Quite a few people have told me that they have been reading this blog all through last year. I should like them to let me know which posts they found most interesting/touching/informative or thought-provoking.
Some people are born conservative-minded, and most people grow more resistant to change as they grow old. Someone reminded me of this recently, probably hinting that I had better watch out if I didn’t want my public image to get cemented as a stick-in-the-mud, who hates all kinds of change and wants desperately to hang on to old-fashioned ways.
indeed, I have never been excited by change for the sake of change (so I’ve always laughed at fashion trends, and I’d go on wearing the same old jacket as long as it doesn’t look shabby). I also ignore a lot of change around me as essentially trivial (as I have done with Facebook and twitter after giving them a year’s trial) no matter how big a noise they make, and I do believe that a lot of things about old-fashioned ways are worth conserving (like good manners and museums, and teachers taking pains to drill their pupils in math or grammar, and giving marriage a very long trial before breaking up…). But I think those who imagine me to be an inveterate change-resister simply don’t know me, and if I make out a very short list of changes that I h to see in my lifetime, many of them, supposedly eager votaries of change, may quickly and quietly decide that they cannot stomach so much drastic change after all. So here’s a tentative wish-list at the start of a new year. I’d like to see wis
1. that war is officially banned everywhere, and only the UN is allowed to keep a standing army;
2. that in no country (especially where there are large numbers of poor people still) are multi-million dollar incomes allowed by law, nor giant inheritances;
3. that no one, not even the most competent technician (by which I mean everyone from doctors, accountants, engineers and managers to plumbers and carpenters) is allowed to call himself educated unless duly authorized colleges certify that s/he has also had a thorough grounding in the humanities (which would include compulsory reading and assignments on a very considerable amount of literature in at least two languages);
4. that in no society are parents any longer allowed to drill it into the minds of children that monogamous one-time marriage between two members of the opposite sexes is the only ‘nice and normal’ thing to go for once one grows up;
5. that mandatory speed governors be installed on all motor vehicles which ply on municipal roads and busy highways;
6. that worship of money (rather than achievement or accomplishment of any significant kind) would automatically brand every man and woman as uncivilized;
7. that conversely, everyone who puts ideals like beauty and justice and freedom far above money and machines be automatically accorded the tag of civilized – as indeed every ‘great’ society from Periclean Athens to
Gupta-era India to the Tang era in China to 18th century has actually done; France
8. that the pursuit of science and art and teaching are again accorded the status they deserve, which is that they are the pursuits of the best of men for the highest social good, and not merely ways of making a living;
and Singapore- style laws against littering and noise and vandalism be enacted and enforced in every city in the world; Switzerland-
10. that every able-bodied man and woman give mandatory national social service for at least two years of his or her life within the first thirty years (the kind of thing they do in
, and the kind of thing the NCC and NSS were started in India for). Israel
… and that is only a small part of all the changes I should like to see. Now then, change, anybody?