It is time to log off 2023, the year in which India had a lot to celebrate – we rejoiced when our moon mission Chandrayaan-3 made history by achieving a successful lunar landing, making India the first and only country to achieve this feat, with more hope. The year saw the parliamentarians moving to the new Parliament, an effective rescue mission to drill out 41 people stuck inside a collapsed tunnel and Nifty and the Sensex soaring to record highs. In the momentous year, India had the honour of hosting the G20 Summit and also overtaking China as the world’s most populous country. At the fag end of the year in the Assembly elections in a few states, BJP swept through Hindi heartland while Congress solidified its presence in the South. Of course there was a heartbreak as the hearts of 1.4 billion Indians collectively sank when our ODI World Cup dream slipped away despite mounting a formidable campaign, and the year also witnessed the disqualification of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha and the Supreme Court staying his conviction leading to reinstatement of his membership. In a nutshell, 2023 was the Year of India and a roller-coaster ride for the country.
Incidentally, 2024 is also the year when Tehelka would enter its 21st year of publication. Through its tumultuous journey, it has set new benchmarks in journalism of public interest. Tehelka cover story in this issue done by our Special Investigation Team– “Farmhouse parties: Throwing norms to wind” reveals a disconcerting reality, exposing farmhouses willing to host parties without adhering to the mandated alcohol consumption license requirement, and also flouting numerous excise regulations. The stark reality is that some organisers are even advertising these rave parties on social media platforms boasting “we go again” with these as billed as “New Year’s Eve Special”.
Some organisers said on camera to our reporters of SIT, “No policeman can enter my farmhouse. I can assure you that at my farmhouse, nobody will bother you. Your party will go on uninterrupted, and nobody can stop it, so you need not to worry”. The time is ripe for decisive action by the excise department to address these blatant violations and ensure accountability within the farmhouse community. The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated; immediate intervention is imperative to uphold the integrity of regulatory frameworks. As of now, India does not have a specialized anti-rave law, but time has come for a specific law to check these, as rave parties are becoming increasingly popular amongst people. It is time to bring these under legal scrutiny by booking those found indulging in activities involving controlled substances at such parties.
On this note, Tehelka wishes its readers and patrons a very happy and healthy New Year! We wish 2024 to be the year full of hope, aspirations and achievable New Year resolutions!