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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 3, New Delhi, January 2, 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Jan 2, 2021

Saturday 2 January 2021, by SC

Letter to the Readers – Mainstream, Jan 2, 2021

Once again we have crossed the doorstep of a new year. The year that we leave behind was one with a difference. Since the time I was born in the mid-1940s, I have never experienced a year of such a grave pandemic as this year, 2020, that took a toll of so many lives. What will the new year, 2021, bring to us? Hope or catastrophe? That is the moot question today. The present does not hold any positive reply although we still hope for the best from the days ahead.

A year ago in December 2019, it was written in the editorial column of Mainstream:

“It has been repeatedly conveyed in these columns in the past that since 2014 what the country has been experiencing has no parallel – the incessant attack on the minorities, Muslims and Christians in particular, along with assaults on the depressed sections of society, especially the Dalits. Initially, these incidents, constituting a real blot on our society were sought to be attributed to fringe elements but over time one has been witness to the fringe elements increasingly identified with those occupying the centre-stage of the ruling circle.”

There is no gainsaying that with his second victory at the hustings last year, Modi with his Sancho Panza is in a highly defiant mood and carrying on a total overhaul of the country. All democratic conventions are being set aside, control over every inch of political space by the ruling party is underway and an unaccountable personalised style of governance is growing by the day. Many authoritarian steps taken by this regime would need to be listed, here but let us highlight one.

After the May 2019 victory, Modi-Shah duo first sought to break the backbone of the people of Kashmir by withdrawing the special status of the people of the region for which purpose the Constitution’s Articles 370 and 35A were revoked – the whole idea being a direct assault on the people of that Muslim majority area thereby exposing the naked face of the present BJP regime’s anti-Muslim approach. This was accompanied by turning the territory into a zone of Indian occupation completely reversing the country’s ethos thereby earning the world’s opprobrium with all major political leaders including those like Dr Farooq Abdullah in detention and the people of the region being gagged into silence. At the same time, the State was transformed into two Union Territories - those of J&K and Ladakh. This kind of arbitrary action was a direct assault on democratic functioning and the result is there for all to see from the outcome of the recently held local body elections.

In the editorial columns one year ago it was mentioned “there is no time to lose. It is incumbent on all of us to resist the fascist onslaught on our national identity.”

Eighty-five years ago one of the well-known members of the international brigade that went to fight in Spain and gave his life John Cornford wrote a poem to Margot Heinemann

Heart of the heartless world,
Dear heart, the thought of you
Is the pain at my side,
The shadow that chills my view.

The wind rises in the evening,
Reminds that autumn is near.
I am afraid to lose you,
I am afraid of my fear.

On the last mile to Huesca,
The last fence for our pride,
Think so kindly, dear, that I
Sense you at my side.

And if bad luck should lay my strength
Into the shallow grave,
Remember all the good you can;
Don’t forget my love.

These are memorable words, made more memorable by the advent of fascism on Indian soil. Let us pledge: No Pasaran, we shall not allow fascism to triumph in our country.

o o

Tributes:

Sunil Kothari the Indian Dance historian and Critic passed away on December 27, 2020.

Robert Hossein the great French actor and film director has passed away on December 30

S. Viswam, the noted Indian journalist passed away, he had been Chief of Bureau of the Deccan Herald in New Delhi and had been a member of the Press Council of India. He had been close to Mainstream weekly and contributed to it over a long period.

Roshan Vajifdar, the famous Bharatanatyam dancer passed away, last week in Kodaikanal. She had appeared in Kishore Sahu’s film “Mayurpankh”, screened at the Cannes Film Festival of 1954.

We pay our tributes to the above people.

January 2, 2021 – The Editor

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