In a display of rare unity, various civil, cultural and human rights activists, academicians, journalists and public intellectuals came together on one platform to defend what they termed “the inclusive, pluralistic and diverse idea of India” against the onslaught of the “majoritarian idea of India” during a two-day conclave held here, which concluded on Saturday.
The civil society groups emphasised that they will continue to fight for the rights of the oppressed and oppose not only all kinds of fundamentalism but also the “Modi model of development”, which filmmaker Anand Patwardhan termed as “the most dangerous project” India has ever seen.
Speaking on the first day of the conclave, he argued that since the Narendra Modi-led NDA government was sworn in, the “Hindutva project” in some sense has taken a back seat and the “Modi model of development reflected in the FDI in defence sector, raising of Narmada dam height” was being spread across the country.
With the agenda to chalk out a road map for future, the activists said they will continue to struggle for civil rights and work against injustice.
While talking about the need to “move on from the past”, noted activist and dancer Mallika Sarabhai told fellow activists that “there is no need to mourn further on the failure of secular forces in the recent election. It is not good enough to sit here and mourn about it and remember the past”.
She argued it was time for action and everyone who believed in secularism and the pluralistic fabric of India should decide on what he or she can do for it.
“All of us need to understand and ask ourselves this very basic question, ‘what am I willing to do to actually reach out to those that we think are misguided in wanting a particular view of India, a particular, a very small, a very parochial, a very anti-everything view of India? What are we going to do to change it?’” she added.
Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD said: “We have come here to defend the inclusive idea of India and chalk out a road map for future. The very fact that activists from across sections and fields have come together is a good sign and gives us hope and the courage to continue the fight for this idea of India.”
“We have also come together to tell the political opposition which was completely siolent in the recent cases of the attack on this idea of India that our struggle will not be weakened by their absence,” she added.