In childhood I remember using an assortment of toys to construct entire cities complete with houses, offices, markets, hospitals and roads busy with humans, animals and cars. Some of these ‘urban sprawls’ would take up half the living room floor. In winters, they would be spread over hills and mountains created with pillows and blankets on the bed.

Just when I would be preening over my creation or showing it off to my parents, my elder brother would zoom in with war planes and bombard the entire city with wooden blocks and sundry other such weapons! I would half protest but then join in on the fun because it was all in good humour. In fact, there would be times I would destroy my own handiwork as part of winding up play time and quite enjoy doing so.

Memory analysis can be deeply flawed, but did my pleasure in creating and destroying (and continuing the cycle) stem from an inherent sense of power? Was it the same enjoyment of invincibility that would make me destroy an anthill or disturb a stream of black ants and gloat over the trouble and flurry this caused?

Is this the same sense of entitlement that inspires many leaders to secretly or brazenly ‘enjoy’ the immense power they wield over people, policies and resources? A dangerously warped sensibility that they can tower over everyone and decide peoples’ fates on a whim or fancy?

Thankfully, such kinds of leaderships never go unchallenged by those that seek to protect and empower people against tyranny, prejudice, insidious exclusion, criminal neglect or privileged sloth.

And so this issue of Varta is about calling out on our privileges and oppressions, urging parents to instil a broader view of the world in their children, demanding that the rights of persons with disabilities be honoured through due process, celebrating queerness in an increasingly stifling environment – social and physical . . .

It is about believing that we can change ourselves and the world!

Photo credit: Pawan Dhall (authorship of accompanying text unknown).