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Open Space

Citizens for Peace hosts several 'Open Spaces' to foster dialogues, debates and conversations on issues of identity, secularism, peace and justice. The open spaces include film screenings, peace melas, concerts, plays, discussions and lectures.

Here are some of our past and current events.

"In the UK when Labour came to power, the party started delivering what I call corporate populism. It was taking the corporations as a model of how to govern . ... If you want to have more democracy you have to democratize the existing power and power is now international... The media is international, the issues are becoming international. So it seemed to me that we needed to use the web to start a discussion about how the world was governed. And out of those discussions the proposal to start Open Democracy came about." – Anthony Barnett, openDemocracy.net in conversation with CfP.


CfP In conversation with Anthony Barnett


Citizens for Peace
in collaboration with

Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry,

Gateway House and

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

organized a discussion on


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For a DVD of the entire discussion, kindly contact:
Updates  1, 2

The escalation of hostilities between Naxal/Maoist insurgents and government para-military forces has put millions of lives in deep peril. While the conflict seems to be in the hinterland it has grave implications for both rural and urban India, its democracy, society, security, economy and foreign policy.


The complexity of the issue means that no one entity – neither government, human rights groups, armed forces or business – can create a solution alone. A multi-stakeholder discussion, study and solution must be found.



PEACEWARDS : Reflections of the Rapporteur .......................... Day by Day | Participation | Photos

The Met department had delivered its warning. June 26, 2009, was to be one of the danger days that would flood Bombay and assault the legendary spirit of the ordinary Mumbaikar. Citizens for Peace (CfP) would have none of it.

St. Pius College, a little known campus in Goregaon, north Mumbai, was the favoured location. Participants were requested to bring along adequate protection against the rain and ubiquitous insects. A torch too, as an afterthought. Living with differences. Residing on campus with socially committed strangers through sheeting rain. It could go anywhere. Best to pack in an extra book.



Lecture February 2009

Professor Anthony Parel talks to CfP

A Gandhian scholar, Professor Anthony Parel offered a novel perspective on Gandhi's philosophy and its relevance to current political thinking. Slamming peace activists for terming Gandhi a pacifist, he stated that Gandhi believed in the concept of the nation state and the value that a nation state had to protect its boundaries. However, Gandhi may have been unable to offer answers in the realm of communalism. He urged young people to be firmly rooted in a political philosophy and believe that there is a Gandhi within each of us.

The audio interview to be uploaded soon.


Concert for Peace - January 2009

Citizens for Peace hosted a Peace Concert where Jagjit Singh presented some of his poignant renderings on January 27, 2009 at the Birla Matushri Auditorium, Mumbai. Beginning with the appropriate "Main na Hindu na Musalmaan, mujhe jeene do", he kept his audience enthralled with the melodious music and lyrics signifying that we are all one. Moving on to the more popular romantic and film songs, he performed his famous "Yeh daulat bhi le lo" and "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" to a captivated audience. While Jagjit Singh's voice kept the audience in a trance, the jugalbandhi of his accompanists on the tabla, flute, violin, electric guitar and dholak was what stole the show.

Read more about the show.


Lecture - January 2009

Professor Mahmood Mamdani Lecture "The World after 9/11", January 2009

CfP invited Prof. Mahmood Mamdani to give a talk on the theme of "The world after 9/11: Alternatives to the War on Terror". Prof Mamdani dwelt on the many questions and dilemmas about terrorism that dominate our times. He underlined the fact that while the issue of international terrorism had become primary, it was local conditions that created the situation for young people to engage in acts of terrorism. The meeting was followed by a lively discussion. Several people from the theatre and film world, including Sayeed Mirza, Shama Zaidi, Aziz Mirza, Jayant Kripalani, Govind Nihalani, Kundan Shah,Atul Tiwari etc. participated in the meeting. Jyrus Banaji posed interesting counterpoints to the discussion. The meeting was held at Anjum Rajaballi's residence.





Peace Meeting - August 2008

In response to the horrific bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, Citizens for Peace in collaboration with several other community groups and organisations organised a solemn protest on August 6th, 2008 at Patkar Hall, Mumbai.

Speaking for a nation collectively worn out by violence, Javed Akhtar recited Fasaad Ke Pehle and Fasaad Ke Baad, which though written several years ago were still relevant in these turbulent times. Shabana Azmi, played the role of the translator until the familiar verses overwhelmed her and she broke down.


Dr Anita Patil-Deshmukh sang Deh Mandir Chitta Mandir, by Vasant Bapat, where the poet sends a prayer for his homeland to be blessed in several ways. Reciting Tagore’s famous “where the mind is without fear,” Amin Sayani expressed his surprise at its similarity with Bapat’s poem. The children from the Happy Home for the Blind touched a chord with their beautiful renditions of a range of bhajans and peace songs. A special unscheduled appearance by Jammu based singer Seema Sehgal left the audience shaken and stunned. She sang two lines from Sardar Ali Jafri..”the war planner boasts that he can destroy everything under enemy territory within five minutes. I ask what of the sixth minute?”

