What did coronavirus, the border clashes and the ban of many apps do for the Indian people? They made discussions surrounding China everyday and commonplace. And yet, we still approach the topic in a myopic manner. The mainstream gaze refracts China under the lens of war, economics, diplomatic relations, concerns about democracy among others. Is there, however, a more nuanced way to understand what the rise of China means for South Asia and the world at large. The need is to explore everyday cultures in border areas and identity formation, regional influence from the perspective of different states, and the impact of Artificial Intelligence on diplomacy and ultimately us. Can India surpass China as a global production centre? Does China’s influence in South Asia eclipse India’s?
In this issue, we will talk about China with an equal focus on exploring different questions relevant to the regular lives of people, that which is conventionally dubbed ‘mundane’. Have the Nobel prizes changed our everyday lives? Can documentaries help us develop a collective consciousness about the environment? Can we remember rock music virtuoso Eddie Van Halen a month after his passing? In the context of the pandemic, how does one succeed in protesting online? What do the newly enacted regulations mean for civil society efforts in the area of human rights in India? What does author Jyotsna Mohan say about technology and the lives of Indian teenagers? In this issue, we are trying to bring to light concepts we don’t necessarily engage with even though we are engulfed by them constantly. For instance, what is the Disinformation Ecosystem and why are we all vulnerable to it? We consume advertisements by the minute, what does the recent Tanishq ad controversy reveal about the trickling down of hatred from our TV screens to real life outcomes?
There is a lot going on in the world. Every other day seems like a barrage of new information– coronavirus numbers, climate change, elections in different contexts and affected by different issues. It is very easy to be consumed by anxiety in this situation of information overload. Hence, we might become short-sighted and lose perspective of the larger context that events play into. Our issue aims to convey the importance of engaging with these issues patiently; unpacking how they affect us. We place them in history and attempt to provide clarity.
–Mansi Ranka, Aradhya Sharma and Sanya Chandra
“File:Kunming Yunnan China Monument-to-Policemen-01.jpg” by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0