All pervasive gloom!

What a fall it is, my countrymen!

With much hope of serving a platter of good news, we had planned to run a special Independence Day edition for our readers. The basic question we had asked ourselves is whether we are really free. Free from those wants that can liberate human souls to strive for higher, aesthetic achievements. As philosophers have said, the highest goal of human existence is the pursuit of the arts and entertainment. But for that, one has to have the right of being truly free.

With this aim, we had set out some issues on which we wanted to ask our experts whether on those, India and Indians have achieved freedom.Some of the issues were farmland freedom, for instance: something as basic as whether the people who vote by the millions for the rulers who enjoy the luxuries of power are free from want. Or whether we are free to express our opinions in artistic fora, especially cinema; the issue of when will the menace of naxalism, that regularly claims scores of lives, end; the never ending pain of spiralling inflation that cuts into our pockets, leaving us with very little to enjoy in terms of the arts and entertainment.

Or worse, the ever increasing negativity of what is now politically termed ‘social engineering’, which politicians use to divide people on caste basis to win polls. Even our daily advertisements seeking brides and grooms for the marriageable are plastered with overt caste categoriations. I am yet to find an ad that says, “Wanted an educated, well placed groom for an educated girl, 24. Caste no bar.”

Have we been able to free ourselves of the malaise of open defecation, after all the brouhaha created through a wasteful media campaign by the government?

And also, do we think our politicians work for the voters or for themselves? Do they really nurture the vitriol that they spew out for public consumption, or they secretly connive?

We asked ourselves also if there are new fetters we have created, for instance the obsession with male cricket that is killing all other sport. Or a new malady, unheard of till a few years ago, of technology obsession, which is now so rampant.

On each score, we have failed to come up with anything positive to spread on the platter.

Senior Editor Sharad Gupta’s article on political nexus is simply shocking. It starts with Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley having dinner with their sworn enemy, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. In countless examples, the article shows how politicians are really birds of the feather. They do not give two hoots for the purpose for which the common people think they voted them to power. It is all a big party which they are enjoying together.

These are the same people who are also helping perpetuate another major social evil: superstition. Let’s call them the ‘coconut gang’, who feel that breaking the coconut in front of the ‘right god’ will perpetuate their stay in power. I feel cheated, and want to share this pain. For instance, the mass campaign on ‘open defecation free’ Swachh Bharat has reached such monumental proportions that one would have thought it is getting somewhere. But as the Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey has shown in facts and figures, most of it is fake and a huge hoax on We The People!

Inflation is runaway, sport reduced to a shambles, and as Managing Editor Geeta Singh has written, an iron fist is crushing the right to expression. Filmmakers of all hues have protested, but the board of certification has been turned into a board of censorship, run by a gentleman whose own film contained enough slime to complain about.

I really cannot help this, esteemed readers, but as a journalist, I had no option but to print the reality as our experts have

put them.

Hope the next edition will allow me to lift you out of this

all pervasive gloom!