LITERARY REVIEW

Mind withou fear, head held high

By Anita Joshua

Mind withou fear, head held high

HOW does one define dignity? Is there a one-size-fits-all definition for the word? Certainly not, is the loud and clear message from Defining Dignity: An Anthology of Dreams, Hopes and Struggles. Through prose, poetry and sketches, this Heinrich Boll Foundation-India publication brings together an entire range of musings on dignity.

Released at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, earlier this year, the publication is an "outcome of the instantaneous response that the World Dignity Forum (a platform at two successive WSFs) drew from various parts of the world". And what becomes clear is that while dignity translates differently for everyone, freedom is a recurrent theme. As an Indian People's Theatre Association poem puts it: "We exist in the heart of every true one in the world.... those mad about freedom are all one, one!"

Enclosed are views on the subject from a host of marginalised groups — dalits, religious minorities, women, the physically challenged, the Palestinians — who together make out a case for keeping alive platforms like the WSF which provide "a listening space, a learning ground and a people's court for a public hearing of the case for human dignity".

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