August 2021 \ Editor's Desk \ Editor’s Desk
Editor’s Desk

Those were Madiba’s dreams. They had earlier been M K Gandhi’s dreams as well for South Africa, long before he embarked on his historic return journey from that nation to India and became the Mahatma. But those dreams have today lost their way in the volatile tinder box of grudge and revenge...

By Sayantan Chakravarty

Poverty is one of the factors, of course. But without a shadow of doubt South Africa’s racial past and colonial legacy have provided a deadly Molotov cocktail of opportunities for a crisis situation such as the present one to become incendiary and go out of control very swiftly. Between 1948 and 1994 South Africa had a revolting apartheid policy that severely marginalized the Asian, coloured and black populations, bestowing all privileges of education, jobs, businesses, on the minority white population. Universal suffrage was introduced in South Africa only in 1994 and the underprivileged classes could take part in the first, fully democratic elections, only that year. No doubt, the economic legacy and social fallout of apartheid continue to torment South Africa even in the third decade of the 21st century.

Professor Dasarath Chetty who has in the past served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal was part of the web conference. He says, “Apartheid and its undesirable legacy have left little scope for inter-racial group mixing. Racism, tribalism and classism are still quite visible when it comes to the social milieu of South Africa. What happened in July was the outcome of a social tinderbox-like situation. It is a result of a failure to address the historical challenges of the past. If the Indian Government were to take a principled stand on the current crisis, and express visible concern without interference, it’ll go a long way towards building confidence among the Indian diaspora.”

As of now the land whose welfare Mahatma Gandhi said would always remain a matter of great concern to him is not exactly on India’s radar, at least in a publicly visible way. Mr Alphons says that he’s taken up the matter with the Union Foreign Minister and his colleagues, and would make an intervention in Indian Parliament. That could be reassuring indeed.

Elsewhere in the magazine read about a survey of 1,200 Indian Americans in the USA which finds that the BJP remains the most popular political party in India. Also, India and Maldives, critically positioned in the Indian Ocean, participated in the fourth edition of Ekatha, a naval exercise that sends a strong message to China. With this Male has made a statement that India, not China, will serve as the nation’s net security provider. Read about how the new Ministry of Cooperation would like to strengthen the already successful cooperative movement in India that has produced many visible national brands.

There are many other stories of interest. Hope you’re able to navigate through them over the next few weeks, until we see you again.


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