Monday August 26, 2019
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Fundamentalists eclipsing democracy in Bangladesh

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Kolkata: Expressing concern over the atrocious rise of fundamentalist power in Bangladesh eminent Ajoy Roy, the father of slain secularist writer-blogger Avijit Roy, on Tuesday urged the youth to thwart the threat and uphold democracy.

Participating in a discussion on “Intolerance and Democracy” at Calcutta University, Ajoy Roy said Bangladesh was going through tough times where fundamentalists were running the show and wiping out the secular fabric and democracy in the country.

“Fundamentalists have now eclipsed free thinking and are now devouring the society. If we don’t stand up now, then I have to say, Bangladesh’s democracy is in real danger.”

“There is no alternative unless stopped, they will wipe out secularism, they will wipe out democracy,” he said.

Expressing deep anguish and grief over the killing of his son and other bloggers, Roy urged the youth to stand up against communal forces and take up arms if the need be.

“Our only hope now is the youth. But then, only writing or words will not suffice. We need to build a movement, we need to hit the streets. The onus is now on the youth to carry forward the legacy of our freedom fighters and save our country.”

“If the need be, they (youth) should be ready to take up arms against these elements.”

“When fundamentalists are charging towards you with swords, how do you counter them? You need to talk to them in a language which they understand,” he exhorted.

Besides Avijit Roy, three other bloggers — Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das and Niladri Chatterjee Niloy — were hacked to death by Islamist militants.

All four bloggers were involved with the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’, a movement demanding maximum penalty for those who committed war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh freedom struggle and a ban on religion-based politics.

On the occasion, historians Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar expressed grave concern over the growing influence of Hindutva outfits, including the RSS and the VHP, and asserted intolerance was steadily rising since the advent of the Narendra Modi government.

“As writers or historians, we don’t know which of our work will enrage the Hindutva outfits and we will have to face their wrath.

“It would not be far-fetched to say that had Bhagat Singh been alive today and if he had written his last book ‘Why I am an Atheist’ now, maybe he would have met the same fate as Govind Pansare,” said Tanika Sarkar.

Referring to the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, Tanika Sarkar congratulated all those who had returned their awards in protests against the growing intolerance.(IANS)

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By Advancing Interdependence, India will Bring New Dawn for Democracy in 21st Century

All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India

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Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination. Pixabay

In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination, hostility, and prejudice and to provide equality and opportunity for all. All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India. They must be equal partners in Indias inclusive economic mobility and in Indias shared prosperity.

Independence Day is the perfect day to highlight the importance of and advance the concept of interdependence. This can be accomplished by promoting the need for a unified India on this national holiday.

The need for doing this is critical. Unfortunately, in the period since the Prime Minister called for winning “trust” in his speech, some Indians have engaged in actions destroying it.

Sadly, the heinous crimes at the beginning of Modi’s second term are nothing new. There were several lynchings and numerous attacks on Muslims during his first term.

Interdependence, India, Democracy
In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” Pixabay

Modi did not speak out vigorously then. He must do so now to demonstrate the essential leadership that will be required to create a state of interdependence. There are other serious conditions that must be addressed as well. To name just a few: sexual violence and subjugation of females continues; the caste system still exists; and, the problematic conditions of those in the weaker sections persist.

By speaking out, Prime Minister Modi can bring the country together to confront the matters that are hardening India’s democratic arteries. He cannot do that alone, however. He will need buy in and support from across the country and the citizenry.

A first step should be to “find our spiritual common ground”. That step can be initiated by recognizing that spirit is the invisible force that brings us together regardless of our caste, race, religion, region or political predisposition. The goal in discovering that common ground should be to create one nation under God. That nation would be an interdependent one and its God would be ecumenical and non-denominational. Its God would be welcoming to all.

As one nation, India would celebrate and embrace the richness of religious diversity

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As one nation, India would be inclusive and accepting unity over division and hope over fear

As one nation, India would elevate citizenship above angry and mindless partisanship and bring people together to pursue the common good

As one nation, India would be the place known for sharing and caring as opposed to blaming and shaming

As one nation, India would emphasize building bridges instead of constructing boundaries and barriers

Interdependence, India, Democracy
What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Pixabay

As one nation, India would ensure that all its people are literate and equipped with the skills to succeed in the 21st century

As one nation, India would extend life lines instead of drawing battle lines

As one nation, India would be a land of big dreams, small treasures, brave people, kind deeds, and tender mercies

As one nation, India would ensure the importance of the freedom of the free press, not to bury it

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As one nation, India would be a role model and exemplar for other democracies to emulate

Everyone must play a role in establishing India as one nation. Each citizen should engage in small acts of kindness by reaching out to those less fortunate and to the downtrodden by extending a helping hand and a hand up.

Some people can make special contributions. Religious leaders should promote interfaith dialogue. They should bring people together followers of different persuasions for meaningful conversations. They should promote a dialogue of understanding and a shared sense of community with other faiths. They should call the fact that attack on one faith is attack on all faiths. Political leaders should promote a framework of unity and civility. Civic and community leaders should promote collaboration in problem-solving. They should toil together their creeds to plant the seeds for doing good deeds.

There is no better day on which to resume our journey than Independence Day. There is no better way to make that journey than to chart a course to interdependence. By reaching that destination, India will establish itself as the beacon of hope for democracy worldwide. By realizing that potential, India will bring a new dawn for democracy in this 21st century. (IANS)