A Conference on Harmony
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2023
Venue - JAMIA HAMDARD, New Delhi
In a nation of great ethnic and cultural diversity, India has nevertheless in the decades following independence from British colonial rule steadfastly upheld its democratic commitment.
This commitment is on occasion tarnished by public dissent that flares into violence, and it often involves the same diverse communities that exemplify the nation’s inclusive credentials.
This inclusivity has in the decades of independence from British colonial rule encompassed the varying hues of patriotism.
In recent years, this patriotism appears to have developed nuanced schisms such as the nationalism that seeks a conformity of ethnic and other defining values of a wholesome civilisation.
This conference will examine contemporary trends in India that offer a choice between firm, centrally administered authority that stresses on homogeneity of cultural and other qualities of nationhood, and regional and minorities that focus on diverse identities.
They can be viewed as challenges to a federalism that has been one of the cherished values of the founding fathers.
But the increasing demands for greater autonomy of states and the diverse communities have, some would argue, weakened the fabric of a united nation that believes in conformity and a strong centre.
Currently, the two sides are ranged on opposite sides in issues from minority rights and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to reforming personal laws through a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to protecting indigenous tribespeople’s traditional ways of life.
These confrontations reflect a struggle to define identity, nationalism and patriotism. Its resolution is critical in elevation India to global leadership.
How these contradictions can be resolved is the substance of the debate.