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Posted Online on Saturday 3, December 2005 02:45 IST

Muslim Islamic NewsInvitation to 'In defence of democracy' Exhibition

The Milli Gazette Online


Anhad & Peace

Invites you to the opening of the exhibition

"In Defence of Democracy"

On 6th December, 2005 at 5pm at Arpana Art Gallery* Academy of Fine Arts & Literature
4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi-110049

Mr. Javed Akhtar Will be the guest of honour

The Exhibition will remain open from 11am to 7pm till December 9, 2005

*In Defence of Democracy: An Exhibition*
* * When the secular forces and civil society were engaged in building the nation and grappling with the questions of development such as eradication of illiteracy, poverty, epidemic, floods and famines, the communal formations both Hindu and Muslim, abetting each other, were busy creating a communal mindset. Drawing strength from the fabricated history and fictitious present day realities, the hate campaigns, unleashed by them, gradually corroded the secular and democratic fabric of the country. In the past decade, especially after their successful demolition of an obscure mosque, the communal-fascists have increased their divisive crusades. They are no more on the periphery of Indian social engineering project. Through covert and overt operations they today occupy fairly large spaces particularly in northern parts of India.

The urgency to intervene in defence of democracy, secularism and justice has never been more pressing than in the conditions prevailing in the country today. There is a recognizable change in the general tenor of public discourse; unlike in the past, it is informed more by the communal than by secular ethos. The prejudices against minorities are widely shared as a result of motivated and sustained propaganda. In the face of concerted social mobilization mounted by communal organizations by invoking religious symbols and sentiments, liberal civil society has come under a siege. Nevertheless, it is evident from the large number of secular democratic initiatives by political parties, voluntary organizations and individuals that society is seized of the need for sustained and constructive action for strengthening secularism and democracy and for realising justice and peace. Their numbers and strength are not inconsequential. Yet, there are moments when the communal ideologies and social and political organisations appear to be poised to conquer. The resounding defeat by the mass of ordinary people of the BJP led political alliance is a significant but not decisive victory for secular democracy. The fountainhead of the BJP, the RSS can never be voted out of power. While it regroups, the secular parties remain weak-kneed, defensive and indecisive.

There are thousands of small groups across India who are working for a secular, democratic country and resisting the onslaught of the communal fascist forces but they do not have access to authentic facts which they can use to propagate secular values and to counter prejudices or wrong facts which are spread by the communal forces.

This exhibition is a small attempt in the struggle against the communal forces. The exhibition highlights those aspects from the Indian history and culture which talk of pluralism. Exhibition is broadly divided into the following sections: the legacy of the freedom movement, the vision of a secular India as enshrined in our constitution, the threat to the secular fabric by the communal and fundamentalist forces, the process of communalization of the Indian society, the myth of minority appeasement and the reality behind conversions, the status of minorities, the attack on minorities, our composite cultural heritage and the need to preserve it.

The exhibition has 60 panels 2.5 x 4 feet size. It's printed on flex. There would be 20 sets of the exhibition: English and Hindi five each and one each in Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Oriya, Kannada, Punjabi, and Bengali. The exhibition is ready in English and is being translated into other languages.

*Dissemination: *The exhibition* *would be inaugurated in a number of cities over the next six months. After the opening it will travel within different states. Over the coming six months the exhibition is expected to be seen by thousands of people across India (Delhi and Jaipur December 6th, Ahmedabad, Nagpur-December 10th).

The exhibition has been conceived, researched and executed by Shabnam Hashmi, designed by Pervez, Subject experts: Harsh Mander and Ram Puniyani. Those who have contributed to the text (apart from a large number of resource material and books): Harsh Mander, Ram Puniyani, Sohail Hashmi, Shabnam Hashmi. Produced by Anhad and Peace (Popular Education and Action Centre), Printed at Pullshoppe.

*Note: For organising the display in other Cities/States. Contact Anhad (+91-11) 23327366/67*


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