Letter from the Editor | May 2021

No issue of FORCE has been as difficult to bring out as the one in your hands. Even during last year’s lockdown, FORCE continued to bring out the monthly editions in the ‘can-do must-do’ spirit. But this month has been different.

In the second week of April, the FORCE team slowly started to lose nerve as bad news trickled in from all around us. We wondered if we were operating in an echo chamber removed from the realities of our neighbourhood, our cities, our country. By the third week, the trickle had become a tsunami. There was devastation all around. The helplessness was sense-numbing. The regional newspapers were full of obituaries, pages after pages. The social media was full of cries for help, and also news about how the loved ones finally gave up the struggle to breathe.

And here at FORCE, we were talking about new technologies, India’s growing place in the world and how we bested the longest and the most protracted armed insurgency in the country and so on. An India on the rise, demanding its place in the world.

Did we live in the same country? Was it even ethical to talk about anything else but the rampaging Corona virus and the crumbling state infrastructure? How could we ignore the fact that the majority of those who are dying in India are not succumbing to the virus but poor health infrastructure? That our daily death counter would have registered far fewer numbers if these people got something as basic as timely oxygen supply?

More to the point, can a State that abdicates its responsibilities towards its own citizens or that fails in its duties towards its own citizens lay claim to being an emerging global power? Policies can fail. Leaders can make mistakes. But the State has to be seen to be standing by its people. What is the state after all, if not the sum total of its citizens?

Finally, by the fourth week of April, we pulled ourselves together—our small FORCE team, a majority of whom have been together for a decade and half. We owed it to our readers to bring out an issue worth their time, attention and money. Yes, life does go on. But lives have been changed forever. And in these changed times we must never hesitate to hold power to account for every omission; for every commission.

In that spirit of asking questions, uncomfortable questions, here is the May issue of FORCE. May we all live to see better and more just times together. May we all learn the importance of love, compassion and fraternity. Long live the human spirit!




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