When we left our full-time jobs in The Sunday Observer and Business India magazine in 1993 to start Communalism Combat, many friends and well-wishers believed this was a hasty and unwise step. Why leave the mainline media to start a niche publication whose reach would necessarily be far more limited?
But we believed we were taking the right decision. Working in the mainline media, we could at best remain full-time journalists where not all of our work would be limited to the communal question. But with Communalism Combat we could be journalists-cum-social activists. Not only could we then attempt journalism of a different kind, we would also have the opportunity to intervene in the ongoing public discourse on the issue through other means and in other arenas – mass campaigns, education, advocacy, litigation…
Ten years later, we are happy we took the decision that we did in 1993. That is what we think, but what about others?
We thought that the 10th Anniversary of the publication was an appropriate occasion for us to subject it to serious external evaluation. Which is why, for this issue, we approached well-known individuals from diverse professions and with different priorities – media, politics, law, civil liberties, human rights; historians, educationists, Dalit intellectuals, women’s rights activists, religious leaders and grassroots workers – urging their frank assessment of the role played by CC in the larger battle against creeping fascism.
We are extremely grateful to all those who so readily responded to our plea and took time off from their pressing schedules to send us their evaluation. To be honest, we are overwhelmed by the feedback and hope that we are able to live up to the high expectations we seem to have raised. The feedback has also given us a lot of food for thought, as readers will concur.
Regular readers of CC will have noticed the sharp drop in the even otherwise meagre advertisement support the magazine enjoyed, since the BJP’s rise to power at the Centre. Since our need to rely on reader support to sustain the publication is that much greater today, for the first time in 10 years, we are compelled to raise our subscription rates.
We remain committed to continue to bring before you the best that we are capable of. But we also need your strong support, dear reader.