Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Indian Social Forum meet draws diverse participants
NEW DELHI: An estimated 60,000 people from Asian countries, including India, and Africa representing diverse movements, cultural outfits and organisations are expected at the Indian Social Forum beginning on Thursday that will address crucial issues including new liberal globalisation, militarism and hegemony.
The five-day extravaganza will see innumerable conferences, workshops, seminars, youth and children's events, street theatre, films and exhibitions aimed at showcasing a wide spectrum of social and political movements.
"This time around social movements across the country and the world will have a platform to forge alliances and furthermore it will be widespread and inclusive by allowing space for workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, Dalits, women, hawkers, students, academicians, artists and the media," Ayesha Kidwai, Indian Social Forum (ISF) coordinator said.
"Cultural events will add a special dimension to the ISF, where artistes from diverse backgrounds would get a focal meeting place to express and endorse the World Social Forum (WSF) concerns," she added.
This edition will be the third event to be organised by WSF-India after the Asian Social Forum in Hyderabad in January 2003 and the World Social Forum in Mumbai in January 2004.
The WSF process in India has in the last four years been successful in bringing together different political and social streams on a common platform to oppose the onslaught of imperialist globalisation.
The theme of this year's conference will be 'Building another world; Visions for the future' that will focus on engendering dialogue and optimism by creating a space that will enable a greater mobilisation of resources for an alternative future.
Some of the topics to be discussed will be politics of environment and development, faces and vision of children, war, occupation and conflict, democracy in South Asia, minority rights, neo-liberalism, globalisation and displacement and migration, censorship, youth affairs, caste and discrimination, women and work and labour.
Hundreds of conferences, seminars and workshops are expected to take place during the event. The ISF's opening plenary kicks off with a panel of all-women speakers that is meant to be a political statement in favour of women's empowerment.
Those expected to speak are Indian activists Medha Patkar, Ruth Manorama and Subhashini Ali as well as Aileen Kuttab from Palestine. There will also be Rasheeda Bi, a woman survivor-activist of the Bhopal gas tragedy.