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Keep The Flame Burning - The Editorial


By Sahil Mehta
Let’s pause for a moment. I know we’re all in a rush to get back to some life-changing event or the other, but still, just take a breath. Hold it. Take a look around you, observe the world. Another year has passed. Do you see any change from last year? Did you even pay attention to what happened this year? If you didn’t then this is the perfect time to do so.
Personally, I’ve probably never had a more interesting year. I say interesting, not good or bad, because I am far too short sighted to understand the consequences of my deeds in these past 365 days. Yet I can say with certainty that this year has had at least 2 life changing events for me. But enough about me and you. What about India, what about the world? How has the world fared this year?  When 2010 started India was one the fastest countries out of the block post the global meltdown. We seemed ready to break through the speed barrier in terms of growth. We were poised to showcase the magnificent rise of Indian economy and our strong values and traditions at the Commonwealth Games. Did we? Every year in the budget, the government makes bold statements about how we are going to achieve phenomenal growth rates and how they will bring prosperity to the people. Then why is it that the number of kids begging on the streets has increased? Why is it, that there is more crime in this country than ever before? Why is it, that kids are more stressed about their futures and careers than at any other point of Indian history? This year saw both great triumphs and great shame, but then why is the only thing in the minds of the Indian public “Sheila” and “Munni”?
I recall now a conversation, nay, argument or discussion if you’d like, that four of us team LTGTR people had. We had actually assembled in the middle of our exams to discuss the theme and outlay for this issue. And to write an awesome jobless column, of course. What amazed me is that we eventually came up with very little on the issue but went on to have a 3 hour discussion on the challenges that India faced and how there seemed to be no solution to most of them. As Vakul summed it up later, we could have gone on for ages and not reached a conclusion.
Well I have reached a conclusion now. I can already sense the skepticism in you. You don’t really want to believe that some 20 year old could have a solution for so many interlinked and diverse problems. You argue to yourself that when so many governments, scientists and economists have not managed to make as much as a dent to the shell of poverty that engulfs India, anything this boy suggests will be nothing short of preposterous, or even worse, it will be some misplaced idealism of the 19th century. Us kids, we don’t understand anything about how the real world works, do we?
Well, you might be partially right. I probably don’t know how the “real” world works. And yes my solution is not ground breaking. It’s nothing that you don’t already know. But maybe the fault lies with you. Maybe you’ve started to see the world in such a way that you simply accept what is. Things will not change by your constantly criticizing, blaming and swearing at the people responsible and then shrugging off your shoulders to fulfill your domestic obligations. I know not a lot of older people read this magazine, but my question is to those few who do, “Whoever told you that giving up is being mature?”
And that’s exactly my solution too. Let’s not give up on our country, on this world, and on ourselves just yet. Who says we can’t change things? I could recite thousands of examples of people like Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Yunus and Mother Teresa who have all single handedly changed the course of history. Okay, you’re not one of these great visionaries, but you surely can be one of the millions that stood with these people. By arguing that you won’t do anything because you can’t change anything on your own, you insult the millions of people who have stood up for things they believed in.
One vote can’t elect an honest politician, but it will encourage him. Shows him that there is some support and that next time he might win. Standing up to a corrupt policeman may send you to jail, but it will inspire so many more to join you. Trying to find a solution may frustrate you, but it will give our country so much hope. I am one of this generations. I’ve grown up reading all these idealistic stories in text books only to see all my elders do exactly the opposite. I’ve grown up seeing people ignore their conscience under the pretense of practicality. But no more. This stops now.
I may not be able to make a big difference in this world, but I’m happy making a small one no matter how much effort it takes. That is what we endeavor to do at LTGTR. And if a bunch of young “jobless” college students can find it in their hearts to have hope, I’m sure you can too. Yes, doing small things individually may not have the desired impact. But not doing anything because no one else is doing anything about it is simply cowardice. I cannot guarantee that we will have a theme for each issue of LTGTR, but I can promise you this - this year we will focus on finding solutions rather than blatantly pointing out our problems and criticizing the ones responsible. Optimism shall pervade every issue.
2010 has been a year of ups and downs, both personally and otherwise. But the one thing I’ve learnt is to keep my head up high. 2011 will not be a year when LTGTR simply documents history. This year we write history with our own actions. There comes a time in every civilization when there is a drastic need for action. I do not claim that we have reached there yet but there is no point in waiting for that time to come. This year we work for the greater good.


 

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Let The Good Times Roll Magazine is an online youth magazine
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