Mangaluru : ” For years Mangaluru which was famous for seafood and meat cuisine, these days it has become famous for beating up girls and boys at pubs, malls, on streets etc. It has also become famous for moral policing- it is risky to walk with your own wife or your brother or sister on the streets. Who are these Sangh Parivar activists to question your personal social life. Once you are above 19 years you have your own freedom. We live in a vast democratic country. We need to fight against all these moral policing, violence and harassment ” said Vidya Bhushan Rawat- a Humanist and Human Rights activist from Delhi at the “Maanavatha Milan…A Quest for Humanity” workshop.
Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development has organized ‘Maanavatha Milan… A Quest for Humanity’, a series of programmes scheduled for 8th, 9th and 10th December, concluding with a public function on Thursday, the afternoon of 10th of December 2015. This marks International Human Rights Day declared by the United Nations as December 10th to immortalize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The inaugural session of the workshop was held at Sahodaya , in KACES Campus, Balmatta, Mangaluru, a venue which has been kindly extended for the cause by the Karnataka Christian Educational Society. Vidya Dinker- Human Rights Activist from Mangaluru welcomed the gathering, introduced the guest speaker and briefed about the three-day workshops.
She said, “The objective of these programmes is to sensitise youth and social activists on the emerging issues and challenges facing civil society in India and the world. It will enlighten them on basic tenets of democracy and constitutional governance, and will attempt to imbibe universal ideals like equality, citizens’ rights, secularism, gender equality, liberation from social, political, economic and cultural oppression etc. The looming problems of communalism, corruption and extremism will also be discussed and analysed with a view to work towards finding solutions”.
Addressing the participants during today’s youth leadership training workshop on “Democracy and Humanism”, speaker Vidya Bhushan Rawat said, “All those who are crying to finish Christianity and Islam from India are roaring and roaming free in the country. It is this tendency of majoritarianism that gives rise to intimidation and threat to minorities and dissent. Such tendencies often hijack the democratic process and put the society to the hands of religious rights who are afraid of modern ideas so they will speak against girls education”
“They will speak against love marriages. Yes, they will hate everything that is modern which they will term as ‘westernisation’ while enjoying everything that the western societies produced. Culture becomes a handle for them to beat the opponents. If we compare these fascists in India and Pakistan, we can find commonality among them. They threaten the minorities with dire consequences. They justify violence against women and blame the women for violence on them and they use the vulnerability of the state apparatus. India has become famous for photoshop activities- through publicity of photos which are photoshopped we are creating communal tensions and unrest”
” It is not a time for preaching. It is time to act. Promote secular liberal values in your lives. Promote that kind of polity and encourage people to people contact. As long as we support violence in the name of religion, we will not succeed. Government should focus on their poor, on their women and work towards removing those hurdles which are the bane for our society. We must work hard and must strengthen a secular India. Weakening of secular forces in our country has already harmed our societies a lot and if we wish our children should grow, it is time, we must work for secular humanist societies otherwise the religious fascists are ready to kill you anytime without having any remorse and remember they always have a book to justify their mindless violence”.
“Caste and false identities are the biggest problem in India and need the biggest assault. As long as caste identities survive, brahmanical system will work unquestionably to the benefits of the powerful communities. The caste based identity mobilizations are good but they must also adhere to democratic values, social justice and human rights and in reality it is not possible as long as these mobilization harps on ‘great’ legacy of caste. India’s future lie not in strengthening of castes but its complete demolition as Ambedkar had visualized and called for a complete restructuring of Indian society”.
India is waiting for its cultural renaissance and it is only possible when our constitutional values become part of our social habits and not just a rule book to use conveniently according to our suitability of ideas and political interest. India may have a secular democratic constitution and we might have various governments claiming to work for social justice but at the far end of the day if values of social justice and constitutions are unacceptable to our people in their personal life and culturally then nobody can save India” added Vidya Rawat. He will be talking more on Democracy and Humanism during remaining part of the day-long workshop.
Working as a full time human rights defender, Humanist and Human Rights Activist Vidya Bhushan Rawat who has made several documentaries and also written books on the issues of human rights, Dalits, women and minorities, speaking to mangalorean.com said, ” Though, I am a humanist and defend the right of an individual to be religious, However, I firmly believe that there is nothing like ’God’s Word’ or final truth. All God’s words can be challenged. We defend the rights of dissenters. Democracy can only flourish when people respect dissent and resolve their issues through dialogue. I personally feel that religious laws cannot override secular laws of a nation and that society has to accept wide diversity across the world. However, parochialism in the name of diversity should not be supported at all”.
The two days of workshop will culminate in an interactive session on 10th December at 10:00 am, where Dr. Ram Puniyani and Dr Sharanappa SD, IPS, the Superintendent of Police, DK District will dialogue with the workshop participants. Same day in the afternoon will be a festive ‘dialogue on humanism and constitutional rights’ commencing at 3.00 pm and will be addressed by renowned international and national personalities Lara Mattossian-Roberts (founder and CEO of Sci-fest, Dubai), Ram Puniyani (reputed writer and human rights activist, Mumbai), Vaidehi (eminent thinker and litterateur) and Vidya Bhushan Rawat (humanist and human rights activist, Delhi). A poster exhibition, music, panel discussions and mock court will be the major attractions of the fest.