New Delhi: Highly perturbed by the growing violence, attacks on women and girls, atmosphere of hatred across the nation, attacks on dissent, further marginalization of dalits and minorities, attacks on educational institutions; realizing the danger to our shared heritage, pluralism and diversity, a few friends got together and constituted a group ‘ India Inclusive’ to safeguard not only the shared heritage, collective consciousness but also to protect the idea of an inclusive India. This India of our dreams is forward looking and free of fear, they say.
India Inclusive core team includes Dr Harshvardhan Hegde(orthopedic surgeon), Raza Haider (media professional) and Leena Dabiru (Development and Legal Consultant) and Shabnam Hashmi (Independent activist). They said that they hope to expand it to likeminded people but it will remain a platform and not an organization.
Addressing the media, Shabnam Hashmi said, “This inclusive India has existed for many centuries; it welcomed diversity with open arms. This India has encouraged and produced diversity of religion, ethnicity, language, habits, practices and ideas, by building a compassionate, peaceful and nonviolent cultural ethos”.
“Since its earliest imagination, the idea of India has always been based on plurality. What has been created through millennia of advent and integration is a grand and many-hued heritage, shared by all who at various points of time became part of it and contributed to it in their own unique way,” added Shabnam.
Leena Dabiru, development and legal consultant said, “Today we very strongly feel that the idea of this inclusive India is under sever threat. The divisive forces have contaminated all spaces of thought and expression. Hate and fear looms large. The democratic structures through which a common citizen expresses her/his aspirations and fulfills her/his dreams are under intense attack. We have learnt from the experience of neighboring countries, once these structures are allowed to crumble, nations pay huge prices to rebuild build them. We cannot be complacent and allow the forces of hate to grow on our soil and convert the subcontinent into a cauldron of intolerance.”
Talking about the Citizen’s Conclave, team collectively said,” We are launching India Inclusive with a Citizen’s Conclave: Building an Inclusive India from May 25-27, 2018 at the Constitution Club, New Delhi. Public intellectuals, students, activists, lawyers, academicians, media personalities are participating in the deliberations. The conclave is open to all concerned citizens who want to contribute in building an inclusive India.”
“Citizens Conclave is guided by the vision of reclaiming and realizing the idea of an inclusive India: an India that necessarily includes and respects all of our country’s immense diversity of cultures, faiths, languages, peoples and communities – all held together, and mediated, by the core constitutional idea and values of citizenship, the touchstone of democracy,” said Dr. Harshvardhan Hedge, orthopaedic surgeon.
He further said, “We urge peace loving citizens to join the Conclave. Do come in large number, saving constitutional values is our collective responsibility.”