Ladies Study Group proudly hosted eminent Indian political leader Mr. P. Chidambaram, MP Rajya Sabha, Former Union Minister of Finance. Sharing the dais was Mr. Pavan K. Varma, National General Secretary, and National Spokesperson of Janata Dal. Ms. Jyoti Malhotra, Senior Journalist, NDTV moderated the event.
Chidambaram being so candid, transparent and most importantly, engaging with the audience stated we should no longer tolerate an intolerance which undermines democracy and allows a culture of impunity and tormentors. “I am glad that Bengal is withstanding the onslaught of the saffron brigade. I applaud the leader of the Trinamul for standing up to the authoritarian, illiberal regime,” said Chidambaram. He further went on to say that he found it worrying that the spectre of “Hindu-Hindi hegemony” loomed large on the citizens of India. He was brutally honest in stating that the Congress Party did not portray as a strong opposition, emphasizing the need for a structured organisation starting from the grass root level.
Varma stated Indian politics is in the sea of fear: Both right wing and ‘secular’ parties have unleashed a vicious cycle of extremism. If India is to survive as a nation, the time has come for such insanity to stop. Indian politics badly needs a return to balance and statesmanship. Inclusion not exclusion, and hope not fear needs to guide our political class. If politicians do not understand this, the only hope is that, ultimately, the people of India will.
The speakers agreed ordinary Indians want good governance, jobs and economic development, an end to endemic social instability, and peace and security in their lives. If given a chance they will, beyond the machinations of clever politicians, vote in the long run for someone who promises these ends, and not for those who only use them as cannon fodder to win elections. Secularism will then not be the ‘slippery slope’ but a firm foundation for a mature and truly democratic republic.
Chidambaram said seven million persons of Kashmir valley felt alienated by the oppressive methods of the Indian government, which was a “terrible” mistake. The statement of Chief of Army Staff that anyone who interfered with defense operations would be treated as anti-national was the last straw.
Varma voiced a multi-pronged initiative, meticulously planned and uncompromisingly implemented, is the crying need of the hour for the issue of Kashmir.
India is culturally diverse & pluralistic society! There’s unity in diversity.