Kuch na honda Punjab da, zameen banjar, aulad kanjar. (Nothing can come of Punjab -- lands barren, children jobless.) That extreme assessment of India's 11th richest state was made by a drug kingpin in the dark film "Udta Punjab" (Flying Punjab). The statistical reality is that Punjab, home of the green revolution, has failed to grow its economy or prepare its young for the future. Employment and economic growth lag the national average.

Life is limping back to normalcy in Bangalore. Shops have opened and vehicles are back on the roads by the evening after seeing virtual anarchy for the past 24 hours as utter lawlessness prevailed on the streets with groups of motor-bike-borne youngsters went around enforcing closure of shops and establishments, and resorting to arson and physical violence against whoever came on their way.

The successful protest by garment workers in Bengaluru against the central government’s move to curtail employees’ right to withdraw their PF has one big lesson to both the state and central governments – don’t take the people for granted.

The world is undergoing profound changes. Nations, including India, are facing daunting challenges such as poverty, terrorism, iniquity and climate change. The world over, popular struggles for freedom and human rights are raging, and powerful nations are trying to bring about regime change by force. The rising Third World is asserting itself, but the entrenched industrialised nations are resisting change. Within India, the youth-hungry for opportunities, jobs and a better life brought a regime change through the ballot box last year.

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