December is a month of new hope as it marks the fading last days of the year, giving way to a new year of aspirations and longings. As we gradually head into 2022, it is time to let go of the past with its bitter memories of the pandemic and negative impact on lives across the globe to embrace a new future.
The Covid-era gloom is behind us though the threat of new variants such as Omicron is staring at us menacingly. The year 2021 will be remembered as a year when India fought back hard and ramped up its medical infrastructure and conducted the world’s largest vaccination drive to combat a virulent virus. As Samudra Roy Chowdhury, who has penned the cover story of this issue, points out, “At the end we have become stronger, our future looks much brighter and we are ready for the next challenges.”
Even though work-from-home has become a worldwide trend, it is not unreasonable to expect that people will be back to their workplaces in 2022. Encouragingly, financial institutions have hiked their forecast with respect to India’s growth in upcoming years. Goldman Sachs has revised upwardly its projection for gross domestic product (GDP) to 9.1 percent, from the earlier estimate of 8 percent for the calendar year 2022. According to the Union finance ministry, strategic reforms and the vaccination drive have put the country on the path to rapid revival by enabling the economy to “recover from the devastating waves” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking the streak of positive outlook to fine arts, our culture columnist, Dr Sonal Mansingh, describes how she has devoted her life to the world of dance which has no boundaries and walls.
In the Diaspora section, Mustafa Ahsan Siddiqui looks back at his life in the US spanning 50 years, while in another story, Narendra Mohan Kommalapati documents the political polarisation that has come sharply to the fore in the NRI-populated suburbs of Melbourne, in the wake of the increasing influx of immigrants from the northern region of India.
In her memoirs of sojourns in different countries, Pamposh Dhar delves into the challenge of identity that the wife of an expatriate faces as gender barriers are yet to be dismantled completely even in the new millennium.
Taking the women’s perspective further, Q. Ain Haider in Switzerland recounts the pain and anguish arising out of postponement of family reunions. In her story, four women of Indian origin share how Covid-19, having impacted travel plans, left them with a sense of guilt, challenges and the aching desire for a warm parental embrace.
Our Culture section this time has been further enriched by a story on a photo project that documents the lives and performances of Qawwals, who through their Sufi devotional singing take their listeners to a state of spiritual ecstasy.
Our Photo Feature provides a whole new perspective as Malvika Kaul draws attention to Nek Chand Saini’s endeavour to recreate lost memories by reconstructing through his Rock Garden in Chandigarh his native village in Gurdaspur, Pakistan, which he had left behind during Partition.
In his Book Nook column, Dr Sanjeev Chopra takes a close look at Tripudarman Singh’s Sixteen Stormy Days which documents the conflicting viewpoints and the inherent contradictions reflected in the fierce debate over the first amendment to the Constitution. In the Book Review section, Mansha Zehra, a young talented writer, provides us an insightful review of retired IAS officer Balvinder Kumar’s latest book, Exploring Life.
There are many more deeply engaging stories in this year-ender issue. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to you all!
CEO & Publisher