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'Human rights trampled upon': Activists, litterateurs, academics 'reimagine' India

Bezwada Wilson, Romila Thapar, TM Krishna
By Our Representative 
The Reimagining India public lecture series, initiated by the civil rights group India Inclusive Collective, has brought together one platform about 50 prominent speakers in order to highlight how, over the last seven years, there have been “consistent attacks” on the democratic fabric of the country, with Constitutional and human rights of people being “trampled with impunity.”
Pointing out that fundamental right to equality, the right to live with dignity, to question the state and dissent are under threat, the lectures suggest the manner in which “institutions of oversight have been systematically emaciated, with the independence of the judiciary under a serious cloud and the functioning of the Parliament gravely compromised”, said human rights activist Shabman Hashmi, one of the organisers.
Begun on October 2, the Gandhi Jayanti day, the speakers include filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, musician TM Krishna, writer Apoorvanand, poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi, academic Prof Atul Sood, Safai Karmachari Andolan leader Bezwada Wilson, child rights activist Enakshi Ganguly, feminist Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, social scientist Prof Nandini Sundar, Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, MP Shashi Tharoor, and historians Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib.
Hashmi said, “Rise of fascism and crony capitalism, and the concomitant increase in violence in society have had a devastating impact on the lives of people, especially those belonging to the Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim and other marginalised communities.”
She added, “The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the apathetic and anti-poor nature of the state. The pandemic has been famously likened to an X-Ray that has exposed the bare bones of our system and amplified the terrible inequalities it has perpetuated. The afflictions gripping the nation have exponentially multiplied in the last year and a half.”
Lectures will help counter the There is No Alternative narrative, effectively pushed by the propaganda machinery of the ruling dispensation
Claiming that “amidst the oppression and intimidation, the country has witnessed strong peoples’ movements against injustice and tyranny”, as seen during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019 and early 2020, Hashmi hoped, the lecture series would start “a conversation to explore the contours of a society that is more just, equal and aligned to the Constitutional values of liberty and fraternity.”
She added, the lectures, recorded in English and Hindi, provide “an alternate vision for the country and, hopefully, help counter the 'There is No Alternative' narrative that has been so effectively pushed by the propaganda machinery of the ruling dispensation.”
Each lecture will be of duration of 30-40 minutes. A video of 2 minutes and later 5-8 minutes is being edited from each lecture for wider dissemination through various social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook, “to effectively reach out to the youth and to fence-sitters, including those who might have voted for the present regime but are now disenchanted and looking for an alternative.”
While full videos are available on India Inclusive YouTube channel, their abridged videos are being uploaded available on the India Inclusive Facebook page.

Comments

Sarwat Ali said…
Much needed worthy initiative .

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