Golden jubilee celebrations of ISI, Bangalore begin

July 18, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Golden jubilee celebrationsOn Friday, July 12th, 2013 Hon’ble Mr. Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das of the Karnataka High Court inaugurated the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Indian Social Institute, Bangalore (ISI-B) in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering.  In his inaugural speech, he congratulated and commended the Indian Social Institute for its tremendous work in spreading awareness to the various problems of the poor and marginalized. He lauded the efforts of the ISI-B to organize the marginalized towards action and social transformation.  Justice Das also suggested that the institution could lay greater emphasis on social litigation and legal resources.

Fr. Stan Lourduswamy sj, Dr. Duarte Baretto and Dr. Ms. Corrine Kumar reminisced their involvement in the early days of the Institute.  All three of them were former faculty and very close associates of the founding father – Fr. Henry Volken sj.  They shared how the social analysis programmes of the Institute had generated social sensitivity among people leading them to creative and even confrontational involvement with the marginalized.

Delivering the 7th Volken Memorial Lecture, noted Human Rights activist Ms. Teesta Setalvad held the crowd spell-bound with her brilliant analysis, perceptive insights and personal experiences on ‘A REPUBLIC’S DILEMMA: CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES VS. MAJORITARIANISM’.  Elucidating the machinations of majoritarianism and its all-pervasive influence in several sections of society, Ms. Setalvad warned of the consequences of such a growth and its ultimate impact on the pluralistic fabric of Indian society.  She argued that ‘a mature people need not fight shy of facing everyday realities and problems; to face them directly is the first step towards  finding a cure’

Those who fight today for justice and peace are belittled and victimized by those who think that India is about majoritarianism.  We all need to challenge regressive practices publicly. Instead of a rational discourse, many of us are comfortable with majoritarianism.  She observed that, “long before Governments are overtaken by majoritarian behavior, there is plenty of subtle preparation and infiltration of divisive ideas in the different levels of governance.  Politicians spew hate and venom in their speeches; text books are changed to suit a particular ideology and there are other types of manipulations which create the necessary environment for a communal riot. Each one of us should ask ourselves as to what kind of representatives we choose and as to why there are several elected members in Parliament and in our Assemblies with criminal backgrounds?” She challenged the audience, “to get involved and to take a stand for a society which is more just and equitable and based on the ideas and principles enshrined in our Constitution”.

A very lively and interactive Q & A session followed this brilliant and challenging lecture by Ms. Setalvad.

Dr. Fr. M.K. George sj, the Director of the ISI then thanked the record breaking audience for participating in the launch of the Golden Jubilee of ISI-B and for listening to Ms. Setalvad.

Fr. Edward  Mudavassery sj, the Jesuit Provincial of South Asia in his Presidential remarks called upon people from all walks of life to continue to join the ISI in its many initiatives for the transformation of society.

Earlier in the day as part of the Jubilee celebration, a National Consultation brought together several partners, staff, former directors and faculty of ISI to share their experiences of the past and their vision for the ISI of tomorrow.

– mk george

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