March 15, 2016

[Announcement] Public Symposium: The Assault on Thought (20 March 2016, New Delhi)

Public Symposium: The Assault on Thought
20 March, 3 pm, Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India
Rafi Marg, New Delhi-110001

The attempt on the part of the BJP-led government, the front organizations of that party, and the various Hindutva outfits that constitute its parivar, to dub students and teachers of some of India’s most outstanding creative and educational institutions as “anti-national”, constitutes a veritable assault on thought. Their idea is to promote a metaphysical concept of “nationalism” which is elevated above the people, is unconcerned with the people’s welfare, and whose definition can be adjusted at will, so that all opponents of the project of a Hindu Rashtra can be denounced as “anti-national”.

This “nationalism” is the very opposite of the inclusive, democratic, secular and egalitarian “nationalism” of India’s anti-colonial struggle, and is pro-corporate and pro-finance capital to the core. But it is being deceptively projected as being synonymous with the latter. The object of this deception is to beat down all independent thinking and to facilitate the subversion of the Constitution.

What we are witnessing is not some localized struggles relating to particular universities and institutions, but an attempt to shift fundamentally the nature of India’s intellectual, social and political life in a direction contrary to what our freedom movement had promised. It is essential to fight against this assault on thought and the insidious attempt to use the epithet “anti-national” against the opponents of the corporate-backed Hindutva project.

To discuss these issues a public symposium is being organized on March 20 at 3 p.m. in the Deputy Speaker’s Hall in the Constitution Club.