Category : EDITORIAL

With the biggest ‘festival of democracy’ in the world underway, the May issue of Aura arrives at a time of great political debate and discussion. The 2024 Lok Sabha elections began on 19th April, with the first phase of voting in 100+ seats, including Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and others. However, the election’s run-up has been no different in line with the polarised atmosphere deliberately stoked and simmering over the past few years. Even as many first-time voters step up to the ballot box, setting the terms for their future, incidents of violence during elections, gross violations of the model code of conduct, which prohibits appeals based on religion and inflammatory speeches by leaders are everyday incidents now. The Election Commission’s silence on many of these incidents, repeatedly brought to their notice by activists and journalists, is an alarming sign of the slide of democracy.

Free and fair elections allow voters to define what kind of India they wish to live in. Ten years of living in a majoritarian atmosphere with increasing prices, rampant misinformation on social media, declining press freedom, and worsening situation for women, minorities and other vulnerable groups have understandably left citizens uncertain, exhausted and unsure of what the future holds. Nevertheless, seeing people turn out in large numbers and try to hold the government accountable for its actions is heartening.                                                                                                                                                          
May is invariably marked by the question of labour – 1st of May is celebrated as Labour Day worldwide. India’s history is also connected to the efforts of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was crucial in establishing the 8-hour day. Currently, the labour of millions of toiling men and women in India often goes unnoticed and unrewarded as the steady withdrawal of the welfare state has worsened their situation. Our writers have highlighted the issues of the dignity of women’s labour and the unorganised sector workers in separate articles.

Aura had organised a competition to encourage young and upcoming writers to explore book reviews and short stories, the results of which are announced in this issue. The top submissions have been published in the issue. The creativity was a breath of fresh air for the judges. Books on diverse topics have been taken up and carefully reviewed by our participants. We encourage our readers to give feedback and support these attempts.

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