What would it take to build a truly dynamic plural and secular culture in 21st Century India?

Peace Talks is a platform for rigorous reflection and introspection – from a forward-looking perspective. The underlying premise of Peace Talks is that peace is not merely absence of physical violence but well-being based on justice, equity and respect for all.

Most Indians are familiar with the sharp, opposing and sometimes bitter, responses that the term ‘secularism’ evokes. Some people say that India is already a richly plural and secular country – and this heritage must simply be reaffirmed and protected. Others argue that ‘secularism’ has become a farce, a political ploy, which should now be either abandoned or redefined to ensure unity rather than diversity. The space between these extreme views is rife with powerful and conflicting emotions which, over the last two decades, have bitterly divided not only communities but families and friends within each community.

How do we address these realities in the wake of the Allahabad High Court's judgment on the Ayodhya dispute? The judgment has evoked sharp and differing reactions from within those who stand for secularism. Some feel that this judgment paves the way for the much needed reconciliation. But others believe that this path to reconciliation evades harsh truths and sets a questionable precedent. How does this impact the search for a truly plural and secular culture in the 21st Century?  

This session of Peace Talks was aimed at exploring the best ways of working for truth and reconciliation with Mr. K N Govindacharya, Mr. Yogendra Yadav and Mr. Zaffar Saifullah in conversation. 


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