Shit got crazy this year, man. Every time you opened a newspaper, the headlines seemed to leap out at you like a pack of wolves. There's been a bit of good, a whole lot of bad and some plain bizarre goings-on in the country in 2016, and it's high time we decided to make the next year a little easier on us all - mind, body and soul. To that end, there's a few resolutions that the country as a whole should make (and I don't mean the whole, "I'm never drinking again" mumbo jumbo).
India should learn to laugh at itself a little bit more.
It's no secret that jokes that have something to do with our country aren't exactly taken well. Jokes can be mean, in bad taste, unfunny, but at the end of the day, as long as it's not hurtful beyond a degree, we should learn to take it in stride. Heck, we can even laugh along once in a while (religious fundamentalists, listen up)!
India needs to think more about the consequences of its actions.
I am, of course, talking about demonetisation. Getting down to brass tacks, the implementation of the note ban has been a complete disaster. A move that started out with good intentions quickly mutated into something unsightly and tragic, which is why in 2017 we really need to think things through, plan and discuss. Easier said than done, but necessary nonetheless.
India needs to understand the true concept of freedom and patriotism.
Pride in your country is something that follows a very natural course, a course that really shouldn't be forced. If it's forced, it's usually just fear. Forced nationalism is the bane of a nation, and things like getting arrested for 'anti-national' Facebook statuses and not standing up for the national anthem isn't just regressive, it's plain embarassing for the country as a whole. Authoritarian governments have used the guise of nationalism as a means to seize power throughout history, and we'd be wise to heed that warning.
India also needs to understand that human compassion is more important than any kind of border.
Taking pleasure in the deaths of people you don't even know just because they're from a different country isn't just inhuman, it's also an exercise in futility. The surgical strikes against Pakistan are a prime example. Whether that was a good move or not is not the question, but to revel and send out freaking promotional discounts in restaurants based on the successful killing of a bunch of people is pretty disgusting. Human compassion and empathy is something we're all born with, and it'll hold us in good stead if we embrace it (as well as each other) a little more.
India needs to open up to other forms of expression and shed its conservative veils.
Two words - Pahlaj Nihalani.
India needs to focus on facts rather than just feelings.
There's a time for appealing to the emotional, and a time for the rational. We as a people need to understand that no single person can promise deliverance (read achhe din) for a country of 1.2 billion people. It requires logical, fact-based debate and equally well thought out administration. We need to work towards it, believe in it, together, and in harmony. And 2017 may just go off without a hitch!
I know new year resolutions are famously counter-productive, but this isn't about improving at an individual capacity. It's about changing ourselves at a national level, it's about saving face, and it's about turning India into something that we don't have to be forced to be proud of. So let's stick to them, yeah?