Curtains on fractious 2015

When the year 2015 becomes history and a new leaf is turned in the national calendar, it is opportune to look back and take a view of the events, happenings and even the words and views that shaped the nature and mood of the year.

National life and attitudes are defined not just by what happened, but by what did not happen, like the failure to respond to situations, and by the views which gain currency. Seen in this light, the national scene is more fractious and troubled now than at the beginning of the year.

The new government was only six months in office when the year started, and hopes and expectations were still fresh. But as the year moved on, concerns and apprehensions overshadowed expectations and achievements, and they do not leave the nation upbeat.

The year saw many incidents and the public airing of opinions which posed a threat to the established values of tolerance and co-existence of communities and to practices that preserve and promote national harmony.

These values and practices are at the core of our nationhood and a question mark over them is a bad signal. The killing of a man at Dadri in UP on the suspicion that he ate beef symbolised a threat to our cherished values as no other did.

All the contorted defences and explanations by some and the failure of the country’s topmost leader to condemn it in convincing terms unfortunately made the killing the event of the year.

The talk of ghar vapasi, calls to go to Pakistan and attempts to revive other contentious issues which have a bearing on national unity further vitiated society and politics. The resistance to them, as seen in the return of awards and honours by many writers and intellectuals, however, showed that the nation’s conscience is still clear and uncorrupted and defies defilement.

There was a disquieting challenge to the balance between the judiciary and the executive, which is crucial to the working of the state, with the Supreme Court’s striking down of the constitutional amendment to do away with the collegium system for appointment of judges. It can negatively impact the system of justice envisaged by the Constitution, unless ways are found to correct the imbalance.

The opposition is stronger now than in the beginning of the year, after the elections in Delhi and Bihar. But the paralysis of parliament is a bad omen, which can hurt the democratic system as such. All in all, much of the passing year has to be lived down, for the New Year to be better and brighter.

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