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    Hindu Rashtra, Cow and Muslims

     Secular Perspective,  March 16-31, 2015


Upper caste Hindus and Hindu Nationalist Organisations have had ambiguous attitude toward cow as an animal and as a symbol of Hindu Rashtra oscillating between reverence and irreverence. It is only lately that Hindu Nationalists have settled for projecting cow as a sacred symbol – not because cow is considered as sacred in wonderfully diverse and plural religio-philosophical texts of Sanatan Dharma but because it is a good tool to mobilize Hindus around and to project Muslims as binary opposite – process of “othering” them. For Muslims are not only not forbidden to eat cow, a section of them are also involved in the slaughtering industry and cattle trade. Muslim rulers and religious leaders too had ambiguous attitude towards the animal – at times forbidding slaughtering of cow in spirit of living together with Hindus and at times asserting their cultural rights and signify their separateness.  Read Full article>>



Marathon for Peace and Communal Harmony

There is no way to peace, peace is the way”. This famous inspirational quote by Gandhi propelled into action youth in Mumbai in the form of organizing and running a ‘Peaceathon’. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) and SIES College, Mumbai collectively organized ‘Peaceathon’, a marathon for peace and communal harmony on 22nd February, 2015. The objective of this peaceathon was to highlight diversity and appreciate peace and harmony in society. Youth who as rightly pointed out are a pillar for sustainable peace and thus it becomes so essential to tap their strength and resourcefulness in the cause of peace. About 40-50 SIES College NCC youth worked for more than three weeks to make Peaceathon success. They designed the posters and the peace messages, mobilized other participants, arranged for hydration and refreshments for the participants and designed the T-Shirts with punch line “Peacemaking is not a sprint – it is more of a marathon Read full report>>>

Report of Session on Rights of Minorities’ in South Asia

Peoples’ SAARC Regional Convergence

24th November, 2014

Kathmandu, Nepal


Centre for Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai had organized a session during the PSAARC regional convergence on 24th November, 2014. The session was called Rights of Minorities in South Asia. The primarily objectives of this session were to understand the nature of violation of rights of minorities in South Asia and create a strong network of organizations across South Asia to consolidate existing or establish new mechanisms to address such violations. The process to draft a charter on rights of minorities in South Asia was to be initiated during this session. Approximately 40 participants from countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh attended the session. The session started with a brief introduction of all the participants present. Then Adv. Irfan Engineer, Director of CSSS briefly outlined the purpose of the meeting. He contextualized the discourse of rights of minorities in South Asia by it tracing the consciousness of minorities in South Asia to the colonial times where the colonial rulers forced and induced migration of huge populations for cheap labour which would work to their benefit. However this migration changed boundaries and political systems.  Read full report>>>

Report of the National Consultation on Workers’ movement and communalism

A national consultation on workers’ movement and communalism was organized by Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai on 18th October, 2014 in Mumbai. The primarily aim for organizing this consultation was to take stock of the communal politics that is so largely prevalent and its impact on the trade union movement. After preparatory meetings and discussions attended by comrades like Praveen Nadkar, Sukumar Damle, Vasudevan, A Golandas and others who showed keen interest in such a consultation, the consultation was designed. 45 comrades associated with different trade unions in Mumbai and UP participated in the consultation. Read full report>>>

Minority women’s workshop in Ahmedabad


A minority women’s workshop was organized by CSSS, Mumbai in collaboration with Safar, Ahmedabad to train women activists working on the issues relating to Muslim women in Gujarat. The workshop was conducted on 13th and 14th August, 2014 and around 50 participants participated from different parts of the state. The participants came from minority, Dalits and Hindu communities and across all age groups. The sessions were planned around the rights of Muslim women in Quran, identity of Muslim women today, violence against them and its impact, their rights under the Constitution and state schemes or policies for minorities. The workshop was very rich in its interactions and overwhelming when the participants shared their experiences of living in lawlessness under oppression. 

Maulana Shoaib Koti had a brain storming session on the rights of Muslim women under the Quran when he asserted the rights women have in regard to their mobility, triple talaq, mehr, iddat, polygamy practiced by men. The participants participated with lot of enthusiasm and asked openly all their doubts. Next Adv. Irfan Engineer in a very interactive session dealt with the topic of the identity of Muslim women in international context and made the participants reflect on all the stereotypes that taint the picture and identity of Muslim women and how due to various factors they are strengthened and internalized. Janisar explained in all essential details and from his rich and hands on experience, the intricacies of the schemes like pre-matric and post-matric scholarships that the minorities can avail of. He pointed out the opportunities and problems in these schemes. Dr. Mehrunissa Desai illustrated how Muslim women face violence and how awareness, economic independence, education and organization are key to their empowerment. Adv. Sophia Khan spelled out the rights of women under various laws which can protect them in marriage or maintenance. 

