Madonna and child,  Kashmir, India, by DILIP BANERJEE
UMadonna and child,  Kashmir, India, by DILIP BANERJEE
  Dear Reader

  Vol VII : issue 3&4


  Ashis Nandy
  George Fernandes
  Jaya Jaitly
  Uma Varatharajan
  Rashid Haider
  Santosh Rana

  Prakash Singh
  Joy Goswami
  Only in Print
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Don’t know what it says about ourselves, but every time we do an issue on security, we put a Madonna with a gun on the cover. The Terror issue had the yet uncelebrated Banksy’s raffish stencil art, for instance, featuring Mona Lisa in overdrive with an RPG launcher. This issue’s cover is more sobering. The Madonna and child are from a village in Doda, in Kashmir. After too many villagers — including her husband — were killed by terrorists, the village formed a civil militia of its own. She is one of its number, prepared to hold off attacks by trained guerrillas bearing modern military weapons, armed only with a rifle of First World War vintage, and hindered by the small distraction of the child slung at her back.

In conflict zones throughout our region, people caught between the security forces, government and insurgents have to make difficult choices for their own safety. But this is only at the bleeding edge of our security problem. Terrorism and insurgency dominate the headlines, crowding out more endemic human security problems which affect the majority of people in this region. A long history of poverty, aggravated by the caste system, reduces or denies access to education, nutrition, healthcare and democratic freedoms. And now, progress is creating new categories of losers — economic and developmental refugees left behind in the race to privatise and globalise rapidly.

In this issue, we havelooked at security in all its avatars, from the point of view of practitioners of various disciplines. Our contributors make strange bedfellows, but they speak in eerily similar voices. Don’t be surprised if you find an army general or a police chief saying roughly the same thing as a Naxalite, an international academic, a tribal poet, a global activist, an urban author or a Dalit balladeer. In a period of our history obsessed with security, when people are, paradoxically, increasingly insecure, it is reassuring to see that decision-makers and other arbiters of our future largely agree on what needs to be done. It only remains to find the political will and the consensus to actually do it.

Civil militia member, Doda, Kashmir, photo by DILIP BANERJEE


Among the host of friends, advisers, hand-holders and secret agents at large without whom TLM would not be what it is, for this issue we are particularly grateful to Rajendra Yadav, A.S. Panneerselvan, Shahidul Alam, Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr, M.K. Dhar, Abhijit Bose, Kumar Rana, Suhrid Bhaumik and Pailla Sravan



Bama Faustina is the most distinguished Dalit fiction writer in Tamil, and one of the most acclaimed of all Dalit women writers. Her autobiographical novel ‘Karukku’ (1992) was the first Tamil Dalit text on the Christian Dalit community. Bama is a schoolteacher in Uthiramerur, Tamil Nadu