A ride for communal harmony

Youth leaders have now embarked on a mission to travel across NCR and other parts of the country to create communal harmony

Published - January 28, 2015 07:34 pm IST

Representatives of various organisations supporting the campaign at the bus launch.

Representatives of various organisations supporting the campaign at the bus launch.

A hundred enterprising youth leaders are now on a mission to create awareness in Delhi, NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh about the need to have communal harmony in society and ensure that the country’s name doesn’t get besmirched due to flare-up between people of different faiths.

Aptly described as changeloomers, these youngsters hail from different socio-economic backgrounds but share values of forging a bond between people of different faiths, caste and creed. They also share a vision to ensure that when the country moves forward the pluralistic traditions of the country continue unfettered.

As part of Changelooms With.in’s campaign “Bas! Stop .. .Discrimination Right Now”, these youngsters are committed to bringing about non discriminatory access to livelihood opportunities and inclusion of marginalised communities, people of different sexual orientations into the mainstream. Changelooms With.in is basically a leadership journey that encourages, recognises and supports young leaders to realise their potential and spearhead initiatives to bring about a change.

So how do they accomplish this in a nation as big as ours? These youngsters, working individually as social crusaders or showing such potential, are journeying together in a bus for the next three months.

Ghufran Siddiqui, an activist from Faizabad, is one of the proud changeloomers who on his own is trying to ease communal tensions in the temple town of Ayodhya and bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims, who before the demolition of the Babri Masjid were living peacefully for centuries.

“I have been exhorting youngsters of both communities to live in peace and harmony like their parents or forefathers used to do. We need to remove the bitterness and bad blood which has crept into the psyche of both the communities. My priority is to bridge the gulf between the two communities,” says, Ghufran.

Shedding light on the atmosphere in Ayodhya, Ghufran says, the youth is increasingly belligerent and frustrated with the way things have changed in the town, which till the Babri Masjid demolition was known for its syncretic traditions.

“While working with the youth, I realised that they understood my message that peace was essential for their, their families and communities good. Due to this consistent interaction, my communicative skills has also showed an improvement,” says Ghufran, who is disseminating the message through screening of thought provoking films, discussions, posters and banners.

Rajan Khosla, spokesperson of Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS), which is supporting this campaign, says, the involvement of the youth was essential to bring about a change in the mindsets of people.

“PACS acts as a catalyst which nurtures people who come up with out-of-the-box solutions which bring together communities and people irrespective of caste, creed, religion and sex. We are talking about inclusion here. So far we have addressed the students at the Jamia Millia Islamia and will travel to Delhi University. The message to the youth is that they should not fall prey to divisive forces. We will discourage the youth from getting brainwashed by the right-wing fundamentalist forces. They would come to know about the ground reality and not what is preached, exaggerated and even twisted to suit a particular group.”

The bus, launched with fanfare at Vishwa Yuvak Kendra over the weekend, will also travel to the riot-hit Trilokpuri.

“Both the communities have been living peacefully at Trilokpuri but the recent communal polarisation left a bad taste. So it is important to sensitise the locals.”

Street theatre will play an important role in mobilising people.

Arjun Shekhar, spokesperson of CYC, which along with Pravah is jointly running this campaign, says that the campaign seeks to provide youth leaders a platform to stop all discrimination.

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