In India, the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi remains contradictory and complicated. We live in a time of immense political upheaval, where the ruling dispensation has begun to excel in the deployment of the discourse of decolonialism and anti-imperialism to rename iconic roads and elide over medieval history simultaneously. Gandhi’s position too, far from his erstwhile presence as the unquestioned symbol of the nationalist freedom movement, now stands counter-posed with figures such as Savarkar and Godse in the right-wing imagination, despite the precarious nature of this comparison.
October 2, observed as Gandhi Jayanti, offers us an opportunity to reclaim lost understandings, challenge conventional definitions of nationalism and violence, and articulate contemporary meanings that nevertheless maintain a nuanced reading of history unlike the current flow of erasure. In our October issue, contributors have taken on the spoon-fed meanings of terms such as pacifism and non-violence, as well as the misleading narrations of nationalism. Is nationalism the only solution – or is there an imagination beyond it?
Aura has also begun to bring the best of contemporary research-based writing, by bringing them as translations from other languages, deepening the possibility of a renewed reading public in today’s media sphere. We encourage our writers and readers to bring to our attention more writing in other Indian and foreign languages worthy of being brought to the attention of the English-reading public, and help us bridge these linguistic gaps.
Many of the answers to the complicated modern questions can be found in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); ranging from personal conflict to the structure of the ideal state. Some special articles on the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), including poetry by our young writers, have also been included in this issue.