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    The Hate “Foreigner” Jihad of Hindu Nationalist Organisations

     Secular Perspective,  September 1 to 30, 2014


There is an interesting pattern in which the Hindu Nationalist Organisations (HNOs) exploit a non-issue to stigmatize communities which were declared by them as “foreigners”. V D Savarkar wrote in his tract on Hindutva, “Nothing can weld peoples into a nation and nations into a state as the pressure of a common foe. Hatred separates as well as unites.” Savarkar located the common foe in Muslims and Christians whose holy lands were outside Sindhustan, or land running from Indus to Arabian Sea. The Hindu Nationalist Organisations have since invested their concerns in constructing a common foe, more imaginary than real and more mythological than historical. First they focused exclusively on Muslims; however, after NDA came to power in 1998, they started stigmatizing Christians in their public discourse for converting Hindus.

The HNOs have a peculiar way of taking up issues that stigmatize the communities they believe are foreigners. First, they are indoctrinated in the training programmes for their high level officers. The officers so trained then take up the issue at the local level grossly exaggerating the threat and magnitude of the issue and even creating one. The issue is spoken about regularly till some individuals start perceiving the threat to be real and critical, and develop negative attitude towards the community. When the individuals who develop negative attitude towards the community grow into a critical mass, they are mobilized for a violent action targeting the imagined “enemy” community. Violence generates media coverage and curiosity on the issue among the people and the trained officer of the HNO has an opportunity to popularize the disinformation on the issue and polarize the communities. Read Full article>>


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



India is a secular democracy. Taking the latter aspect first, a democracy, by definition, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Thus, a democratic government should not only work for the people, but also seem to be working for the people. Here ‘people’ means all the citizens of a given country, irrespective of their majority-minority status or their ethnicity, religion, caste, creed etc. Similarly, a secular government is expected to maintain equidistant from all religions. But, although Indian Constitution describes India as Secular, what type of secularism is practiced by India has remained a debatable point.

Indian society is multi-religious; the major one being Hinduism. The Government of India has recognised, in the follow up to the Sachar Committee, five minorities viz., Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Parsi and Buddhists, for extending benefits under the 15-Point Programme. There are scores of other minorities, both religious and linguistic. Read Full report


Centre for Study of Society and Secularism organized a workshop for Ulemas on ‘Challenges before the Muslim Community’ on 26th August 2013 at Tholiya Bhavan, Santacruz (E), Mumbai. There were 35 participants from difference Madrasas like Shivree, Chembur, Byculla, Bindibazar etc.

The workshop started with Dr. Vasundhara Mohan, Associate Director of the Centre welcoming the participants and she also told the importance of this workshop and it is a platform to discuss the issues and problems facing the Muslim community. Read Full report>>

Community workshop on Monitoring Government Schemes for Minorities and Role of NGOs

Date: 26th June 2013, Venue: Asha Kiran, St. Pius College Campus, Goregoan (E), Mumbai

The Purpose

The government has created a number of schemes for the minority community in the field of education and employment. Number of schemes like the scholarship, opening of more number of schools, employments in rural areas, sanctioning of loans to start small business. But the implementation part was not sincere. Many Muslims did not get any benefit out of these schemes. Therefore Centre for Study of Society and Secularism decided to conduct the community workshop to enlighten the members of the various schemes and to know the problems that the minority community was facing while applying for these schemes. Read full report>>

Understanding and Dealing with Communalism

An Orientation Workshop for Hyderabad City Police Officers


Hyderabad City Police in association with Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Mumbai and COVA, Hyderabad organized an Orientation Workshop for Police Officers of Hyderabad city on 5th June 2013 at Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad.  The Theme of the workshop was Understanding and Dealing with Communalism.


