Building Bridges: Exploring Mumbai’s Diversity
22nd October 2017 – 6th November 2017
Supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation
Mumbai is a city with multiple impulses; democracy, diversity and development are the key words that define its urban space and cultural transformations. It has evolved from a complex history: from being an insignificant cluster of seven islands, it transformed into a site of Buddhist culture, a safe refuge for people from Persia, the land of kolis or fishermen/women, a hub of maritime trade, a melting pot of European and Eastern ideas, transforming into the city of cotton mills, printing press, hosting nationalist movements, its journey towards becoming the commercial capital, land of Bollywood and a victim of communalism and terrorism. The purpose of the camp is to highlight the cultural diversity of the city manifested in its syncretic religious traditions, cultural traditions, food, ecological spaces, diverse languages, ethnic communities, cinema, literature and architecture (to name a few). Though the camp primarily explores Mumbai, its scope is not limited to city. In exploring Mumbai, the camp helps the students gain a larger understanding of the need and relevance of pluralism and inclusive practices that help build a just and peaceful society.
The diversity exposure camp has received enthusiastic participation and encouraging responses over the past years. The camp has provided with many claiming that it has indeed been an eye opening and transformative experience.For instance, Banisha a student from SIES Collegesaid that her experience with the camp made her aware of a lot for instance the economic importance of Dharavi. She felt proud when she learnt that the Muslim community women were actively fighting for their rights. Gufran, a Science student, got an opportunity to interact with the transgender community and got first-hand knowledge of their predicaments and this interaction changed his outlook towards them. And for some like Vinay Nair, a political science student, the camp was a wonderful experience as he got to experience the practical aspect of what they were taught.Thus, the camp is an attempt to help participants explore diversity, democracy and its challenges in the context of changing urban space of Mumbai. By understanding its physical and nonphysical spaces the camp aims to help students uncover the stereotypes that prevent heterogeneity, plurality and co-existence of multiplicity.
The Objectives of the Camp are:
- To introduce the participants to the diversity of Mumbai through its cultural spaces.
- To help participants appreciate cultural diversity, ie. to understand who its agents are and the ability of the city to accommodate varying functions of different groups that inhabit it and make it an urban space.
- Sensitize participants about the need to recognize and break caste, class, gender and religious stereotypes that threaten democracy.
- Help participants gain in an understanding of the urgent need of securing diversity for a democratic and peaceful society.
The methodology followed for the exposure camp includes input sessions by eminent resource persons, diversity and heritage walks, film-screenings and field visits over a period of 15 days. Twenty students are chosen to be a part of this programme. During the course of the camp, resource persons are invited for the first half of each day for helping the participants to get a perspective on various themes of diversity. The second half would include field visits organized to complement the knowledge acquired from the lecture sessions. At the end of the workshop, participants are expected to prepare a detailed report. A certificate of participation will be awarded at the end of the camp subject to camp requirements being satisfactorily fulfilled.
Proposed Camp Programme
Field Visits will include visits to places of cultural significance like religious worship to expose the students to the unique religious diversity in Mumbai. Visits to places like a Dalit Basti or Adivasi Village will expose students to issues concerning caste, development and displacement. Other visits include visit to organisations which work for the rights of vulnerable groups to sensitize students about the issues and challenges faced by this group. The Input sessions will be based on presentation, movie screenings and discussion format which will be conducted by most eminent activists, academicians, cultural theorists.
All students pursuing their Graduation or Post-Graduation in Mumbai are free to apply by filling up the following online form along with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed Statement of Purpose.
You can also visit this link to access the Google form –https://goo.gl/forms/xWUPGdckr1nhhDWt2
About the Centre
The Centre for Study of Society and Secularism is a non-profit organization working for peace and communal harmony. The Centre has various publications to its credit, such as Indian Journal of Secularism, a fortnightly publication of Secular Perspective and Islamic studies. The Centre is also actively involved in ground level engagement with various activists and other likeminded organisations which share our idea of a secular society and strongly believes in diversity as strength of our nation. Peace Centre is one such initiative wherein the CSSS helps and supports them to carry out activities and programme to promote diversity and pluralism. Other activities include holding Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Lectures, Cultural Evening, Seminars, Workshops and Diversity Exposure Camps.
Registration Fee: INR 1000/-
The payment can be made by Cash or Cheque. The cheque should be payable to “Centre for Study of Society and Secularism”.