Coinciding with the moment when the entire attention of the
country is on Ayodhya verdict to be declared later in the week and
to counter the image of Ram portrayed by the Hindutva brigade, All India
Secular Forum (AISF) in its second convention held in Pune has
decided to hold a three-day festival on the Ram described and
propagated by renowned Saint, Kabir Daas.
"The Ram of Saint Kabir is totally
opposite to that portrayed by the Hindutva Forces in the country",
Dr. Ram Puniyani said while addressing the second day of the All
India Secular Forum's state level convention September 25.
"The Ram of Saint Kabir is for
peace, harmony, justice and equality. What the Saffron
Brigade is doing in the name of Ram is totally different", he
"We cannot expect from these forces
to highlight the values for which Ram stood for. For, it doesn't
fit their political agenda, which is based on hatred, inequality
and injustice", Dr. Ram added while explaining the reasons to organise
The festival that would be held in
Mumbai from January 21-23 will target the students besides the
general masses. A similar kind of festival was earlier organized
in Pune by Rakesh Ganguly.
lies in secularism'
Echoing the same lines, Bishop
Thomas Dabre, who heads the 35 Churches in Pune district, while
addressing the last day of the convention, said that the mindset of
the Indian masses is actually secular and they stand for peace and
"The vast majority of the Indians is
secular and peace-loving, and has a strong belief in secular
values", he said.
Recalling how he was honoured by a
Muslim family after he decided to become a Priest, the Bishop said, "The
first reception given to me immediately after I decided to become
a Christian Priest was by the father of my classmate who was a
Muslim. The incident itself is an indication of how the people in
this country think and work."
"However", he added, "One cannot
ignore the fact that there are certainly the people - though in a
very small number, who are always up in arms against these secular
values and try to disrupt peace and create enmity between the
All India Secular Forum (AISF) is
working for communal harmony and has a
presence in 12 states. Its first Maharashtra convention was held
in Nagpur in March 2009. The two day second seminar held in Pune
is coordinated by Neha Debhadeof Institute for Peace Studies and
Conflict Resolution (IPSCR).