Are you surprised that the guy who edited Jivan for 17 long years – from 2000 to 2017 – is back again after a gap of six years? Well, it was a huge surprise for me to begin with. The call came when I was in the chapel for what I call my ‘oxygen time.’ When I was gazing at the statue of the Risen Lord that looms above the small statue of our Blessed Mother in our chapel, I heard the phone ring and the call was from Fr Stan, our POSA.
Later I heard that Fr Vinayak, who was doing a good job as Jivan’s editor, has been made the college principal, and so he couldn’t continue as editor. I heard also that quite a few young and not-so-young people were approached, but, sadly, all of them said, ‘Sorry.’ If there was no one to take care of the magazine which you nurtured for 17 years, what would happen? Standing in front of Mother’s statue, I realized that the only option was to say yes, although I knew it won’t be as easy as it was earlier.
Someone asked me, ‘Why is it so difficult to find an editor for Jivan?’ The reasons must be obvious. Has it ever been difficult to find a rector, superior, principal, or a headmaster? These positions bring you power, and the other privileges that power brings along – like status, money, an office, staff, vehicles, and opportunities to travel. The editor of Jivan gets none of these.
What the editor of Jivan does get is work – solitary, desk-bound, painstaking work – work that goes on throughout the year. He has to be after writers, inviting them, requesting them, coaxing them, and reminding them of the deadline. He has to proofread very carefully and ensure that errors don’t creep in. He has to interact with the designer and the publisher. He has to turn a deaf ear to derisive questions like, ‘How many Jesuits do you think read Jivan?’
Are there rewards? The only tangible reward is, I guess, the rare but genuine appreciation that comes from a few who read the magazine regularly and carefully. The other more significant reward is the deep satisfaction that comes from the fact that you are doing what your superiors asked you to – that you are doing a difficult job, which many are unwilling or unable to do, for the sake of God and the Society of Jesus.
On those days when the troubling thought that you are doing an unrewarding, unappreciated work keeps gnawing at you, you remind yourself that you are called to labour and look for no reward.
Jivan’s assets are an appreciative, supportive boss in the present POSA and wonderful partners in GSP, the publisher, Anand Press, the printer, and AMCF, the designer. So let’s hope we will do our best – with His grace, her maternal blessings, and your support, feedback and prayers.
Let me talk about what this issue brings you. There are two new columns. Starlight (p.31) will bring a celebrity’s experience-based reflections. Listen to her! (p. 21) will help us hear what we always ought to – women’s voices.
The two articles on the tragic Manipur ethnic riots, written by two Jesuits who are there on the ground, make something clear. Both Meiteis and Kukis – the two tribes that are fighting – seem to have genuine concerns. Instead of enabling them to come together and address these, the rulers seem to take a partisan stand just for political gains. The number of churches burnt down exposes the sinister plot to turn an ethnic conflict into a religious one. The wise and mature in both groups should take the lead in bringing them together, address their real concerns and find mutually acceptable solutions that will ensure peace and progress.
What do you think?