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Tribute to Waqar Khan (1965 -2009)
Waqar Khan is a small manufacturer who came to the city in the 1980s as a migrant from UP and hawked bananas before he gradually built up a garment business. He lived and worked in Dharavi, Mumbai.

The 1992-93 riots, which badly affected Dharavi, constituted a watershed event in life of Waqar, which made him realise the importance of working for communal harmony. He along with his friend Bhau Korde got involved in various peace initiatives, which included the Dharavi Mohalla Committee, set up by Mr. Satish Sawhney, the then Police Commissioner and other citizens. It was through this activity that Waqar first met Bhau. They became good friends and colleagues, who along with several others, worked tirelessly to restore community trust and build up destroyed relationships.

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Kashi ka Kabir

by PURUSHOTTAM AGRAWAL, 01 January 2010, Communalism Combat

Kabir was a householder who expected his god to grant him sufficient resources to feed his family and the occasional guest but he also spoke as a mendicant. He had some very harsh things to say about women but adopts the persona of a woman in poetic moments of deep love and devotion to his Ram. His anguish for the ‘outside’ world is matched by his agony in the inner universe.

Kabir’s search leads him to the conclusion that in the human mind, the elements of kamabhavana [sexual desire – the agitation of love], ramabhavana [spiritual restlessness] and samajabhavana [outrage against injustice] exist not as conflicting forces but as elements that reinforce one another. Any claim of reading Kabir without reading this creative coexistence of the three elements is simply futile.

 

 

 
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Imagining Citizenship: Being Muslim, Becoming Citizens in Ahmedabad

by Meenakshi Thapan, 16 January 2010, Economic & Political Weekly

Against the background of the experience of extreme and brutal violence against the Muslim community in 2002, and the rapid process of ghettoisation along religious divides in Ahmedabad, this study, based on the fieldwork in selected schools in the Muslim-dominated areas, focuses on understanding how secondary schools run by Muslim trusts seek to recover and establish identities of being Muslim through their pursuit of citizenship ideals.

 

 
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Short on secularism

by K N Panikar, 26 February 2010, Frontline

The impact of growing religiosity and the inadequacy of secular practices demand close attention in assessing the state of secularism in India.

Gandhiji at Delhi’s Purana Qila where Muslim refugees prepare to depart for Pakistan, on September 22, 1947. His assassination by a Hindu fanatic was a setback to secularism.

Secularism is not communal harmony;communal harmony is the outcome of secularism. It is, therefore, imperative to explore what constitutes secularism as an ideology beyond harmony.

SECULAR India has undergone several convulsions during the past 60 years, so much so that doubts about its survival were entertained by many. Some of them tend to relate these convulsions to the nature of Indian society, to which they attribute centrality to religion in both personal and public affairs. In such a society, it has been argued, secularism can only have a perilous existence, that too by compromising some of its basic tenets. This view has received academic respectability and political support: the former from those who had no faith in the ability of Indian society for institution building and the latter from those who were inimical to secularism as a political creed.

 

The scepticism about secularism has only increased in recent times. The defenders of secularism are shrinking and some of them are exploring conditions beyond secularism. The weaknesses of secular practices add fuel to the fire: they confirm the doubts about the relevance of secularism in Indian conditions. At the same time, the unprecedented popularity that religiosity has gained has pushed secularism to the backyard. In assessing the state of secularism today, the impact of growing religiosity as well as the inadequacy of secular practices demand close attention.

 
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