Vaisakhi and change

April 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

By Raj Cheema

This morning I woke up feeling peculiarly optimistic. I already knew the reason – it’s Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi is a Sikh Festival that commemorates the birth of the Khalsa a few hundred years ago – a new identity for a group of people in India. It also marks the new Harvest season and every year there are huge celebrations in Spring around the world. For me, Vaisakhi is a time to think and start afresh – clean out, start again and change the way I do things that just don’t work for me.

To digress slightly, yesterday evening, I found out that a friend of mine working for a central government department has been given two week notice to leave her job. But to my surprise – she’s excited about what this means for her career ahead – ‘it’s time for a change’ she said. She’s as determined as ever – and is looking forward to the challenges of a new job.

I’m finding Vaisakhi particularly poignant this year. With fresh budget cuts only a week in, local services being cut all over the place, some charities and support organisations no longer existing, and one in five young people out of work – there couldn’t be a better time to really think about what doesn’t work, what does and could work, how to support things that already work well, and what we could do better.

It sounds strange but given the scale of the challenges (that keep growing), there is also a part of me that still can’t help but be excited about the opportunities that exist to change things. The launch of Action for Happiness, the growing enthusiasm and scepticism around Big Society (which sounds increasingly like a provocation about the relationship between the state and society and individuals themselves), the several Bills making their way through Parliament – all of these things say we are ready for a change. Must be something in the air.

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