Shuddhashar strives toward the dream of a humane world, the dream of a fair and just world where people are treated with dignity, curiosity, and respect. With this dream before us, we write to encourage critical thinking, analysis, and debate about politics, literature, democracy, religious hatred, communalism, economic and social divides, and human rights. No, no one has imposed this act on us; no one compels us to write. We were attacked because of our writing, and as a society as well as individually, we were brutally wounded. But despite many setbacks and obstacles, our commitment does not allow us to lose. We are continuing our fight. We continue to believe that the pen is more powerful than weapons.
Yet global news shows that it is essential that we persevere in our collective work because the forces that divide us and make us hate and distrust each other continue to grow. After US and its allies ousted the Islamic State from its last stronghold, IS has made South Asia its focus, and with the deadly bombings in Sri Lanka, it showed that it does not need to possess territory in order to spread its terror, whether directly or by inspiration. Further stoking flames of conflict and violence in South Asia, religious nationalism made a sweeping victory in the recent Indian elections. Along with this saffronization of India are increased acts of violence against minorities, including Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis. The fate of people of Bengali or Bangladeshi descent in Assam remains uncertain and deeply troubling. This conflict between communities that have long lived side-by-side is fueled by political goals akin to the divide-and-conquer policies of British colonialists. The European Union elections shows polarization, with the centrists losing to the left and right, and troubling gains by nationalist parties. The United States appears to court war by increasing tensions through words, threats, military maneuvering, or sanctions with Iran, China, and North Korea. Whereas the US used to be a beacon for free speech, its indictment against Julian Assange on charges of espionage sets an alarming precedent that threatens investigative reporting in all countries.
We dream of a world where humans are treated with dignity, where people trust instead of fear, and where we all strive to act with moral integrity. We are heartened to include more writings by young people in this issue. Although the responsibility for the future is all of ours, the courage and critical awareness of the young generation give us hope. We are pleased to share several excellent articles, and we hope they will help you work toward fulfilling our collective dream.