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In this issue

Fringe to the fore Azadi Records, which is our cover story this month, has enriched the Indian music scene by identifying little known musicians, singers and other performers like DJs and connecting them to audiences. It has helped some great talent find wider notice. Is it important? We think it is because the music and personal histories of the performers add up to give us a picture of India we are perhaps not exploring enough or may be missing out on altogether. The songs, lyrics and singing styles reflect the angst, beliefs and hopes of a new generation. Azadi Records therefore plays the very useful role of taking us beyond Mumbai, Delhi and the other big cities to help us discover an India we tend to ignore. Our opening interview this month is with Poonam Muttreja of the Population Foundation of India. Poonam is one of the veterans of the social sector and she has been featured before in our pages. But this time the occasion is special because it is 50 years of the Population Foundation of India. Stories of successful community action come from Punjab and Karnataka. In Ludhiana, residents have intervened to ensure that public money is properly spent on improving the Buddha Nullah, which is a tributary of the Sutlej, but has been reduced to a drain. The government had awarded the job to a contractor. The residents have insisted that scientists and engineers of a certain standing be consulted. In the Dakshin Kannada district, a zilla parishad member has rallied college students to build a series of temporary check dams at low cost. The idea is to catch the rain before it flows off and thereby raise groundwater levels. The medical profession tends to get more public-spirited these days. Check out our interview with Dr Prabhu Prasad of Manipal Hospitals who has set up a voluntary organization to promote palliative care in pulmonology. It is a great effort in a country choking on pollution.

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