Note from the Editor-in-Chief

It is with pleasure, and some relief, that we are releasing this issue of CJIDS. It has been a long and exhausting process since we started working on the issue in January 2020. Originally scheduled to be released in May, the issue has been a casualty of – much like other things in the world in 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic.

CJIDS focuses on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, and in various issues, readers can experience the variety a journal published by a liberal arts institution can offer. In this issue, the authors have explored a range of themes from the impact of technology on marital communication to providing a postmodern critique of The Handmaid’s Tale. Comprehending sources and manifestations of identity has been an important concern in contemporary academia, and our authors help expand this body of knowledge by critiquing Indian identity in the works of RK Narayan, and understanding the legacy of Andal in the context of Tamil women’s identity. Other articles include insightful analysis of the moral reasoning and philosophy in Buddhist jataka tales, challenges faced by those with cerebral palsy while commuting in Mumbai, and the manner in which the assumption of a gender binary affects practices dealing with mental health issues.  Rounding up the issue is a commentary on digital education at a liberal arts institution and a book review of Pankaj Sekhsaria’s Instrumental Lives: An Intimate Biography of an Indian Laboratory, which, among other things, is an account of one of the finest jugaads of our times – the development of India’s first Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM). Shantanu Chhawchharia’s cover design, selected through an open competition, is inspired by the black swan problem relating to the challenges of drawing generalisable conclusions, a core concern in the philosophy of science.

CJIDS publishes research by young scholars. I sincerely thank the reviewers for their time and insightful comments that helped the Board of Editors shortlist articles for publication. Last year, we established an editorial process that focuses on the active mentoring of young authors instead of merely providing comments on submissions. I am happy to say that we continued with that process even though the pandemic posed considerable challenges. Every shortlisted article’s author was provided a mentor. I am very thankful to all the mentors – Ananya Dutta, Ipshita Chanda, Priyadarshini Karve, Radhika Seshan, Renu Vinod, Sadhana Natu, and Suchetana Banerjee – for their time, effort, and guidance, without which this process would not have worked. 

I am grateful to fellow editors on the Board for their time, support, and critiques that kept this process on track. Most importantly, I thank fellow editor Sumithra Surendralal. It is not an exaggeration to say that this issue would not have seen the light of day but for her timely reminders, untiring spirit, and consistent support, particularly during copyediting. I am also very thankful to our interns for their excellent work in providing administrative, copyediting, proofreading, website maintenance, and design support, and in particular, to Isha Mahajan and Shreya Upendra, who never said no to considerable work imposed on them. Finally, I am very grateful for the continued support provided by Dr. Anita Patankar, Director of the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts.

Vaidyanatha Gundlupet