For us at Scroll.in, January 26 is always a bit of a paradox. It is the opportunity for us to remember the excitement with which we launched India’s first independent digital-only news site on this day in 2014 and to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned over the past eight years. But increasingly, the debates that inevitably bubble up around Republic Day offer hard evidence of just how polarised India has become.
This year, for instance, the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of our Constitution is enmeshed with controversies about Gandhi’s favourite hymn being dropped from its traditional place at the culmination of the Beating Retreat ceremonies, parade floats from some states being rejected by the Centre and the government’s decision to extinguish the Amar Jawan Jyoti that had burned at India Gate for five decades.
As is to be expected, supporters of the government cannot seem to understand why sceptics are baffled – and hurt – by these moves.
What role can journalism play in bridging these bitter divisions? That’s the question our executive editor Supriya Sharma thought about as she conceptualised a new Scroll.in initiative to report on concerns that all Indians could agree about. She coined an apt name for the new series: Common Ground.
“Away from the high-decibel debates in the news are important stories that need to be told about our neglected commons: areas like health, education, work, gender, land and climate,” she explained to readers when the initiative was launched in August. “We want to investigate these stories on the ground and bring them to you with depth, verve and nuance.”
The series of deeply reported pieces has been among the highlights of our year. You can read them here.
When we started Scroll.in, we set out to report and comment about not just “the news that matters”, but also “the things that make life worth living”. We’re proud of the attention that we bring to the vast world beyond the domains of politics and socio-economics – books, film, sports, music, food and much more.
We are grateful for the support we’ve received over the past eight years from our committed readers, many of whom have made generous contributions to our Ground Reporting fund. If you’d like to join them, click here.