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Utpal Chatterjee : Sheriff, Kolkata, 29th. December 2023.  We hate to see the skirts of the departing year but do we have a choice other than to look ahead? True,2023 did ‘bring us the occasional happy tiding and will leave us some happy memories.But it also brought with it some dark apprehensions.Sadly,much of what was apprehended came true.Peace has,indeed, been at a premium.No region has been spared.Be it the Middle East,(Israel and Palestine)Africa,Western Hemisphere (Ukraine attacked by Russia),Europe and even our Asian sub-continent have been tension ridden.2024 has to be anything but a replica of the year before.We must also ensure,on a war footing that climate change is looked into as our lives,our very future,depend on it.Thankfully,most Nations have stuck to their word.Hope,thankfully,is still there.Hope for even Covid- 19 to fade away for good instead of making the occasional reappearance.That is what we are looking forward to.People perishing because of hunger and poverty must be pushed into the realms of history.Health and education must be prioritised.Anger and hate speech can no longer be afforded.Peace,in all its manifestations must prevail.After all,in the final analysis,sense and sensibity always prevail over pride and prejudice.So,let us look forward to 2024 with plenty of hope and a prayer on our lips.Utpal Chatterjee*

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