Koshish Theatre Group of COVA performed a play “Sabse Sasta Gosht” on communal harmony. Read full report>>



The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai organised a workshop-cum-training Camp for Youth on their role in Peace and Communal Harmony, in collaboration with the Kashi Vidyapeeth and Centre for Harmony and Peace Varanasi, on 19-21 March 2013 at Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh). There were 63 participants. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Prithvish Nag, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Krishi Vidyapeeth. Addressing the participants, Dr. Nag said that it is necessary to remove economic imbalances in the society if communal harmony were to be established.  It is essential to create a feeling of goodwill towards all religions in the minds of people, especially the youth, in order to abolish parochialism. Today most youth entertain an unbiased attitude. If only under an impartial system of good governance they are identified as partners, the idea of communal harmony will become strong in the country.  At present the country’s system is based on brotherly relations and goodwill. It is necessary to maintain the same and youth can play a major role in maintaining such goodwill. Read full report>>




Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and Montfort Integrated Education Centre are jointly conducted two day workshop for youth  on the topic of “Peace, Communal Harmony and Conflict Resolution” at MIEC on 21st and 22nd February 2013.The programme was started at 9.30 AM with the inaugural session. Brother Mathew K. Alexander, Director of MIEC Nagpur welcomed the dignitaries.  The resource persons were Swami John Sachidanada, Adv. Irfan Engineer, Prof. Ram Puniyani, Mr.Sarathchandran and Brother Mathew Alexander. There were 90 youth nearby Nagpur and other places of Maharashtra State participated. Read Full Report>>

Community Workshop on`

Role of Women in Conflict Resolution and Communal Harmony

The role of women in conflict resolution has been debated intensively in recent times.  Women have always been peace seekers and it is evident that if women had the power of decision making, then they would opt out of war.  A community workshop to motivate women to be change agents was conducted at Muthsandra village of Hoskote Taluk in Bangalore District by Centre for study of Society and Secularism in collaboration with Indian Social Institute – Bangalore on 8th February 2013. 

Muthsandra village, in Hoskote Taluk is a small village consisting of 140 families.  Most of the families are dependent on Agriculture.  The women rear cattle.  The Women in the village have formed themselves into self help groups and are active in resolving local issues in unity. Read Full Report

Workshop on Capacity Building and Empowerment of Women

A 2-day workshop on Capacity Building and Empowerment of Women was organised n 24-25 December 2012 by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai jointly with Gandhian Institute of Studies (Trust) at Blooming Birds English School, Sitara Bahadurganj, Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. Local women, teachers, social activists and students participated in the workshop. A number of men also participated in the workshop. On 24 December, Mrs. Nasim Khan, Director of the school introduced the experts to the participants. One of the students, Miss Shama Parveen rendered a prayer song. Read full report>>



A 2-day workshop on the relevance Gandhian Philosophy on Peace and Communal Harmony was organised by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai in collaboration with SVKM’s College of Law at the Seminar Room of Mithibai College (Main Campus), Ville Parle, Mumbai on 1 and 2 October 2012. The workshop was supported by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Government of India, New Delhi Read full report>>


Awareness CREATION and Sensitization OF ULAMA

13th to 14th June 2012, LUCKNOW


The Muslim Clergy, Mullahs and Moulavis, are often blamed for the backwardness of the Muslim community. It is held that not all the Mullahs and Moulavis are well-versed in the religious aspects of Islam. However, there is nothing to restrain them from issuing fatwas on all and sundry matters, without realising the adverse impact that such fatwas may have on the persons/families seeking religious guidance. Not all the problems of the modern times have answers in the Qur'an and Hadith. It is for the Muslim Clergy issuing fatwas to consider the issues carefully before handing out their opinions on a given matter. The challenges before the Muslim community are not only numerous but also varied. The community is in need of a proper guidance so that it does not find itself mired in further complications by heeding to fatwas that are not well thought of. The main purpose was, therefore, to invite discussions of the socio-economic issues than delve into religious issues. Read full report

Workshop on Sensitisation of Police Force.

The CSSS organised a 1-day workshop on ‘Sensitisation of Police Force towards the weaker sections, minorities and women during instances of violence or communal disturbances, on 12 May 2012, at the Police Training School, Khandala in Pune district of Maharashtra.

The event was coordinated by the Police Department. There were as many as 500 participants, including the higher officers of the Department. What was interesting about the workshop was that the participants were women trainees. The trainees included some Muslims also. Read Full report>>

 National Seminar on Challenges to Women Empowerment: Role of State, Religion and Good Governance

The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai organised a 2-day National Seminar on Challenges to Women Empowerment: Role of State, Religion and Good Governance on 16-17 March 2012, 2012 in collaboration with  SVKM’s Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Vile Parle West, Mumbai. The seminars were organised with support from the ICSSR (Western Region, Mumbai) and Ford Foundation. Read full report>>  




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