By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
It is the law of ture that time passes from past to present to future in a ceaseless flow. None can stop the flux of time and it has only one dimension, which is succession. So it is only tural that what is present today becomes past in the course of time. In fact, time has no parts, since it is a continuous process without any break. But this eterl unbroken entity has been divided into fractions like days, months, years etc. for human convenience. Then the day is also divided into seconds, minutes and hours, though time has no parts. These artificial divisions have been made by human beings for their advantage. It is obvious that time is a dymic process and it does not remain static even for an instant. In this successive process new years follow the old ones in a tural way. It is a routine affair. In that sense the new year has nothing special about it. But of course when the heart rules, reason goes out of the window. So we always wait for the new year eagerly, believing it to be something unique. This time also we did that.
The new year’s arrival is an occasion to celebrate, as it is big with hope and promises. Whether they will ever be fulfilled time alone will say. But still we can hope and pray for some good at least in the new year, since that is all we can do. Hope is our life-force and without hope we cannot survive. Though coming and going of years is a tural process, yet the new year has a charm of its own, which cannot really be specified. We feel that somehow it is different from all the previous years. The new year’s day seems to have a magical touch of its own.
This is the right time for partying, feasting, dancing, picnicking, in short for enjoying to our heart’s content. As usual, the preparations to greet the new year were made weeks ahead. The malls, restaurants, bars, hotels and shops have been glittering with blazing lights since the early part of December. After all, the new year has just arrived. Christmas and new year always arrive in close proximity. Santa Claus arrived in many mega shopping centres to delight the kids. The world welcomed the new year in the midnight with ringing of church bells and bursting of crackers. Guwahati too has welcomed the new year in style and perhaps with a sense of apprehension. Actually the horrendous events of the past few years do make us feel jittery about the new year.
We have no reason to feel grief at the departure of the old year as it was as disastrous as all the previous years we left behind. Some of the disasters were uvoidable, which were tural events, but some were man-made and could have been averted. People today do not say with flowers, rather they say with bullets. We have been hearing about nothing except tragedy all these years—and we do not know if this year will be any exception. But we can at least hope for something good and that is what keeps us going.
The year which has just departed brought quite a few very tragic news for us. Many people suffered due to terrorist attacks. Then there were annual floods in our state due to which some homes were lost, animals were washed away and people did suffer a lot. We have nothing to say against tural disasters. But the man-made disasters are more tragic. There were these frequent terrorist attacks on our army jawans in the Kashmir valley and in other places. We did not get any good news throughout the year. And people have been suffering a lot due to various reasons. The situation is such that not a day passes without some violent incidents in and around the world, including our own state. Besides these heinous crimes, common people are gasping under the pressure of unusual price rise of essential commodities. Our cup of misery is full to the brim and is spilling over. Hence we are almost fearful of the new year.
We cannot possibly forget the heinous activities perpetrated by man against man through all these years. These crimes are endless and we wonder how a ratiol human being can kill another without a pang of remorse. We have heard that God created man in his own image. If it is so, then how can man behave in this inhuman way? We have lost our finer feelings like love, sympathy, innocence, generosity etc. which are the essential qualities of a human being. Violence has shattered the image of non-violent India. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Non-violence can be practiced only by the strong people and never by the weak”. For Gandhi violence indicates weakness and not strength.
Killing of innocent people has become a game. It is not only in our country, but everywhere in the world, it is the same story. This excessive rise in various kinds of crimes seems to indicate the biggest threat to civilization, states and societies in the 21st century. Even the seemingly safe countries are no longer free from terrorism. Crime appears to have no boundaries. Its cancerous growth has spread all over the world. Nothing is safe now-neither life, nor property nor anything else.
In the last few years terrorism has been growing in a phenomel way, and it has become a new kind of threat to the states and to the countries. These crimes are of diverse forms. Besides killing of people, they include rcotic drugs, contraband smuggling, which are closely linked with illegal arms trade and terrorism. Such kinds of crimes have spread like wild fire across the length and breadth of this good earth of ours. India has been facing a surfeit of violence through the years. To list all these crimes we will need reams and reams of paper—and what is the use, anyway? Almost every day we have been hearing about multifarious crimes. Our state possibly has been facing the largest number of crimes through the years. Once Assam was a very peaceful state and terrorism was something unheard of. But now they do not affect us in the least. We swallow all these horrible news without a qualm and turn over the next page. We do not feel the slightest grief at the plight of the innocent people. God created this world, because it is the best of all the possible worlds, as Leibnitz, one of the greatest philosophers, had declared. But now man has disposed what God proposed. Another major evil is corruption, which has gwed the very fabric of Indian society. We may not find a single honest person, even if we scour the entire length and breadth of the country. Materialism has replaced the glorious spiritualism, for which India was famous.
And in the backdrop of such holocaust we are celebrating the arrival of the new year with hope and optimism. It is amazing really— how swiftly the years have been passing. The departing year’s celebrations are still vivid in our minds, as if they happened only yesterday. Yet a whole year has passed—a year of shattered hopes. Let us hope that this year will be different and send a silent prayer to providence.
For a little while we may forget all the tragedies, which have haunted us through the years. A new year, big with promise, has arrived. Greeting cards have been sold like hot cakes and we have been sending and receiving greetings cards by dozens. It is nice to receive these cheerful decorative cards, which give us abundant joy. Such a small card- yet so full of good will, hope and promises.
So many years have come and gone—but each year is special, something to cherish. Doubting Thomases may turn up their noses and curl their lips at us for being rapturous over the new year. As a skeptical friend remarked caustically, “What is there to rave about the new year. It is just like any other year. New year’s day is not at all different from other days. The only thing special about the new year is that it has made you older and you have taken a few steps nearer to your grave”. True—but it seems blasphemy to talk about the new year so irreverently. Repining over the past or the inevitable does not help us in the least. We have to take life as it comes. You can either be an optimist or a pessimist. The optimists face tragedies confidently and triumphantly emerge out of them, while the pessimists wallow in self-pity and are a depressing lot. As that wonderful lady Helen Keller had remarked, “I find life an exciting business and most exciting when it is lived for others”.
Let us then count life’s blessings, dear reader, and think about tomorrow, when the sun will shine brighter and will dispel the clouds of darkness, sorrow and ignorance. Life is full of ups and downs and for some if it is more downs than ups, so what? It is also time to make some new year resolutions and follow them faithfully, which would surely make us better human beings. Though we have nearly lost our humanity some little bits of it may still be lingering in us, which we have to bring out by making constant efforts. At least there is no harm in hoping for the best—Is there? Let the new year bring peace and joy to this good earth of ours. Wish you a very happy new year, dear reader.