Sadbhav Mission’s  annual convention on July 12, 2008 at  College Park , Maryland attracted over 50 people from diverse  community organizations. It lauded nonviolence as a doctrine of mass struggle against oppression and slavery. – Ed.


Sadbhav Mission held its annual convention on July 12, 2008 at the University of Maryland, College Park , MD, USA .  Over 50 people representing diverse group of community organizations, such as the Aligarh Alumni Association of Metro Washington (AAA), Association for India’s Development (AID), Association of Indian Muslims (AIM), Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), and Young India (YI) participated in this meeting.


In his welcome speech, Dr. A. Abdullah said that nonviolence in the last century has emerged as a doctrine of mass struggle against oppression and slavery. It has potential to take on the present challenges as well. Prof. S.M. Bhagat said that each one of us has to realize the fact that all human beings are the children of one mother earth. All divisions are superficial and exploitative. The people in power often forget this and that needs to be opposed. He cited the arrest of Dr. Vinayak Sen, a renowned social activist doctor in tribal region, as a non-constitutional and anti-people act of the Chhatisgarh government. Mr. Atul Sharma spoke about the thought process that leads to sectarian biases. Citing the Gandhi’s last speech at the All India Congress Committee meeting, he said: the power of nonviolence lies in feeling the sufferings of others as ones own. Miss Sameera Syed said that opening ones eyes to realties surrounding you is the main crux of religion. In true spirit one can encompass the whole of humanity.


Mr. Rohit Tripathi presented a critical appraisal of current political scene in India. He said that the UPA government began with a very progressive common minimum program. They brought into effect the Right to Information Act and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. However, lately their positions on SEZ, Nuclear deal and other issues have caused major disappointments. They must not lose sensitivity towards the masses.  Mr. Anuj Tripathi presented a report on Sadbhav Mission Core Group Convention in Delhi. He said that the Mission has developed a constructive program that can develop the power of the people and resist communalism at the grassroots level. By intervening in the rural employment guarantee scheme in the villages of Lalitpur district it has helped the people cutting across communal lines. Professor V. K. Tripathi made a presentation on nonviolent resistance against communalism. He said that communal violence usually appears as a local act. However, all such sporadic acts have a strong correlation, a design executed by a well-knit network supported by the system. Nonviolent resistance against this evil must operate at two levels. At one level, it must reach out to the people to stand against oppression of their neighbors. At the second level, it must oppose the state policies or the partisan implementation of policies by the states. He mentioned the case of educational opportunities in Juhapura, Ahmedabad as a case for nonviolent action, which requires both types of efforts. He presented a report on Sadbhav Mission activities in last one year. The educational workshops carried by the Mission and the daily afterschool teaching provided to the violence victims of Panderwada for the last 4 years have been very heartening and successful exercises. These must be replicated in several parts of the country. He presented a detailed outline of activities to be pursued in the next one year.


Dr. Zafar Iqbal gave an account of activities carried on similar themes by other organizers in the DC area. Sameer and Shirin presented a report on the plight of about 500 Indian workers brought to USA under false promises by one businessperson. 


The convention had a heartening cultural program. Dr. Abdullah narrated in his sensitive voice two of his immortal nazms “saanp aur khazaana” and “Bus ke musafir”. Sameer and Shirin presented songs in solidarity with the masses. Mrs. Vidya Sharma presented a bhajan and a ghazal and V.K. Tripathi recited a ghazal in his melodious voice.


(Report by Vipin Tripathi sent by Zafar Iqbal, July 15, 2008)

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