By Eleonora Fanari:
Although the motto “Unity In Diversity” has been the driving message for unifying and integrating the multiplicity of India, exclusion and marginalization have continuously troubled the entire country. Thousands of people continue to be left in society based on caste discrimination; others continue to be treated as outsiders for the difference of their skin, their indigenous identity or religion.
To stand against this wave of discrimination and to celebrate unity and inclusion, a group of youth living in New Delhi, came together on Friday 15th May in a form of a joyful, multicultural and colourful dance. The dance came up to symbolize the coming together of different communities as one, to real celebrate equality and inclusion.
“iMove for InclUSion” started with an idea of The Task Force of Socially Excluded (SETF) to bring together young people from different backgrounds to promote the fight against discrimination and social inclusion through dance. This was part of the Action/2015 global campaign to encourage people to literally ‘move‘ to raise awareness and demand action from our government on issues of inequality, poverty and injustice. The Flash Mob was aimed to spread awareness on the different kinds of discrimination and racial attitudes widespread and silently accepted in our society. To acknowledge that inequality goes far beyond the traditional caste and religion discrimination generally recognized in our society, and covers all mankind.
We decided to use dance as a way to communicate and promote greater social inclusion, as we believe in its power to positively influence the participants’ interaction as well as deliver a positive message. Dance has the power to enhance self-confidence, create a team, and consolidate a positive sense of identity for many groups at risks of exclusion such as disadvantages young people, minority ethnic groups, migrants, etc.
Students from Congo opened with the Vulindela song, a symbolic song of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, followed up by the famous Indian song ‘Jai Ho‘, as a symbol of struggle and freedom.
“We came to India to study and to escape from a country overrun by conflicts and shortage. But in Delhi our life is not easy and everyday we face a lot of difficulties and racism that often drives us into depression and misery,” said the African students.
The young students from JNU coming from North East, Ladakh and Sikkim commented “Our features are different in this city and because of prejudices and ignorance we face discrimination every day. Many have faced violence, and many are scared to freely walk among our own citizens.”
The young Burmese refugees dancing in the Flash Mob were all between the age of 13 and 17 years. They live in very rough conditions, without any support from organizations or government. “We are struggling everyday to survive, but without papers and regulations we cannot be a part of this society; we face violence and abuse everyday.”
It was a joy to see all these communities coming together as one to celebrate through the movement of their bodies. The dance unified them, crossing all languages and cultural barriers. Our hope and aim is to bring these feelings back to the households of each of the 70 youngsters who became ambassadors for a new and inclusive society.
We dance because we are tired of living in an aggressive society where respect and equality is an everyday challenge.
We dance because this is our city and we want to live in Dignity, Freedom, Security and Peace.
We dance because our identity is our dignity and we don’t want to be afraid or scared to step out in the city and be ourselves.
We dance because we are the future of our nation and the world, and we believe real development cannot happen without inclusion and respect for equal dignity of all.