The early months of the year 2023 have been rocked by controversy and media headlines, beginning from the BBC documentary and its fallout and the Adani-Hindenberg affair. Recently, the ghastly killings of Junaid and Nasir in Haryana, who were burnt alive by ‘cow vigilantes’ also came to light. Such incidents leave behind shattered families, including widows and children to pick up the pieces and fight for justice. The sobering reality of a country and its pliant media attempting to bury the news by distractions and whataboutery. The Budget 2023-24 too raised more questions than it answered. While ‘Nari Shakti’ is the buzzword in government circles (the Budget speech offered a modest savings scheme announcement for women), the Budget which has seen slashed spending on important social sector fronts when the fine print is revealed, holds no real hope for India’s women, who bore the burden of the pandemic and are recovering much slower than their male counterparts as revealed by multiple reports. For ASHA workers, who have been unceremoniously handed even more responsibilities in their already difficult lives by the NEP 2020, the decline in the National Health Mission budget is a betrayal of epic proportions. Globally, the horrors of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, which, at the time of writing this Editorial had a 43,000+ death toll, has raised humanitarian challenges to which volunteer organisations across the world have bravely responded, pooling together resources and aid.
Aura’s 2nd Anniversary issue brings together all the burning issues mentioned above and more. World Poetry Day and Ramadhan in the offing, both have inspired our writers to bring out their creative sides, combining humour, wit, an appreciation for the sublime, and even the more mundane and material realities of being a woman and having to ‘do it all’ in today’s world. This is a moment to thank the people who have sustained Aura for two years – its dedicated readers. For the critiques, comments, voluntary help, and most importantly, for trusting us with your precious words, Aura is always grateful, and hopes that you will stick on for the ride in the future as well.
Women’s Day is not just a moment to remember and thank the women in your lives, but to reflect upon the issues plaguing women across the country. Our cover story tries to do the same, marking the struggles of women past and present, who have made it possible for us today to #EmbraceEquity.