In our everyday lives, we use the word ‘environment’ in multiple ways: sometimes we mean it literally to speak of the degradation of the environment, while at other points, we invoke it more metaphorically, in the sense of political or social environments. Most immediately, we use it to speak of what surrounds us, and how we relate to it. The health of our environment – whether physical, social or political – is at an all-time low. In this issue, our contributors have explored this degradation of the environment, and tried to offer ethical and political solutions to it.
While it is well-known that climate change and other forms of environmental change are overwhelmingly gathering speed, there are also many efforts that are going on in order to counter this. All is not lost. Many community-led initiatives have gathered steam among youth, women and other conscious citizens.
This issue also focusses on the experiences of fatherhood, marking Father’s Day, and the financial status of Muslim women in society. Zakat, while primarily an obligatory means to purify one’s wealth, also acts as a source of structural and societal redressal against deep inequality in society and ensures circulation of wealth. This helps women in many ways, who suffer through gendered poverty and exclusion.
In our previous issues, we have examined how the ideas of health extend far beyond the physical, and how women’s leadership is important in order to take up the responsibility of societal challenge. We hope that this issue will also be a window into the possibility that women and young girls can take up the mantle of saving the environment. We understand the Earth as something that has been entrusted to us in confidence, and this is an immense responsibility, one which we cannot abandon.
Finally, it is important to note that this issue comes in the midst of deep crisis, with the COVID-19 second wave causing immense destruction and loss. While the disease itself may have increased in severity, it is primarily the total apathy and mismanagement on part of the authorities that has led to the daily horrifying visuals of a nation literally gasping for breath. The bright sparks in this otherwise disturbing atmosphere have been the many people who have struggled day and night to bring resources and ensure care for strangers, while also keeping track of their own loved ones. Nothing can quantify the immensity of these efforts in a time when the state appears to have abandoned all its responsibilities.
May the Almighty give us the steadfastness to survive even the worst of times and turn to Him with more resolve. Our fourth issue is in front of our readers, and we look forward to your feedback and comments, as always.