These are testing times for the media. Our benign guard dog, the Press Council of India , has started baring its fangs. Justice Markandey Katju, the new chief, blames the media for failing in its duty during what is India’s transition from a feudal society to a modern republic. So, we bring to you one of the great stories of transition in our society: that of the young, well-heeled professional in a big city. It’s not perhaps what the Shakespeare-quoting judge ordered, but is undoubtedly a tale from the new, and evolving India.
The cover story “The Young Ones” is about two people—a journalist and an ad man—who live in Bangalore. The narrative, more in the nature of bare-it-all personal histories, tells what writer Ajit Saldanha calls “means to be single, rich and brown”. Accounts that are at once deeply personal, and representative; it paints the picture of confident, somewhat cynical and at the same time starry-eyed youth, who have little patience for “bullshit” either from the neta, or our new self-proclaimed saviours of the so-called civil society.
Elsewhere, we carry reportage from Manipur that goes behind the reasons for the economic blockade by the hill tribes. The other narrative is of the POSCO project villages, the story of a people’s movement that refuses to buckle in face of the coercive ways of the government and the steel giant.
The essays section includes one on the future of Hindustani music, and another on the state of the Indian graphic novel. We have excerpted The Vanished Path, a comics travelogue on the life of the Buddha.
Also, don’t miss our no-holds-barred interview with writer Mohammed Hanif.
Our first issue got us subscriptions from places like Madanpur in West Bengal, Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Vedarnyam in Tamil Nadu. We find it reassuring that there is no lack of readers for long-form journalism. These are young days for Fountain Ink, and the lines of the 50-year-old song that inspired our cover story headline speak for us: “There’s a song to be sung, and the best time to sing it is while we’re young.”
We hope this issue will be music to your ears.
Saurav Kumar, Editor