“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
— William Shakespeare, As You Like It
The theatrics in the US Capitol at the outset of 2021 might make us think bleakly, but they have exposed the flaws of a system that obviously needs changes. Does this mean democracy has failed? There have always been challenges, sometimes of colonialism, sometimes, of wars. But as long as mankind survives, they will have a voice and the voice will always sound out against injustice.
The uneducated exist in all systems and mob attack is not an unknown phenomenon. Education along with the ability to examine and correct one’s biases could perhaps bridge the gaps. Think of the French Revolution. How many were guillotined? And some among the beheaded were innocent. Yet these killers also were part of a movement that spoke of liberty, equality and fraternity. We grew up believing in these tenets. As such, these are good tenets.
I see the January sixth attack as an attempt to disregard and humiliate an institution. Mankind is resilient enough to withstand such an assault. One has to remember that there are miscreants in every system and society and that is why we have laws. It is time for a number of exits; of the current man in the chair of the POTUS; of COVID-19 via the vaccines or herd immunity, have it your way; of dark clouds that have gathered over positive actions to heal our planet and make it a wonderful home for our species. The darkest hours are said to be before the advent of dawn. Things can only get better with a soupçon of love, kindness and generosity. It is again a time to hope, the theme of Borderless Journal in this edition.
We have hope pronouncedly from our young people’s section hosted by Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan from Bookosmia and also in our poetry. Michael Burch’s poetry resounds with hope. The voices of children from Gaza — pleading with the hope of redemption from the darker events in their lives — much as we are doing in the current crisis, looking for mercy and hope in a pandemic-worn world. We have poetry by Sanket Mhatre on hope.
Vatsala Radhakeesoon has given us a brilliant piece in ‘Queenie the Sloth‘ — check it out. Rhys Hughes has taken on mythology and given it a spin that not just makes us laugh but also think. Aditya Shankar has given us a poignant poem concerning the Human Immortality Project(HIP), a rich man’s dream of being above death, which has been under fire in Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus too. Our poetry section still has a very colourful borderless veneer with poets contributing from multiple countries, including Korea. I love the narratives that Ilhwa Choi weaves into his poetry.
The reason I am pausing on poetry is also to inform readers that we have decided to pull up our socks and be very selective about the poems we publish. Michael Burch is on the panel helping select poetry and he is truly a connoisseur as you can see from the collection in his blog, The Hyper Texts. Though Sunil Sharma has poetry there, we have his stories here. He has given us a wonderful story by the banks of the river Chenab — a story of hope, love and terror. The piece de resistance, I would say, among our stories is one by Tagore — a translation of ‘Bolai’ by Chaitali Sengupta. A story that talks trees and children – a powerful one that moves with its vibrancy, captured very well by the translator.
We have some interesting essays including one by our humourist Devraj Singh Kalsi, in which he explores the ongoing protest of Sikh farmers with humour and another by John Drew on China, the West and Bangladesh. Thanks to Sohana Manzoor for helping us access it. Another one I particularly liked is by Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, on the syncretic lore of India and Pakistan. It is a perfect essay towards the upcoming celebration of the anniversary of the declaration of democracy by India on 26th January 1950 – when it had done away with all individual dynastic regimes. And yet one wonders if that was or is a reality?
Nishi Pulugurtha has given us a musing on how the pandemic affects children and how it might affect this year’s celebrations of the Indian Republic Day. We have an ex-colonial’s son Mike Smith from UK reflecting on the regime prior to the Partition, the rule that tickled the divisive mindset of the Indian subcontinent, through the pages of his father’s diary. This mindset has also been dwelt on by Maithreyi Karnoor in her poetry. And we have our dollop of humour in Musings of the Copywriter with a fun filled narrative of an elopement. We have a whiff of hope from the Southern hemisphere with writings of Keith Lyons from New Zealand and Meredith Stephens from Australia. These also add to the colours of our journal.
The book excerpt is from Devaki Jain’s autobiography, The Brass Notebook. A powerful book that generates hope and was reviewed last month. This particular bit is about her driving trip with students from different countries – all the way from England to India. We have an invigorating interview with her too this time. The other interview is with Mosarrap Hossain Khan, founder of Café Dissensus, and hopes to enlighten readers more about this well-loved website and also gives a glimpse of the ideology and the man behind it.
Books reviewed include Bhaskar Parichcha’s No Strings Attached by Bijaya Kumar Mohanty, Dom Moraes’s Gone Away by Bhaskar Parichcha and Waiting for the Dust to Settle by Rakhi Dalal. These are a few of the highlights I have mentioned. We have a wide selection of writings. Till now we have managed to showcase writers from twenty-eight countries, and we hope to can continue expanding virtually across more political borders.
The other news I would like to share is our last month’s interview with Aruna Chakravarti other than being republished in Countercurrents.org was translated to Persian by Davood Jalili and published in an Iranian journal called, Arzhang. We are grateful to both Davood Jalili of Arzhang and Binu Mathews of Countercurrents.org for supporting our efforts and finding us wider readership. We are happy that our journal’s content has crossed borders to unite us all together in one world – a world of hope that stretches out its arms towards a future that can only get better!
We wish all our readers and contributors a year filled with hope towards a better future.
Thank you all for accompanying us on our journey.
In hope of a better future,