This article deals with a novel initiative by women of India to defend and promote secularism.


While we see the world around us divided on class, caste, race, community lines, we also see an urge to see a  more peaceful and inclusive world. And this urge is growing by the minute as more and more people want to  have their voices heard – voices of sanity, harmony and peaceful co-existence. ‘Women For Secularism’ was  formed precisely to give women of this country a forum to reassert their rights as a free and independent citizen  for a more inclusive, plural and peaceful India. We believe it is time for women to take proactive steps and  initiate actions to counter the growing influence of divisive forces.   


Under the leadership of women, this Forum seeks to mobilize women for bringing visibility to the secular values  enshrined in the Constitution of the country. It strongly believes that secular values must be promoted at all  levels of our public and private lives. We believe that our strength as a nation lies in our multi cultural and plural  existence and this must be protected and promoted through harnessing the potential of vast numbers of already  organized women leadership at the grassroots level including those from poor, marginalized, stigmatized  backgrounds through out the country.  The Forum wants to (show) demonstrate to the world that it is possible to  live harmoniously in a society that has enormous religious, linguistic, cultural and social diversity. And we want  to encourage and celebrate this pluralism. The Forum also believes in the inherent dignity of all human beings  and seeks to condemn all forms of discrimination based on religion, caste, class and gender.  


The Forum being managed by women will strive to promote women’s rights in all spheres and will seek to reach  out to a wider and varied section of our society to promulgate the vision of the Forum.   Thus the vision and objectives of the Forum are:


            To organize and mobilize women to reiterate and reinforce the importance of secular values for a  harmonious coexistence. 


            To create pressure groups to condemn acts of violence and exclusion and to propagate actions and  initiatives to promote peace and inclusion. 


            To reaffirm secular values and multiculturalism for maintaining and strengthening democratic values  based on respect for human rights. 


            To encourage, facilitate and establish similar networks/coalition of women to promote secular values,  religious tolerance, democracy and human rights and accelerate women’s participation in secular  movements striving for equality and justice. 


            To counter violence on women and to contribute to the efforts for gender justice 


            To consistently raise our voices against fundamentalism and communalism and to initiate action against  all forms of discrimination. 


            To expose the consistent abuse of religion, tradition, national and cultural heritage by vested interest  and to gain legitimacy and political power.   WE, the women of this country invite everyone to join the forum to help us all live in dignity and peace.  


It is our fundamental conviction that women can play very important role in promoting secularism and secular  values in our country which is coming increasingly under the influence of communal forces. We met in Mumbai  for a day on 7th February under the aegis of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and decided to launch a  forum “Women for Secularism”. A committee was formed to draft vision statement for this forum. We are  forwarding this vision statement on this Women’s Day which we think is appropriate day to launch this forum.   We are forwarding this statement to you with the hope that you will join us in our endeavors and help spread the  message of this forum. Let’s make efforts to bring more and more women into this forum to put a check on  communal forces and as peace lovers allow a hundred thoughts to contend, and allow a thousand flowers to  bloom.  Kindly do join us and we are sure together we will be able to fight this hydra- headed menace  


Yours sincerely, 


Ms. Anuradha  (Aman Vedika) and Ms. Noorjehan (BMMA),


(Co-convenors; Women for Secularism C/O. 


Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Mumbai.


E-mail: csss@mtnl.net.in;


Ph: 022-26149668   

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