Centre for Development Practice and Research, Patna is conducting the TISS-Takshila Lecture Series on Contemporary Challenges to India’s Democracy.
Date and time: Feb. 9, 2020 3:30PM – 5:00PM
Venue: Adhiveshan Bhawan, Harding Road, Old Secretariat Campus, Patna
Speaker: Prof. Ramchandra Guha, Eminent scholar, public intellectual and historian
One of the most striking descriptions of our current existence is that we live in a post-truth society where we are force-fed misinformation, rumours and unverified news and are subjected to a flurry of prejudiced opinions. At the same time, we experience curbing of freedom and shrinking of spaces for patient and reasonable dialogue. It is no wonder that political commentators all over the world are deeply perturbed by the trend of baseless demagoguery eclipsing the culture of tolerance and respect for different opinions.
As the ‘statesmen’ and a section of the media spread poison of bigotry and hatred, effecting tension and mistrust among different communities, the common people face novel techniques of state surveillance and sometimes excruciating brutality of force. The concentration of wealth among the creamiest one percent of the population is combined with the emergence of ‘popular’ leaders whose principal tactic is to exercise the arbitrariness of power through emotional appeals to the vulnerabilities and precariousness that their decisions have engendered.
Amidst the sad irony and the challenging scenario of an impending crisis, there are also instances which reinforce the strength of democracy. In the last one decade or so, we have encountered various moments of resistance to the attacks on free thinking, the spirit of equality and communal harmony, and dreams of a better future. We have also witnessed new awakenings which have kindled our imagination with original agendas, demands and concerns articulated in the most ingenious idioms of protest and self-expression.
Articulations of justice and democratic values are forcefully emerging with a fresh outlook to the existing problems and issues, whereas new platforms like the social media have emerged in the last few years as potent sites of putting up a struggle against the abuse of power. The youth today are much more vocal about the need for uprooting the vintage, conservative ideals which plague the society in these trying times.
The proposed lecture series will ponder over these moments of crises and emancipation in today’s world with a focus on the challenges of democratic environment in India.
With the projection of India as global superpower in the coming future, one is tempted to raise questions about the falling rate of national income, the rise in economic and social inequalities, the reluctance of the government to tend to the responsibilities of public welfare and the growth of intolerance and prejudice in the name of religion, ethnicity, caste, and political opinions. In a time when there is a massive drive for globalisation of capital, the increasing disenfranchisement of the poor looms large in the background as a constant reminder of the long road ahead. This lecture series strives to travel this road with a modest wish to strengthen the democratic values in this country.
The lecture series is jointly organised by TISS Patna Centre and Takshila Educational Society.
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