Freedom First, the Liberal Monthly, was
founded by the late Minoo Masani, author and MP, at a time when free India was
just five years old, World War II had ended and the Cold War had begun. As a
participant himself in India’s freedom struggle he shared the vision of the
leaders who had led us to freedom that, with independence, our country would
launch towards the winning of a new world - the creation of a new society,
secular in its foundation, ensuring liberty of thought, belief and action and
the realization of economic and social justice for all the citizens of the free
This vision Freedom First, has steadfastly adhered to, even when it was
politically incorrect or ‘unpopular’ to speak up for liberal values not to
mention liberal economics. Our primary aim has been and continues to be to
inform, analyse and educate our readers whether, on the real nature of Soviet
Communism ( which collapsed with the fall of the Berlin Wall), its inhuman
treatment of dissent; of the fifth column that it created in the form of
communist parties organised internationally including India; issues of
governance; the onset of corruption as the licence-permit-quota-raj tightened
its stranglehold on the economy; the Planning Commission which was patterned on
the Soviet Gosplan and which inevitably led to wrong priorities e.g. the
emphasis on heavy industry to the neglect of rural India in general and
agriculture in particular; a lopsided foreign policy in the guise of
non-alignment but pro-Soviet Union in content; and the growing trend towards too
much government and too little citizenship. The list can go on.
All these were issues that came up for discussion in the pages of Freedom First.
These articles spread over 577 editions in about 18000 printed pages reflect the
times they were written by men known for their integrity and competence. In
February 2009 we marked the 500th issue with a selection of 40 articles. There
was much appreciation and demand for copies and this special edition is almost
out of print.
Freedom First has been in continuous publication barring a period of six months
in 1975-76 when we shut down rather than submit to pre-censorship and filed a
petition with the Bombay High Court. Freedom First which was then being edited
by Minoo Masani won the petition which was argued by Mr.Soli Sorabjee and this
story is told in the pages which we now seek to preserve.
We believe Freedom First archives will be a boon to scholars and to those who
wish to know the story of India after independence unfolded from a liberal
perspective and will be of considerable historical and research value.