THE environment of politics and culture is undergoing a major transformation in Indian society and its impact is reflected in Puducherry also. The minorities, the downtrodden and the working classes are continuously being threatened and getting affected. In this context, a Forum for Social Harmony-Puducherry for uniting all the progressive mass organisations, trade unions, Confederation of government employees associations, civil society organisations, was launched in Puducherry.
As a first step, the Forum organised a special seminar in July on ‘Challenges to Social Harmony’. It was inaugurated by Justice Thiru David Annousamy and a special addresses was delivered by writer Prapanjan who said that Indian society is a multi-faceted one and that the Tamil society had always followed a secular path.
In the Seminar, Dr Vasanthidevi, former vice chancellor of MS University talked on ‘Pedagogy and Social Justice’. She said that the history of India is not of Hinduism and that calculated measures are being taken by the central government to “saffronise” education and history lessons are being re-written to inject communalism into young minds. Prof Panchangam spoke on ‘Linguistic based impositions’ and said that imposition of any one language in India where many official languages exist is unacceptable. Thiru Madhukoor Ramalingam spoke on ‘Food choices and Rights’. He said when the farmers of our country and agriculture are in deep crisis, the government is not ready to address those issues and instead is taking up issues like banning beef which is eaten by the majority of people across the country.
K Balakrishnan, Central Committee member of CPI(M), Lakshminarayan, ex minister and Congress MLA, apart from CPI(M) district office bearers also participated. The seminar was well attended and the response was good.
A human chain was organised on August 15, for social harmony. It brought together all progressive people and movements in Puducherry. For mobilising people for the human chain, a kala jatha was launched on August 12 which was flagged off by Lenin Thangappa, Sahitya Academy Award winner. The kala jatha travelled and performed skits and songs highlighting the current negative political trends endangering social harmony and secular fabric of the country. It called on the people to unite against the communal actions of the central government. The kala jatha toured and performed in about 20 centres covering both rural areas as well as the town.
On August 15, a two kilometre long human chain was formed with more than 2000 people joining hands. A signature campaign on a long colourful banner was also held as part of the human chain.
The Forum for Social Harmony, Puducherry also brought out a news bulletin and a small booklet covering the issues related to communal harmony, which was well received. The entire campaign was coordinated by CH Balamohanan, Confederation of Government Employees Associations, S Ramachandran, Progressive Writers’ Artists’ Association, J Krishnamurthy, Save Education Campaign-Puducherry and N Kolanjiyappan, BSNL Employees’ Union.