On August 9th 2018, on the eve of August Kranti Day, International Adivasi Day and the birthday of Late Sri Sudhindra Shukla(a veteran journalist and trade union leader), a convention was organised by the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights(PVCHR) in Varanasi. The convention’s objective was to celebrate the ideas of justice, equality, fraternity and pluralism.
The programme began with Ashish Mishra and friends singing Kabir Vani; followed by felicitating the guests with a sapling, a copy of Indian Constitution and Varanasi’s Gamcha. Dr.Mahendra Pratap, the president of PVCHR, delivered a welcoming speech.
Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, the founder of PVCHR, illustrated the goals of the event. He emphasized that the convention was meant to unite the broken people of all caste and religions and to fight against the caste system, communal fascism, politics centred on religion, patriarchy, and Neo-liberalism. He further said that the convention is an attempt to promote justice, fraternity and pluralism in a highly unequal society; and would pave the way for an egalitarian society. He also stressed that by adopting the ideals of Nelson Mandela, Neo-Dalit Movement could achieve progress and age-old problems can be solved.
Ms.Jagriti Rahi(Varanasi), Mr.Uday Kumar (Bihar) and Mr.Pradeep Garg from Uttarakhand, were awarded Jan Mitra Award, for their commendable work in the area of human rights. A book by social scientist, Mr.Amit Singh – Conflict of Freedom of Expression and Religion and another by senior writer and thinker, Kanshi Ram Ji and Mr.Moolchand Sonkar – First Japan trip were also launched at the event.
Senior journalist and founder of Media Vigil, Mr.Pankaj Srivastava advocated on the “elimination of anger”. He said that the agents of fascism, have captured Ram, Shiv and Parvati. He suggested that the rulers and politician must read about the character of Shri Ram. He further explained how politics has changed the nature of God- from the protector to the one who is full of rage and anger. He also mentioned how we had been taught since our childhood, that our gods lived in harmony on the Himalayas with other gods. They show us the significance of peaceful co-existence.
Professor Ratan Lal, an intellectual, who teaches at Hindu college, explained that the caste system can never be eliminated if Brahmanism remains. The two have originated from a composite culture. Caste System can be destroyed only when Brahmins too, start organising anti-caste movements.
Jignesh Mevani, Member of Gujarat Legislative Assembly and a prominent Dalit activist, pointed out that Uttar Pradesh does not need the ideology of BJP, but that of Kabir, Raidas and Buddha. He further stressed that the Indian Constitution can be protected only when the people of India understand the ideals of Kabir, Raidas and Buddha. Taking a dig at the ruling party, he said that their work is to break our unity and our duty is to spread love. He emphasised that the need of the hour is to be united as an opposition. Mevani further said, Mathma Gandhi is the father of the nation, and Dr Ambedkar is the father of modern India.
Senior journalist, television anchor, author and ex-director of Rajya Sabha TV, Shri Urmilesh, suggested that to fight against contemporary fascist forces; everyone needs to be united and forgetting their personal differences. He mentioned the recent election of Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, in which NDA won, and opposition lost; even though they have claimed that they were in the majority. He warned that as 2019 elections are getting close, the ruling party might play new tricks and people have to be more responsible so they no longer fall for the jumlas.
Senior social worker and chairman of Congress Sevadal, Shri Lalji Desai lambasted those who have a Manuvadi mentality and practice inequality. He also stressed on the necessity to struggle for equal access to education, right to food and employment. Shri Nadeem Khan, of United Against Hate campaign, also gave a speech foregrounding that- justice shall prevail, not the revenge!
Many prominent people shared their views in this program including Ms.Arpna (Gao Ke Log), Sri Ambrish Kuman Roy (Ex-MLA, Uttrakhand), Sri Vijay Pandey (Mumbai), Dr.Kafeel (Gorakhpur), Anoop Sharmik and Shruti Nagvanshi (Convenor, Savitribai Phule Women Forum).
The programme was anchored by famous theatre personality, writer and poet, Vyomesh Shukla. In the end, Dr.Arif Mohammad, Secretary of PVCHR’s governing board, thanked everyone for making the event successful. The event was concluded with famous tribal dance by Ghasiya Tribe. People from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Maharastra participated in large numbers.