On June 6, 1966, Robert F Kennedy in course of a tour of apartheid South Africa spoke at the University of Cape Town. It was, as this video explains, to have unlooked-for impact on not just the fight against apartheid in SA, but even the civil rights movement in his native United States.

Robert Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, in Soweto, South Africa, 1966.

Inter alia, he said:

“Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they stand for a tiny ripple of hope and, crossing, each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build the current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice.”

Those words resonate today, as India collectively stands up against an injustice no less egregious than apartheid, no less immediate than the civil rights movement that aimed to procure justice for a persecuted minority.

On Twitter a couple of days ago, I asked people what they would like a commentator, an essayist, to write about in these fraught times. The responses to the post are a graphic indication of the many thoughts and questions people are struggling with as they attempt to navigate these turbulent times.

To write, though, it is necessary to first collect the daily avalanche of incidents, to collect the dots. And that, given the scope and sweep of the revolution sweeping the country, is a task as onerous as collecting the individual grains of sand in a dust storm that envelops us all. Yet, without that, without collecting and collating what is happening and paying attention to the surround sound of those events, it is impossible to frame cogent thoughts, to come up with reasoned analysis and arguments.

Starting tomorrow (I really should have started this a month ago), that is what I’ll be doing here. Collecting the dots, lining them up, linking them together into patterns that, over time, will hopefully show the ‘why’ and the ‘what next’ of contemporary events.

Stay with me. And given the magnitude, the countrywide sweep, of these events, I’d appreciate all the help I can get — as, for instance, links in the comments to things you think I should take note of.

See you here, on a once-a-day basis to start with, and more frequently as and when situations warrant.

Lead image courtesy Shoreline Productions