Still reeling from the financial losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India plunged into the new year shaken by widespread protests and environmental disasters while simultaneously hoping for economic revival. Ankur Bhardwaj explores the ramifications of the jump in India’s fiscal deficit from 3.5% to 9.5% of the GDP, in the Revised Estimates of the Union Budget for 2021. While all eyes were glued to the Budget, Uttarakhand witnessed an immense loss of life and extensive property damage, leading to an estimated loss of over INR 1500 crores. Muskaan Kanodia debates whether ambitious developmental projects are at the heart of such disasters while shedding light on the new ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island – Vision Document’ proposed by Niti Aayog and its environmental implications.
The past year also provided much time for reflection about our way of life, including our relationships with the environment, technology, and with each other. Ridhima Manocha shares her experience of taking on a digital detox in complete isolation and questions the practicality of such an endeavour in today’s world when we are so highly dependent on technology. This dependence also leads one to question the ways we use online spaces and how this changes our understanding of the internet itself. Across the world on Wall Street, Redditors came together to bend the stock market to their will, upsetting several established hedge funds and stockbrokers – Aarohi Sharma explores how internet memes were the source of their power. Closer to home, a military coup in Myanmar brought the success of sanctions and US foreign policy into question, as discussed by Saraansh Mishra.
As we approach International Matri Bhasha Diwas (International Mother Language Day), two budding translators from the Languages Society at Ashoka University discuss the complexities surrounding preserving a language and share their struggles of translating texts from their mother tongue to English. Another article by the Society shares a personal take on and critique of the inclusion of regional languages and mother tongues in the National Education Policy, brought forward by the Centre last year.
On a different note, Valentine’s Day this year provided couples with a much-needed opportunity to celebrate while prompting contemplation for those outside heteronormative structures of romance. Roshan Roy discusses gender norms and societal restrictions that affect our conception of love and can make this a difficult holiday, especially for individuals who identify as queer. Furthering the discussion on ‘forbidden love,’ Ipshita Nath provides insight into ideas surrounding interracial relationships during the British Raj in India and prompts the readers to ponder if in some of them have trickled down into our ideas of love and marriage today.
In a time where news travels faster than ever before, our issue aims to pause and give context to events that are shaking the world, nudging one to observe, rethink and express.
-Ariba, Ashana Mathur, Harshita Bedi, Rujuta Singh
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