PASSES RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF TEESTA SETALVAD
: Ready to challenge the communal corporate culture : 14th National Conference of Jan Sanskriti Manch begins : Resolution passed in support of social activist Teesta Setalvad : New Delhi : “There is a tremendous contradiction between our society and our economy. The government says that our country is one among the fast growing economies, but facts show that inequalities have increased. Commercialization has hastened since 1991 in our country. Among the world’s billionaires India stands at number 4, but 40 crore people are below poverty line. A majority of people in the country are marginalized. The situation of education, health, environment is terrible.” Professor Arun Kumar said in his key note at the inaugural session of the 14th National Conference of Jan Sanskriti Manch in Delhi.
Prof. Arun Kumar said that Indian scholarship and modernity is derived in nature from the West. We have not tried to search for answers to our peculiar problems. As a result, people who were in the margins have become more marginalized. After 1991, he said, changes in the economy have changed the nature of every institution. Earlier the responsibility of an individual was on the state and society but after the dominance of the market, each individual is left to themselves to solve their own troubles. The market looks at individuals only as economic beings and consumers. Market has no moral concerns. It is advancing techniques while leaving behind society. The social transformation that should accompany technology is ignored by the market.
The chief guest at the inaugural session, poet-scientist Laltu said that stretching too far backwards in history to develop the Indian identity prevents an understanding of why a large section of our society remain on the margins of society. He said one has to look at the exploitative contradictions of Indian society that left dalits and women out of the cultural processes.
Laltu said that cultural organizations must seriously consider the question of language and disappearance of people’s control over them. He said that scientific traditions in the country have also suffered because people’s language of expressions built on local contexts have been wiped out. He argued that while rationality is important to introduce change, emotional associations also play an important role.
Ali Jawed, General Secretary, of Progressive Writer’s Association said in his solidarity message that Hindutava Talibanisation is increasingly visible in our public sphere, but many organizations that claim to be secular have not acted enough to protest. He said that the struggle against fascist designs of the Sangh Parivar can be paved only through a socialist revolution.
Murli Manohar Prasad Singh, National General Secretary of Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, said that the country is in the grip of international finance capital, corporate houses and RSS. He said that though there were contradictions in our National movement, it was still anti-imperialist in nature. The communal fascists are murdering even these values. He said Jan Sanskriti Manch had shown how various spheres of science, philosophy, art and culture could be brought together in the work of an organization. This has also shown the way other cultural organizations must work.
Karamsheel Bharati, of Dalit Lekhak Sangh, said that the socio-economic survey has exposed the lie of this country being a super power in the making. No country can grow with this kind of poverty and marginalization of its people. He said that the government cannot run away from the responsibility towards the poor of the country. India can only rise, if it rises against casteism and religious discrimination.
The inaugural session was chaired by Prof. Manager Pandey who said Indian society is under five kinds of dominance-state, corporate, caste, religious and patriarchal dominance. They are unwilling to face any kind of disagreement and opposition. While they talk of democracy, these ruling forces have completely destroyed its presence wherever they could exercise their power. Prof. Pandey said we must undertake struggle against each of this dominance for freedom and equality to truly exist.
The inaugural session was conducted by Radhika Menon. Renowned painter, Ashok Bhowmik, welcomed the delegates and guests. A resolution was passed against the vindictive conspiracies being launched against social activist Teesta Setalvad, who has courageously fought for the legal rights of Gujarat 2002 riots. Hirawal, theatre troupe from Patna, presented musical compositions of poet Shamsher and Gorakh Pandey. A multi media performance on progressive writers, ‘Asman hilta hai jab hum gaate hain’ by Saman Habib and Sanjay Mutto, highlighted the composite culture of India’s progressive culture.
Paintings by artist Anupam Roy were displayed in the hall. Posters of people from progressive cultural traditions in the country were displayed outside the Nabarun Bhattacharya Hall (Hindi Bhawan).
The delegate session of Jan Sanskriti Manch(JSM), also started on the same day. Addressing the session, Pranay Krishna, General Secretary JSM, appealed that delegates must become the spirit of peasant’s movement. Those who are working in villages must take on the task of village libraries. Ashok Bhowmik said that in 30 years JSM has felt that discussion and debate on various forms of cultural work must be undertaken so that they could become more effective. On the first day papers were read by Rajesh Kumar, Ashok Bhowmik, Manoj Kumar singh, Sanjay Kak, and Radhika Menon on Theatre, Art, Media, Cinema and Education. The sessions were conducted by Manoj Singh, Rakesh Diwakar, Himanshu Pandya. Discussants included Deepak Sinha, Jitender Kumar, Pankaj Srivastava, Ashok Chaudhary, Suresh Kantak, KK Pandey, Nirmal Nayan, Rajkumar, Sudhir Suman, Kasturi, Nakul Sahni, Mohammed Ghani, Surya Shankar Dash and DS Negi.
The delegate session was held at Gandhi Peace Foundation. The walls of the hall were decorated with the posters made by Sambhawna Kala Manch on poetry of Shamsher, Gorakh Pandey, Vijender Anil and others. Samkaleen Janmat put up a book stall.
On the second day, 1 August, sessions were slotted on people’s language, poetry, story, and identity discourse. Papers were presented by Balbhadra, Bajrang Bihari Tiwari, Shobha Singh, Kailash Vanvasi. Discussants included Brajesh Yadav, Pankaj Chaturvedi, Mrityunjay, Anupam Singh, Yogendra Ahuja, Ramayan, Martand Praglap, Sessions were conducted by Xavier Kunjoor, Ranjeet Verma, Ramnaresh Ram and Mritunjay. The delegate session also selected a new national council and executive. Rajendra Kumar, was elected President of JSM and Pranay Krishna continues as the General Secretary. The cultural activists and artists expressed their commitment to work against the culture of loot, lies and divisive hatred for a culture of resistance.