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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 1, December 22, 2012 [Annual 2012]

Demolishing the Wall

Thursday 3 January 2013

The following is the editiorial that appeared in the first issue of Mainstream (September 1, 1962)

Dear Reader,

The other day a letter arrived at our desk from a senior leader of the Indian National Trade Union Congress. Referring to our request for a contribution to our columns, he put a blunt question: “Is your journal affiliated to any political party directly or indirectly?” We had no reason for a hesitant answer: Mainstream owes allegiance to no political party or group. Its loyalty is wholly and unreservedly to India and socialism.

Faith in the people of India is our shield and armour; determination to resist all attempts to withhold the fruits of freedom from them our only weapon. It shall be our endeavour to try relentlessly to demolish the wall of misunderstanding, mutual suspicion and even personal pique that divides progressive sections in the country one from another.

Mainstream is meant to provide a common platform for all of them to exchange views on the many thorny and pressing problems confronting the nation, so that the right solutions may emerge.

Our long-range purpose is to try to prevent temporary and unimportant differences from making us lose sight of the goal of Socialism enshrined in our Constitution; to try to create the right atmosphere for a mighty joint effort to break the conspiracy to drag India away from the path of progress; to check secessionist, anti-national forces from gaining strength and endangering democracy and freedom itself.

A big and forbidding task, undertaken by humble people. The sponsors of this venture are no VIPs. They come from the ranks of research scholars and working journalists, lawyers and scientists, men from the common walks of life.

This, being our strength, is also our weakness, at least from the point of view of resources. Since Big Money has no place in our scheme of things, our financial resources are very limited, while intellectual resources are ample. Most of those who have taken up full-time work for Mainstream have given up safe and lucrative positions to serve the cause dear to them. Despite handicaps, Mainstream has been launched in the moral certainty that the common people, whose interest it shall faithfully and unswervingly serve, will in turn help it to survive and grow. The response so far has indeed been heartening, as will be evident on a perusal of the contents of even this inaugural number.

While the nation grows in economic strength, disparities in income grow as a result of the free play of vested interests. The protests against new taxes in various States are a result of this. Dr V.K.R.V. Rao, the noted economist, discusses the limitations and scope of taxation in a developing economy.

This week, as we greet Nagaland as the sixteenth State of the Union, our thoughts turn to the South where the secessionist DMK has gained strength with the help of communal elements and entrenched economic interests. Chief Minister Kamaraj has called for a national front to fight this menace. In this issue the well-known Communist leader, Mohan Kumaramanglam, analyses the origins and aims of the DMK.

Symbolic of the stranglehold monopolistic interests have over our economy is the phenomenal growth in concentration of ownership in the newspaper industry. J.P. Chaturvedi, one of the founders of the working journalists’ movement in India, presents the trends in the last eight years in this context.

In our agricultural economy new trends are seen which may well retard the nation’s progress. Bhowani Sen, well-known kisan leader, turns the spotlight on these.

From week to week, Mainstream shall strive to bring to your table varied, informative and instructive fare, neither sensational nor dull but honest and objective in presentation. There will be no glossing over friends’ defects for fear of hurting, even as no quarter will be given in exposing whatever is rotten and harmful in society. In this difficult task, dear reader, we seek your support, material and intellectual.

Finally, the traditional note of caution: the views expressed by the various contributors in the pages of Mainstream are not necessarily those of Mainstream.

The Editor

(September 1, 1962)

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