Last night, just before Zero Hour, I sat down to wonder on the blog whether there was any sense in ‘celebrating’ a New Year with all the fanfare usually associated with it.
Just then my WiFi wailed and put a stop to the attempt. Today it came on as mysteriously as it had gone – making me wonder, again for the umpteenth time, whether all the fuss was being made over it when there is nothing in our hands. Did the New Year meant anything more than just changing the calendar?
For decades I wondered about this – sometimes in noisy parties to which friends had dragged me, sitting lonely in the crowd making all the noise and attempting to drown senses in booz, waiting for the
lights to go off at zero hour to “usher in” the new year with noisy greetings and hugs,
This has been happening for centuries since the Gregorian lunar calendar began in 7th century BC and even after a Roman dictator, Julius Caesar changed it to the solar calendar in which he perpetrated his own name by naming a month – July- after himself. He was at followed by another Caesar who gave the month that followed it his own – August.
What have all the years that followed seen? As Telugu poet Sri Sri (Srirangam Srinivasa Rao) had said what was there in history to be proud of? Dictatorships and barbarity, brutal inquisitions and crusades, Kurukshetra, Jihads, genocides and untold human suffering? Those who invented guns and explosives to conquer others and subject millions to slavery and subjugation?
Yes, there were a few flashes of goodness – one Jesus or Gandhi – but they remain mere exceptions and even their names were exploited. Violence was indulged in in the name of a religion that preaches ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ (the world as a family), inquisitions perpetrated barbarity in the memory of a man who sacrificed himself to atone the sins of Man and a religion that stood for peace and harmony was interpreted to threaten the civil society in all the continents of the world with death and destruction by terrorists.
The great strides of science and technology were not matched by corresponding growth of values and human thinking that could ensure that those advances were used for the happiness of mankind. Terrorists use latest technology proving that such tools in evil hands could inflict suffering and unhappiness on innocent people all over the world.
And we want to wish that away just by shouting ‘Happy New Year’ at midnight after switching off lights for a few seconds when the need was to light new lamps to dispel the darkness of Mankind’s failure to prevent such evil.
If happiness can be achieved by just wishing it, Happy New Year to you.