‘Toofan Aur Deeya’ (Storm and Lamp) – Why Countercurrents should not get extinguished

p s sahni

Binu Mathew, the editor of Countercurrents.org and the editorial team have been working selflessly with minimal funds and accepting no advertisements. Besides CC abhors foreign institutional funding, corporate funding or government aid. It has been in existence for about two decades and standing on the side of the people and taking an anti-establishment stance. To that extent it is like a lamp pitched against the storm, thus far not extinguished.

It is amazing that with the sort of authors Countercurrents is able to attract, Binu still has to beg to collect one million rupees to run the web portal. All around one sees heavily funded NGOs taking centre stage in the name of civil society. I find it shocking that there are well funded centers which finance and file public interest litigations in India. PIL has become an industry! All through one had felt that local resources and local human power should be utilized for any campaign/movement. In fact funding (both foreign as well as governmental) is principally responsible for subverting/hijacking peoples’ campaigns and movements globally. This pattern came into existence in India after Mrs. Gandhi’s Internal Emergency period. She realized that the best way to keep activists at bay is to get them hooked on to funded work so that protest politics withers away. Which it has. The radicalism projected in the articles carried by CC is not matched by the liberal heartedness in ensuring that funds for CC get collected without much fuss.

In a very humble way we opted for the non-funded route over the last four decades. For this reason we would like to see that CC continues to function. We see CC as a poor man’s EPW. True it is pitted against journals which receive huge funds annually for their existence. Most progressive journals online with radical editors I personally know for forty years are receiving crores of rupees from the corporate sector. CC has to compete and outwit these journals even as it fights an emerging Hindu Rashtra/fascism in India. It reminds one of the title song of the Hindi film ‘Toofan Aur Deeya’ viz ‘nirbal ki ladai balwaan se’ soulfully rendered by the inimitable Manna De, which recurs several times during the film highlighting the exigent situation the protagonist is faced with. The song conveys the sublime message of hope and belief that with determination and unstinting efforts no adversity is impossible to overcome.

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[P.S. Sahni is a member of AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan and PIL Watch Groups. Both groups are non-funded.)

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