Straying from a long-standing tradition of burdening the New Year with all our hopes, dreams and expectations, with our first Issue of 2021, we bring you a newfound sense of cautious optimism. Aditya Burra revisits the recent test series between India and Australia to commemorate the heroics of Miya Bhai Mohammed Siraj whose grit paved the way for a historic triumph for India, raising our collective hopes. Nishant Chadha helps break down the Union Budget recently announced to drive Indian economic recovery, also enabling us to question the pitfalls of inequality in the hopeful discussions of a ‘V-shaped growth’. With our vaccination drive well-underway, Gautam Menon offers a much-needed perspective from the Indian scientific community on the controversial rollout of Covaxin. While we finally have reason to hope for a return to the ‘old’ normal with the vaccines, we also explore consent, choice and the state’s role in an ambitious yet rushed inoculation drive.
As the initially peaceful farmers’ protests gradually erupted into violence, they urged us to not only critique the farmer bills in question as Karantaj Singh does but also reflect on India’s historic relation with non-violent movements and what it means to deviate from it. We also highlight how protests are different this year, with a fresh perspective on rappers that have used their vernacular to mobilise mass support around socio-political issues. This spirit of mobilisation has also translated into the Yugma Network’s Global Action Week which, as Anjali Dalmia describes, combines art and environmental activism to highlight on-ground realities. Moving to our swiftly increasing collective online presence, Debayan Gupta explains the insufficiency of individual-level policies in addressing privacy-related issues. We also raise important questions about creativity on social media, censorship that is slowly spreading its wings over Indian OTT platforms, and the business of news reporting; even analysing the recent TRP scandal through the Netflix show Bridgerton.
Let us hope as the year goes on we continue in our efforts to heal and regrow, and never shy away from speaking out about what’s important, as we intend to do through our platform.
— Saaransh Mishra, Devika Goswami, Akanksha Mishra, Ridhima Manocha and Muskaan Kanodia