Indian spring of 2011- the Anna Hazare Movement. A new brand of civil society activists appeared, their voices so unequivocally loud, it brought the unlikely-to-change and the Government to its knees. Common folk across India embraced Anna as their savior, becoming apostles of his “India Against Corruption” demand. Just as the wave seemed unstoppable, members of Team Anna attracted criticism for being infantile in negotiation, clunky in execution, political in the garb of being activist, of being non-representative and most importantly- of trying to weaken the very foundation of our democracy- the Indian Parliament. The Government and the Opposition fell into their predictable roles of name-calling and eventually Egos hijacked a noble objective. But a consciousness calling forth a corruption-free India had been awakened.
On the state level, 2011 saw some major changes of guards: Mamata Banerjee took charge at the Writer Building in West Bengal uprooting the Left that had ruled the state for 34 years! The Left also fell in Kerela after a closely-contested battle and the Congress appointed its Chief Minister in the state. There was also the almost predictable change in Tamil Nadu, with Jayalalitha led AIADMK coming back to power. These changes reflect the electorate taking note of developmental issues and rewarding/punishing the political class as they saw fit.
In the sporting arena, 2011 was the year of victory. The Cricket World Cup returned to India after nearly three decades. An equally notable achievement was India’s entry into the big-boys-sport of Formula One, which despite all opposition was a huge success and earned the Nation much praise internationally.
On the economic front, the yin-yang forces depressed every curve. Inflation grew, the growth curve fell, the rupee touched a record low and the GDP growth fell below 7%. Credit growth reportedly slowed by over 17% and industrial output also went down. The National Stock Exchange declined 23% ending as the worst performing index worldwide and the Sensex lost almost an equal percentage in 2011. The coming year desperately needs for the economic indices of India to exhibit first stability, then growth.
2011 saw the movie “Dirty Picture” break rules and usher in the possibility of heroine-led commercial cinema in India. In an Industry where the Hero rules the roost, the female-centric cinematic bird ate a big chunk off the box-office pie and left mouths agape in her wake. Since Yin-Yang also refers to masculine and feminine forces, there is certainly a new quiescence forming in the Indian film industry. Film pundits say 2012 will usher in an era of stronger women-led stories coming to the big screen.
In final assessment, if 2011 was the year of awakening of a new consciousness, 2012 needs to be the year of settlement. If 2011 was plagued by dissent, 2012 needs to be a year of clear, collective action. If 2011 was about demanding change, then implementation needs to be the mantra for 2012. If scepticism engulfed us in the passing year, let us walk into 2012 with renewed faith in the freedom awarded by our Constitution to create a State that we desire. If 2011 witnessed much conflict, then it is incumbent upon us to make 2012 the year of agreement and stability. If 2011 saw mismanagement and transgressions, let us make 2012 the year of substantive reforms, improved governance, accountability and transparency in administrative functioning. With a change of guard expected on many fronts- politically in the Congress party, as also in the BJP, commercially, at Tata Sons, electorally, in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and others and Constitutionally in the office of the President of India, 2012 promises to be an exciting year.
To sum up, 2011 has been anything but boring. It’s been tumultous, warring, but equally hopeful. It’s raised the stakes to a critical mass from where change is inevitable. Will 2012 see the birth of a new quiscent state? Or will history take longer than a mere year to settle, atleast for sometime? Whatever the case, we will watch it unfold together. So in the words of the 2011 anthem, Kolaveri Di, here’s wishing all you soup boys and girls a very Happy New Year. May the forces of Yin and Yang be with you!