Why Now?

(Who We Are and What We Stand For)

[Now was launched in 1964. In the very first inaugural issue dated October 9, 1964, Samar Sen wrote a brief editorial explaining the purpose and policy of NOW. When Frontier was launched in 1968 he didn't write anything about FRONTIER's commitment. Nor was there any policy statement. We think the policy orientation of NOW and Frontier was identical. We reproduce below the first editorial of NOW 'Why Now?' in this 50th anniversary number so that readers could judge themselves the idea behind Frontier.]

More important, why at all? Mainly because we believe that there is a need for independent analysis which our Press has not entirely met, a need that has never been so urgent as now, when a feeling of drift is widespread and many contending voices are rising to a pitch. There are issues to be tackled here and now, allowing us little time to ponder over the past or the future.

This weekly will not be committed to any party or dogma. Indeed it is difficult to be so committed, with most parties involved in a process of fission and factionalism. Our commitment will be to certain principles, proclaimed in the Constitution and often in public speaking, but not always practised. Thanks to our aptitude for tall talk and little action, the concept of a secular socialist democracy has almost been reduced to cliche. The task is to redeem it and try to point to the cracks that have appeared through public neglect in the house Jawaharlal Nehru set out his heart to complete.

India has a secular tradition, but it would be idle to pretend that it could not be stronger. Fairly recent eruptions of communal violence apart, there seems to be a growing undercurrent of revivalism and intolerance in a section of society one would have normally thought rational and progressive. This dangerous growth demands vigilance.

And socialism? It is still a far cry. For most people life is a harsh cold war with shooting prices and misery is still among the widest communally spread. That so soon after the death of Mr Nehru the price situation should be coming to such a head is a shame. There are advocates of a temporary retreat, of a sort of NEP—new economic policy. Others think that we should continue to limp forward, if not leap. The subject is worth a debate.

NOW will be a forum for free discussion, not only on political, social and economic affairs, but also on literature, the arts and entertainment. It will focus attention on major events and issues, analyse them without prejudice, and judge them without fear. Much of this, of course, will be done by contributors from outside, but only by those who are both able and willing to be free and fair.

More than a daily newspaper, a weekly must develop an identity of its own. Partisan weeklies have little difficulty in presenting a streamlined look. Since our aim is to be non-aligned at home we do not expect our identity to be recognised all at once. We want the image to get in focus as we move forward.

Let us start NOW.

Autumn Number 2018
Vol. 51, No.14 - 17, Oct 7 - Nov 3, 2018