Sudden spurt of violence and hate in Indian society, a new notion of nationalism based on fear and feelings of besiege and a process of exclusion to redefine the boundaries of social structure has corroded the very foundation on which the constitution of the country was based. The processes more pronounced in certain parts than the other have immensely disturbed intellectuals, artists and social activists.
Marking the 15 years of Gujarat genocide, we believed that the urgency to intervene in defence of democracy, secularism and justice has never been more pressing than in the conditions prevailing in the country today. There is a recognizable change in the general tenor of public discourse; unlike in the past, it is informed more by the communal than by secular ethos. The prejudices against marginalised communities are widely shared as a result of motivated and sustained propaganda. In the face of concerted social mobilization mounted by communal organizations by invoking religious symbols and sentiments, liberal civil society has come under a siege. Nevertheless, the need for sustained and constructive action for strengthening secularism and democracy and for realising justice and peace is evident.
Chaired by Prof Manoj Jha, Prof Apoorvanand, Harsh Mander, Nishrin Jafri, Shabnam Hashmi, Teesta Setalvad and Zakia Jafri will speak at the programme.
The remembrance in the form of memory plays a fundamental role in shaping future. Today ‘never forget’ and ‘never again’ are often used in relation to remember the events of mass violence, specially the genocides. It is very important for genocide survivors and activists to speak of a ‘war against memory’, as the perpetrators tried to destroy material traces of their crimes, and revisionists today seek to deny what happened. Today, the remembrance of 15 years of Gujarat Genocide is most crucial to defend the India and criminal justice system of the state, which is under attack. We can’t risk allowing them to happen again, therefore along with remembrance the struggle to seek justice is another crucial part, and it can only possible with extending support to the survivors and activists who are fighting this battle.
A Video Series Our Shared Cultural Heritage recorded a few years ago is being released at the programme.
Cultures, civilizations grow and develop because they constantly take from each other. Civilizations borrow from others and give to others. And it is in this process of give and take that each civilization, each country, each nation constantly reinvents itself. It defines and redefines itself. The idea is not to purge what we consider alien but to recognize that it is impossible to say what is ours and what is not. What we need to do is to see what is relevant, living and robust in our culture as it exists today, to accept what will enrich our lives and help us to improve as human beings and to reject and discard all that is likely to sustain prejudice and malice towards other human beings. The search for the meaning of culture is a continuous process in the historical evolution of all societies. The dynamism of Indian culture is derived from its diversity, which molded the cultural practices of the people. We celebrate this diversity and we believe that the lectures will play a significant role in resisting the forces of hatred
The video lecture series being released online on Anhad India Youtube channel contain lectures by Dadi Padumjee on Puppetry, Gauhar Raza on Science, Javed Akhter on Cinema,K. Satchitanandan on Literature, K.N. Panikkar on Cultural Heritage, Kumi and Anil Chandra on Fabric, Mridula Mukharjee on People’s Movements, Prathibha Prahlad on Dance, Romi Khosla on Architecture, Romila Thapar on History as Heritage, Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan on Music, Sohail Hashmi on Food, Tripurari Sharma on Theatre and Yogi Sikand on Religious Spaces.
Two bookmarks will also be released with Ehsan Jafri’s poems and one with Gauhar Raza’s poem written in 2002.
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