Takeaways from 2017

[ Vipasha Bhardwaj ]
As 2018 is making inroads into our lives and psyche, there are events and emotions from the past that can be customarily recalled as year-ender gestures; some stand out and make the forward march memorable, others account for retrospection and corrective measures.
Politically, it was a year of eventful upheavals as questions of identity and homeland surfaced on and off, laws and amendments were vehemently argued upon, borders were sealed and claimed, rallies were taken out to appease and trick the common people, so on and so forth. Such questions have lingered and occupied us for quite some time now, across the units of years and decades, affecting the afflicted across the social spectrum.
With such fine distinctions of the socio-political narratives of 2017, we shall take another leap of faith into 2018. As we look ahead, we take cues from the bygone days and perceive the regrets as lessons and therefore act more wisely and tread upon the treacherous terrain a little more carefully.
We are now close to the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century and are not yet accustomed to the changes around us because they have been so rapid and overwhelming that it is difficult to keep up.
With unusual ardour and almost overnight, people and technology have made great strides with success immediately translated into a good round coin. Our existence has been eased like never before with technology wrapped around our skin inconspicuously. Alongside, our voices have found greater acceptance and articulation across the globe as we adapt and move at a palpitating speed and converse with multiple minds. This year has seen greater technology penetration into pockets that had remained out of reach earlier. The interactive dimension today has made the world more cohesive with constantly enhanced newsfeed that we carry with us. Our mobile phones disseminate information even without having to look at it. We are perpetually being informed without even asking for it.
But such has been the farrago of information sweeping through the socio-cultural milieu that the orbit of understanding is almost blurred and sometimes information is superimposed on us and perceptions begin to get dulled, more importantly the moral growth of an individual is stunted. It is as if the new-age assortment of god-like technology has completely done away with the wisdom imparted by time-honoured saints of yesteryears. The question of technological advancement makes it even more crucial for us to speak in ways that make the voice stand out above the cacophony.
A technologically fertile society requires an equally matured audience and the onus lies not with the political class alone. As literate and reflective men and women, let us listen to the woes of others without any prejudice. Irrespective of a crassly commercialized world and the technological onslaught of swiping left and right, let us retain some of the human qualities, be more emphatic to lesser fellow humans and not let the invidious information stunt our moral, mental and natural growth. (The contributor is a research scholar at the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong)