Progressives urge focus on real issues before India

Mumbai, Feb 9 (IANS) Bollywood actor-activist Sushant Singh here on Sunday urged the members of civil society and educated youth to go to villages and counter what he termed as ‘the deep-rooted RSS agenda’ against the masses and put forth the real issues before the people.

“We need to remove communalism out of the Indian fabric. The goal should be to counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology through sustained resistance against divisive politics at the village level,” Singh said.

He was addressing a discussion on ‘Pressing issues facing India: Responsibilities of conscientious citizens’, organised by a collective of “Hum Honge Kaamyab” and “Urdu Markaz” at the Haj House. Representatives from all religions took part in the event.

Several speakers rued while the “real issues facing India are pushed to the back-burner”, the Asian giant and a future superpower reels under its worst-ever economic crisis.

Ram Punyani said while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) felt the real problem of Muslim women was triple talaq, the Muslim women-led movements recently articulated that the primary problem was the “very threat to the community”.

“Other communities, cutting across religious lines and comprising those below the poverty line, the landless, homeless and jobless millions, fear if the citizenship of Muslims can be threatened due to lack of some documents, then others will not be far behind in the victimisation process, unleashed by the government,” Punyani said.

Speakers like academician Fr. Fraser Mascarenhas; Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad; and journalist Faye D’Souza spoke on how communal and caste fault-lines were visible, crimes against women were on the rise and the law and order situation turning bad.

However, the CAA-NRC-NPR has diverted attention from burning issues such as the grim economic situation, joblessness, farmland suicides, education and malnutrition confronting the nation, they lamented.

Mascarenhas said India was an example of being the most plural society in recent history, it had been the cradle of human civilization and a leader in spiritual thought. “We all once pledged to uphold a unique Constitution, perhaps the most progressive human experiment given the diversity of the Indian sub-continent and the prevalent conditions during Independence,” he said.

Punyani said while the CAA-NRC-NPR was the precipitating factor, the BJP-led central government’s ‘divisive policies’, coupled with its failure to fulfill tall promises made, spiraling inflation, growing unemployment, etc, had fuelled the ongoing protests.

“The spread of the spontaneous protest movements having a similar message is remarkable. Shaheen Bagh is not merely a physical space, it’s a symbol of resistance against divisive politics, poverty and the common issues of society,” said Punyani.

Shaheen Bagh had served to unite the society and people against divisive, emotional issues, like Ram temple, cows, love-jihad and ghar-wapsi.

Mustafa said the people of India believed in the ideals of the Constitution. “But without constitutionalism, the Constitution is meaningless,” he said.

Mascarenhas and D’Souza dwelt on tackling the economic crises and inflation with efforts to enable a united progressive nation.



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