The feedback for this workshop was very positive with the participants wanting a holistic and comprehensive study material spelling out accurately the rights of women under the Quran. They also thought that such workshops must be organized where men and Maulanas participated as participants. And such workshop must take place more often. Thus the future plan was chalked out where such workshop will take place again next year with meticulous study material on Quran.


Centre for Study of Society and Secularism organized an ‘Eid Milan’ at Tholiya Bhawan, Santa Cruz East, Mumbai on August1, 2014. Attended by around 30 people associated with the CSSS family, the Milan became an opportunity for people to come together and share and discuss various ideas. One of the highlights of the Milan was a short, informal speech by Maulana Shoaib Koti who spoke of the meaning and spirit of the ‘Roza’ (fasting observed by Muslims in the month of Ramzan). In a society laden with all kinds of religious stereotyping, Maulana’s words addressed to a diverse and plural audience were extremely important and meaningful.

The Milan also became an opportunity to inform and update everyone about the Centre’s ongoing work and activities. Interesting ideas, feedback and suggestions were brought to the table. The Eid Milan gave people a chance to not only come together and relish each other’s company and conversations but also share with each other ideas on how to deal with challenging times that lie ahead.

Seminar on "What sets the 2014 Elections apart: Understanding the Mandate and Electoral Patterns"

Centre for Study of Society and Secularism organized a seminar to analyze the outcome of the general elections for the 16th Lok Sabha and to understand its implications. The seminar took place at the Economic department of the Mumbai University on 14th June, 2014. The elections gave a thumping majority to the ruling party and its imperative to understand this mandate of people. It’s a matter of concern that communal violence in Godra, Gujarat took place on a large scale claiming numerous lives and property of innocent Muslims under the rule of the same party. The Gujarat government had come under the scanner of global community and international organizations for human rights violation.  Read full report>>>

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Lecture on “Meaning, Metaphor and Martyrdom in Colonial India”

On the 1st anniversary of Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer’s demise the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and Dr.Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Committee organised a lecture on “Meaning, Metaphor and Martyrdom in Colonial India” by Prof. Mushirul Hasan, former Vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University on 14th May 2014 at India International Centre, New Delhi. Mr. Vinod Mehta, Editorial Chairman of the Outlook was chaired the programme click here for more >>

National Seminar on

'Challenges to Secularism in India and the role of civil society'

India stood at the brink of a very important historic moment with the culmination of 16thLokSabha elections. One of the most important issues flagged by the numerous debates on the issue of elections was what these elections meant for the state of Indian secularism. This issue was highlighted even more as the fear of Hindu-right wing political forces coming to power grew in the minds of the secular ranks of society. Read full report>>


The ‘Training of Trainers’ (ToT) programme is an important part of the range of activities that  CSSS organizes. The ToT is primarily meant to enhance the understanding of individuals, the youth in particular around issues of secularism, democracy and communal harmony and allows various perspectives to interact with one another. The ToT at Mount Abu organized on April 27 and 28, 2014 was on the topic ‘Dalit Movement in India and Communalism’ and was in continuation with a series of ToTs that the Centre plans on holding. The previous in the series was on Women’s Movement in India and the challenge of communalism' in the month of November. The series of course has many more to come. Read full report>>

Training Camp for Youth on Peace and Social Harmony

CSSS organised a training Camp for Youth on Peace and Communal Harmony in Kuchchh , Gujarat in collaboration with Sneh Samudaya. on 11th and 12th March 2014.

Rationale of the Training Camp: The training session was conducted for sensitisation of the youth to the issues of Peace and communal harmony and to make them committed activists with a resolve to work for peaceful coexistence. The important aim of the workshop is to motivate and create a cadre of youth working for peace in the country. Read full report

National communal harmony award for CSSS

The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, has been selected for the National Communal HarmonyAward 2013 in the organisation category. Mohinder Singh of Delhi and N Radhakrishnan of Kerala have been selected for the award in the individual category.



CSSS organised a Cultural Event for celebrating  20-years of its service of justice, peace and harmony on 1st February 2014 at Amphitheatre, Rachna Sansad, 278, Shankar Ghanekar Marg, Behind Siddhi Vinayak Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai:- 400025.


Workshop for Police on Peace and Communal Harmony

The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism organised a one-day workshop on 1st December 2013 in collaboration with the Police Department, Varanasi on the role of Police in Peace and Communal Harmony. The workshop dealt with the various steps that the Police could adopt in establishing Peace and Harmony. The main challenge before the Police lies in putting down communal violence without bias and winning the confidence of the warring communities. The Police are blamed from time to time about their biased attitude, especially towards the minorities.Read Full report




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