Citizens also pledged their support to a Declaration, A Resolve against Terror, A Resolve for Peace demanding peace and justice.

Had Anhad: Journeys with Ram and Kabir - A film screening September 2008

Kabir is not only one of India’s greatest poets, but considered amongst the finest mystic poets in all world literature. In the current milieu of religious intolerance and terrorism Kabir’s irreverence for ritual, dogma and institutionalized religion resonated with the audience at a film screening organized by Citizens for Peace on September 7th in Mumbai. Citizens for Peace organised a small screening of select individuals who would be a in position to disseminate this film widely to the mainstream. The audience included Mr. Om Puri (Chairman, National Film Development Corporation) and Ms. Nina Lath Gupta ( MD, National Film Development Corporation), Jeroo Mulla ( Head of Sophia College, Social Communications Media) , Faroukh Waris, Principal of Bhurani College, organisers of Film Clubs, and development organisation representatives. Read more.

The Peace Mela 2007

On October 2nd, 2007, the Citizens for Peace / Times of India Peace Mela commemorated the declaration of Gandhi’s birth anniversary as the United Nations Day of Non-Violence. On October 2nd, the Horniman Circle and the steps of the Asiatic Society came alive with an artistic joy-fest to reaffirm the values of peace and non-violence. Read More. Dilip D'souza of Citizens for Peace describes the spirit and message of the event.


The Citizens For Peace-Indian Express Essay Competition

In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Citizens for Peace conducted an nation wide essay competition in collaboration with the Indian Express on the issue of peace and identity. At three separate awards functions, in Mumbai, the winners and their works formed the centre piece of the evenings with the winning entries being read by people like Om Puri, and Mini Mathur. Perspectives on the themes were shared by people like Vinod Dua, Dilip D’Souza, Tarun Vijay and Rajni Bakshi. At the Awards Function in 2006 the highlight was songs of peace sung by new and highly talented artists like Suresh Boire and Imad Shah. Read More.

Read the winning essays of 2005, 2006, 2007.

Read about the Awards function to celebrate the winners of 2007.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it your free copy of the booklets with the 2005, 2006 and 2007 winning entries.


The Multi-Faith Prayer Meeting

Following the Mumbai train blasts in 2006, CFP brought together religious leaders of all faiths for a collective prayer to honor those who lost their lives and those who were injured. The meeting was also dedicated to healing the wounds of the heart and seeking reconciliation. This meeting was attended by senior priests of six faiths: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism






Tiranga 2005

Tiranga, a celebration of our National Flag through music and poetry, was born out of a unique collaboration between the event management group Art and Artistes lead by the musician and actress Durga Jasraj and some of India’s legendary artistes like Javed Aktar, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Vidhwan U Srinivas, Vidhwan Vikku Vinanyakram, Selva Ganesh and Vijay Ghate.

A one and a half hour sound, light and audiovisual first-of-its-kind recital that included a documentary on the evolution of India’s National Flag containing rare footage from the period 1906-1947, it was first performed for President Abdul Kalam on 31st January 2003.

In 2005 to celebrate India’s Independence Day and mobilize crucial resources for Citizens for Peace’s efforts, Tiranga was brought to Mumbai for the first time. Our key partners were the Tata Group, HDFC, Mahindra and Mahindra, Airtel, Jet Airways, DNA and the Taj Group of Hotels.

Sanmarga 2005

On 22nd March 2006, Citizens for Peace presented the highly accomplished Bharatnatyam exponent Leela Samson’s stunning new presentation, Sanmarga, based on the Satyagraha movement. It was a breathtakingly fresh presentation of Bharatnatyam as well as a unique interpretation of Gandhi.

This was the first opportunity for Mumbaikars to see Sanmarga which paralleled Gandhiji’s experiments with truth to the dancer’s relation to space, using images and quotes from Gandhi’s life. Sanmarga was first performed to rave reviews at the University of Chicago on April 30, 2005.

This special and rare dance recital by Leela Samson and her students helped raise crucial funds for the activities of Citizens for Peace. Tata Sons was the key partner with media support coming from Midday and Go 92.5 F.M., both invaluable supporters of Citizens for Peace over the years.


Film Screenings

Citizens for Peace was actively involved in the screenings of two unique films that in very different ways expressed the futility of violence and the power of non-violence as a means of transformation and reconciliation.

On September 11th 2006, to mark the centenary of Satyagraha, we collaborated with the Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal to screen an American-made documentary, A Force More Powerful.

Citizens for Peace also sponsored the premiere of the moving feature film Parzania, set in Gujarat during the 2002 riots.


CfP's Perspective

Download CfP's booklet that provides a glimpse of our perspective and thoughts on the critical issues of peace and justice. Request your free copy.


Citizens for Peace in collaboration with Seagull publishes the

PEACE SERIES. Download a pdf copy.

Read the articles here

Request your free copy!