Fr Paul Lelen Haokip
The present is best understood by knowing the past. What we call ‘the present’ will also become the ‘past’ with the wind of change. Change is the only constant in life that keeps people on their toes. In a democratic polity, the Judiciary and Executive may not change often, but the Legislative members change often. People change their allegiance and party frequently too. That’s the crux of politics, where ordinary voters are taken for a ride. Unity or disunity within a party is also just part of the wind of change. It is nothing new or extraordinary. It has happened in the past, is happening and will faithfully continue in the future too. People have moved from the lower strata of life to a higher one with the wind of change. Philosophies and ideas of ethnicity are changing. The concept of a forest, the idea of livelihood, status of caste are changing rapidly. The climate is changing, and what is not changing?
Division is part of the change:
A house divided against itself will fall. A state divided among its people will be an experimental ground for external forces, further creating a trust deficit. A country that does not respect its citizens’ rights is heading for a spiral downfall. It is but bound for ruin. A family of five siblings gets divided and transforms itself into 4-5 new families, and progeny continues. A region gets divided into various states. A state is further divided into more states. A political party is divided, and new political parties are born. Human cells divide and replicate for good. Ethniccommunities are asserting their rights and privileges. More prominent communities are getting divided into newer groups for social and political survival. So, the division we find everywhere seems to be part of life’s survival techniques.
Ethnic and political chauvinism is taking a toll on the lives of ordinary people. The rich amassthe lion’s share of land and resources, while the poor are silenced with various propaganda slaps. There is oppression and resistance in multiple forms. For the oppressor, resistance is ‘rebellion’, but for the oppressed, resistance is ‘voicing one’s plight. Many countries object to Russia trying to take over Ukraine. Myanmar’s Junta control of the country is negated by its multitude of citizens. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are not the only indicator of growth and peaceful society. It may be a political mantle proven for some reason, but not the ultimate indicator of everything a postmodern nation needs. The age of subjugation and force is of the past. David Harvey and Hassan (1997) attribute ‘anarchy’ as part of postmodernism.Uniformity or majoritarianism will not shine in this twenty-first-century congregation because although people are local, they have a global mindset that keeps expanding.
Ethnicization that was strong during the colonial period is slowly disintegrating, and new ethnic groups are formed. Division of people into various ethnic groups and political-administrative units serves some practical governance, but it also creates a trust deficit and psychology of otherness (Thangjam, 2013). Decades of division and generational gaps further distanced people within a territory. This is a historical change that nation-states have brought in.
Permanence of change
Greed causes the accumulation of power and wealth at the expense of ordinary people. Mass resistance and revolution are bound to happen when wealth and power are centred around a few. It would not be an exaggeration to state that nothing is permanent but affected by the wind of change. The 1990s ‘Wind of Change’ by Scorpions has lyrics relevant to our present time – ‘The world is closing in, And did you ever think, That we could be so close like brothers? The future’s in the air, I can feel it everywhere … The wind of change blows straight into the face of time, like a storm wind that will ring the freedom bell for peace of mind’. We need a society where each one can experience peace of mind and progress – free from fear and coercion. It is just a matter of time before the wind of change will bring peace, love, and progress to everyone.
Today people are using ChatGPT to generate data of their choice. This is a change in artificial intelligence (AI). Someone or something is thinking for you already. If your grammar is weak, you have Grammarly to assist. If your analysis is poor, you have multiple data analysis software programs to help you. There is a wind of change in academia.
Unity in plurality is the mantra for peaceful coexistence and social development. Postmodernism is a composite of fluidity, relativity, diversity, and plurality.Learned people are challenging the ethnographic constructions of people the colonial powers did. This is a change in history. We found it objectionable when the colonizers extended their muscle power to control and dominate; now, when more prominent communities follow the same principle of domination and subjugation, it seems okay. This thought pattern is also a change in our time. Peaceful coexistence and gradual progress are sustainable indicators of societal growth. It is high time to be alert and know the power of each vote. We need to welcome the wind of change for better livelihood.Let the wind of change blow around us.
(The writer is a PhD research scholar, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Christ University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. He can be reached at [email protected])