Over the last two pandemic-ridden years, there stands an exceedingly strong chance that the word ‘new-normal’ crept its way into every single one of our conversations. Interestingly, the word itself stands as a paradox, as something new is unlikely to ever feel unreservedly normal, especially when it brings hours of covering one’s face with medical masks. The only certainty that felt remotely ‘normal,’ was change. Changing social norms, behaviors, law and order, policies, educational patterns– every aspect of human life was riddled with change and adapting to its consequences.
As one tries to navigate through these ever-changing times, it becomes crucial to remove our pandemic-influenced lenses and scrutinize the world around us through an alternate perspective, one that objectively examines behaviors, actions, and decisions. Through the 21st issue of Open Axis, we aim to peruse happenings around the world via an objective gaze, as we aim to understand the only constant in everyone’s lives- change.
To begin with, Shree Bhattacharyya examines subsidies given to films in light of the recent tax-exemption granted to Vivek Agnihotri’s highly controversial ‘The Kashmir Files,’ as she questions the criteria for making films tax free, and whether agenda-setting by various forces may be at play. Further exploring topics surrounding patriotic cinema, film historian Sudha Tiwari delves into the history of how political violence has been shown in Indian Cinema before ‘The Kashmir Files’ caused an uproar.
Reya Daya and Maahira Jain explore the changing habits of social media users, and how distorted perceptions of real-life caused by media content call for the need to be wary of online trends and personalities.
On March 14th, The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change announced a river rejuvenation project for 13 rivers of India through numerous forestry interventions. Analyzing the launch of this project, Biplob Kumar Das scrutinizes river rejuvenation projects in India in the recent past and reviews the facets policymakers can contemplate for similar projects in the future. In talking about government announcements to promote environmental upgradation, youth environmentalist and sustainability consultant Abhiir Bhalla writes about the government’s proposed increase of electronic vehicles (EV) in the country, and what the future holds for the EV industry in India.
Amid trends of escalating cut-offs for several universities, the government recently announced a Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for admissions. Biplob Kumar Das elucidates the advantages and disadvantages of such a system, and what this reformed admission policy means for students across the country.
Slightly further away from home but on a persisting global issue with increasing ties to India, Rutuparna Deshpande writes on the Russia-India oil deal and the gray areas in navigating national interest and morality. A senior researcher at the Center for Policy Research (CPR), Angshuman Choudhary traces the historical dependencies that India has shared with Russia over the past decades, and connects how those dependencies inform the strategic compulsions India has, resulting in its current stance in the Russia-Ukraine issue.
Finally, as a follow-up to our highly successful video from our last issue, Open Axis asks students and professors on campus what they look forward to about in-person classes, and the anxieties of resuming education in ‘normal’ settings.
We hope our latest issue can help our readers tap into the events unfolding around the world through a critical and alternate lens, one that acknowledges the changing times but can look beyond them.
- Jaidev Pant, Lakshya Sharma, Maahira Jain & Reya Daya