Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir


Dekhiye paate hain Ushaaq buton se kya faiz

Ik barahman ne kaha hai ke ye saal achcha hai

What “victories” lie in store for beleaguered lovers?

Let us see, a holy man has predicted a good year.


Ghalib’s couplet, dripping in irony, but imbued with a fierce optimism, is a good way to ring in 2018 for the toiling activists of the world. We take the crumbs of comfort that the news throws our way. The Gujarat election wiped out the idea that the BJP has a mandate. In the US, a racist pedophile will not be a senator, he was defeated at the election principally because the African American community turned up en masse at polling stations and saved the nation from embarrassment.


But these minor victories are always dwarfed by the seismic rightward shifts across the world, and in South Asia. From arrested bloggers in Bangladesh, the capitulation of the Pakistani state to theocrats in Pakistan (see article below on the Faizabad edict), the celebration of a brutal murder in India in the spurious name of Love Jihad, we are constantly reminded that our work in 2018 and beyond is destined to remain defensive, rather than constructive. Let us rededicate ourselves in 2018 to the simple notion of solidarity, to say that when someone is attacked for their beliefs by the forces of the state or right-wing militias, we will show them our support, and help them in their struggle.

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