The space for creative articulation and the exploration of one’s inherent potentialities is fast shrinking, making it almost impossible for individuals to explore aspects of their personalities which are not related to their professional or monetary needs. This has made us extremely mechanical and devoid of any passion or zeal to explore deeper quests, or relate to the world as more than professionals or consumers. This has impacted very adversely the way we define our culture, interpersonal relationships and even the important domain of education.The New Leam is an effort to rethink and rebuild this growing gap in our lives; in other words, it is an endeavor that seeks to articulate the realm of alternative possibilities in the field of culture, education, philosophy and politics. Most importantly, the role that we are trying to play through the publication of alternative literature, community-based initiatives, educational interventions, discussion forums and workshops is that of recreating that lost space, the lost platform where inter-disciplinary, dialogic and constructivist practices are possible. Through our sustained engagement in this field we have felt the thirst among the young and old alike to participate in activities where they are concretely engaged in creative pursuits or are in some way watering the seed of passionate participation in themselves. The idea that we are wanting to get across through all our activities is that in every individual there is a deep urge to relate, to construct and to build up something which is not utilitarian but fulfills his/her intelligence as a human being. I increasingly tend to be convinced that the need of our times is to build up this lost space, and we through The New Leam led programs are trying to contribute in that direction. We believe that the most meaningful answer to a world where despite technological advancements, war is frequent, where despite the generation of extensive wealth, poverty is rampant and where despite the forces of globalization which promise to make the world a more connected space, interpersonal distances are expanding is to come out of our confined shells and to unleash our creative energies towards something which is not utilitarian, limited and exclusive, and instead generates the possibility of collective synthesis. Yes, there is immense possibility, and tremendous amount of work that can be done in this field. After all, there is no dearth of exclusivist hubs which are more alienating than inviting, but there are limited spaces where an individual feels a sense of dignity and the urge to break away from confining identities and relate to the world freely. The journey so far has been extremely challenging and yet with the overwhelming support and encouragement that we have received from our readers across India, we have realized that our endeavor has immense significance, and if through it we can make a meaningful contribution to the field of education, culture and politics we would feel deeply humbled. We are here again with a new issue of The New Leam; we invite our readers to read and share their ideas with us. We have incorporated a wide range of articles in this issue that are bound to interest our readers. From an article on the challenges that the system of education faces to the ways in which assessment in schools must be made more accommodative of multiple forms of intelligences, from a critical and insightful reading of the impact of commercialization on learning to a penetrating conversation with a leading educationist of our times, and amidst numerous other pieces a thought provoking debate on language chauvinism and the need for multi-lingual communities: this issue is indeed going to be a thoroughly engaging reading for you. As with every issue in the previous months, in this issue too,the cover page of the magazine is of immense importance accompanied by the lines of poetry that touch one’s soul. Yes, look at the bird’s longing for the unbound sky where it can fly without restrictions, without having to hold back its heart’s voice. Is the bird not like you and me who wish to explore a world of possibilities but seem to be perpetually held back by fear and insecurities? Yes, these are some of the deeper questions that a life –affirming education must answer, and with your support and wishes we hope to keep moving in that direction and building a much needed bridge that joins politics and aesthetics, poetry and prose and of course criticality and creativity.
– Vikash Sharma