The ‘economy’ is an elusive term. In all its intricacies and grandiosity, this complex webwork that carries flows of money, people, and capital almost resembles a colourful living being. It breathes, expands and sometimes utterly collapses under its own weight. We can try to keep it healthy and enjoy the opulence it provides or we can entagle ourselves in greed and ruin its capacity to give. The world as we witness it today is marred with concerns around our economy on the world stage and at home. The 23rd Issue of Open axis explores the humanity of the economy and attempts to address the concerns of our times.
There are pertinent conversations to be had about how the ‘othering’ of social groups through language and food, the tense political climate and a rapid tide of digital modernity have affected growth and prices in the country, touching every part of our lives. The world beyond our borders is also going through an eerily turbulent time with war on the European continent and deep political uncertainty in South Asia. As we carry on the nascent memory of the toughest times during the pandemic into a new era, our writers take on the challenge of joining these conversations with grit and insight.
To begin with, Rutuparna Deshpande writes on the state of socio-political data in the country, investigating the new draft data policy and open government data websites that collect citizen data from everyday operations of government agencies. Furthermore, he explores the facets behind researchers’ distrust of this data, and what the consequences of that may be.
With the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, Shree Bhattacharyya does a deep dive into the representation of South Asia by the western media and inspects the neglect, possible biases, and lack of adequate coverage that may be seeping into media attention of South Asia. In line with our constant efforts to cover the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Maahira Jain writes on the current condition of Ukrainian refugees, their treatment by other countries in the west, and jarring similarities to the refugee treatment during other global crises.
Micheal Kugelman, Deputy Director of the Asia Program and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center writes on the soaring oil prices in India, and the relation of this inflation with the growing political instability in South Asia.
The last month has seen some of the most brutal cases of minority targeting across the country, be it the violence of Ram Navami or the banning of meat shops during Hindu festivals. Maya Sharma from NDTV writes on the current state of communal politics in Karnataka, and how the ruling government is turning a blind eye toward minority hatred. In ‘Hindutva’s Narrowing Scope,’ Akanksha Mishra writes on the ideology behind Hindutva, and how the crux of the ideology is primarily upper-caste and Brahmanical, hiding behind a farce of unity.
In ‘India’s Beef With Meat,’ Lakshay Sharma delves into the politics of food in India, and how food has transformed from a gesture of love and care, into a vehicle of communal disharmony. At the intersection of food with the economy, Jaidev Pant writes of the factors promoting the economic growth of third-party aggregators in the food delivery industry, and how these may be coming at the cost of restaurant sales and exploitation.
Fahad Hasin writes on India’s economic prospects in light of the growing majoritarianism in the country. He argues that rather than hampering the economy, proper economic growth could overshadow and further mask the rising religious polarisation.
Amit Shah recently stated that Hindi should become the common language that different states communicate in, replacing English. While the statement has invited considerable criticism from the opposition, there is also a need to critically engage with such a proposal. Biplob Kumar Das writes the about the problems with enforcing Hindi as the sole official language of India. Reya Daya writes on the need for gendered policy making and implementing provisions specific to the needs of girls when it comes to education with regards to the recently implemented Early Warning System.
Unboxing libertarian ideology in right-wing thought, Rutuparna Deshpande writes on the concept of freedom is often stretched beyond its meaning.
We hope our 23rd issue is able to shed some light on the intricacies of the economy, culture, religion, and all its complex intersections.
- Biplob Kumar Das, Jaidev Pant, Lakshya Sharma, Maahira Jain, Reya Deya, Rutuparna Deshpande, & Shree Bhattacharyya