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India is on the cusp of tectonic change. A critical future. But as it leaps higher in the global eye, it is increasingly riven by grave economic, political and social faultlines. In the metropolises, surrounded by the excitement of a new economic buoyancy, it is easy to forget these faultlines. For the most part, mainstream national media too has blotted them out. But the faultlines demand attention. And conversation. Their resolution will be crucial in creating a more egalitarian India in the years to come.

In keeping with its mandate of public interest journalism, Critical Futures is an important initiative developed by Tehelka, to keep such conversations alive. Under its aegis, Tehelka will construct powerful forums to discuss and debate some of the most important issues of our time. Education. Naxals. The North-east. Kashmir. Farmer suicides. Economic reform. SEZs.

In November 2006, Tehelka hosted the first Summit of the Powerless in Delhi. A path-breaking idea, it brought together on the same platform, perhaps for the first time in India, the three cornerstones of a democracy: politics, money and people.

In April 2007, The Tehelka Foundation hosted a summit on equal and inclusive education in New Delhi, in association with UNESCO. Later in the year, over June 7 and 8, Tehelka is hosting a summit called The Challenge of India in London, which will provide a nuanced window into India for an international audience. Also in the offing are focused summits on the North-east and Kashmir.

Each of these forums seeks to involve actual players -- political, corporate and social -- and in bringing them together, seeks to nudge them outside their usual dogmas. To sensitise. Eschew dogma. Be creative. That's the mandate Critical Futures has undertaken for itself. Like the Tehelka paper, it seeks to empower the idea of a social contract.