Sambhaavnaa Institute is conducting a workshop on ‘Reclaiming our Republic: Re-imagining the constitution through the lived realities of 75 years; Working toward a justice-based democracy’, from May 19 to 23, 2022 in Palampur, HP.
About the Series
‘Reclaiming our Republic’ is a series of residential programs organized by Sambhaavnaa institute to facilitate new thinking and ideation to rethink the concept of the republic, nuances of the Indian constitution, and the frame of the very democracy we live in. It is aimed at creating a platform for sharing, learning, and ideating, for young citizens from across India.
At the workshop, the youth will be provided a space to learn from the experience and expertise offered by veterans and contemporaries alike, understand the theoretical framework of the Indian Republic and initiate people-oriented programs and activities to facilitate a new mode of civic intervention in India.
About the Workshop
We have decided to hold this year’s residential programme in the month of May (19-23), 2022 in Sambhaavnaa’s campus at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. As per our practice, we will be seeking applications from aspirants in the age group between 21 and 40, who are eager to understand the complex world of democracy, human rights, dignity, gender justice – from the prism of exploring the Constitution of India, asserting the preamble of the Republic and sharing our re-imaginations about democracy, justice, etc. The workshop is being curated by experienced socio-political analysts and practitioners, aiming for collective ideation towards re-imagination. The workshop promises to have an interesting mix of practitioners, community leaders, activists, theoreticians, and ideators, to facilitate collective learning and output.
In the past years, the ‘Reclaiming our Republic’ programs focussed on developing a concrete understanding about the Indian constitution, democratic principles, values of human rights enshrined in the constitution – all from the vantage point of the threats to democracy from a majoritarian and authoritarian regime. The workshops also involved young achievers as well as challengers from the social sector. However, the perspectives of the outspoken outcastes – those who refused to be ‘integrated’ into the Republic’s liberal, military-nationalist framework, could not be brought to the table. Hence, in the upcoming Residential Workshop, we feel it is important to understand, review and learn from the experimentation of the implementation of the constitution too. As a country, we need to be clear about the direction we are headed and shape it, not just know what we need to defend.
A generation of democratic practitioners feel that India has been pushed back by decades, that we need to ‘defend’ to survive the onslaught of majoritarianism and authoritarian regimes. However, there are many younger practitioners and theoreticians who believe that we need to defend, but also dissent and assert, in order to build back better. They do not agree that everything is about defending certain ‘values’; they see the roots of many problems in the existing caste/class/patriarchal/communal frame, which has co-existed with the constitution for 75 years. They do not think we have much to celebrate in the Amrit Mahotsav of Azadi! They believe that unless we listen to the voices of sanity from diverse corners of the country – J&K, Naga inhabited areas, Bastar, and so on, we will not be able to make the constitution a living-evolving document, and India a transforming democracy. RoR believes that we need to explore this line of thought through the upcoming residential programme.
Objectives of the Program
Understanding modern authoritarianism
‘Othering’ of people & Identity assertion
Counter-hegemony: Indigenous perspectives
Counter-culture: Gender lens
Combating Bigotry: cultural and educational tools
Mass media, fake news, and people’s truth
Resource Persons for the Workshop
Soni Sori is a school teacher, an adivasi activist and thinker. Extreme state persecution and sexual violence by the police forces could not deter Soni from her battle for justice, truth and the rights of her people. She is considered a violated face of Bastar and is counted among the world’s most assertive women indigenous leaders today. Her exoneration in the criminal cases against her by the courts of India has vindicated her position about state brutality against Adivasis under the pretext of fighting left wing extremism and Maoist forces in the Central India region.
Narayana Bhattathiri is a Calligrapher, illustrator and artist based in Keralam. For over four decades he has done illustrations for a wide spectrum of books, magazines and journals in many language publications, putting him in a league of his own. He has won several national and international accolades for his sharp skill and political perspectives (he recently won the South Korean Jikji prize). Known as the father of calligraphy (Lipi Acchhan) of his literature rich home state of Keralam, Narayana Bhattathiri has been a consistent co-traveller of the progressive movement in South Asia too.
Akash Poyam is a researcher and writer based in Chhattisgarh. He is currently working as an assistant editor at The Caravan and is the founder of Adivasi Resurgence, an online archive of writings by Adivasi writers. His work has been published in various publications including The Caravan, Al Jazeera, Portside Review, and Gondwana Darshan among others. Akash belongs to the Koitur or Gond people.
Rachelle Bharathi Chandran writing and research focuses on caste, sexuality, gender, intergenerational trauma patterns and disability. Ze primarily works with organisations led by marginalised caste, gender, sexuality and disabled persons. Ze is a Dalit non-binary neurodivergent (autistic) person. BRC established the first decentralised reading group: Savitri Birsa Ambedkar Malcolm X Kanshiram Ansari Veerammal (SBAMKAV) which works as a collective instead of following a leadership model. Ze also moderates the signal/whatsapp group: Stym-the first autistic support group espousing anti-caste values.
The workshop is being curated by: Evita Das and Vijayan MJ
Evita Das is a New Delhi based urban researcher and practitioner. Her body of work revolves around housing and caste in Indian cities. Currently, she is the national coordinator for Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy. She is a regular contributor of research articles to leading publications and news portals – especially on land and housing-related aspects of Indian cities.
Vijayan MJ is an activist, analyst and researcher based in Delhi. For more than two decades he has been engaged in shaping several civic initiatives for peace, justice, environmental protection, and community rights – in India and South Asia. He is the General Secretary of Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy. He is also a Senior Advisor of The Research Collective, Delhi and a scholar with Carnegie Europe – a global think-tank on civil society. He is a co-traveller of many movements and trade unions in South Asia, and is actively engaged as a solidarity worker with the people’s movements for self determination in Jammu & Kashmir, Nagalim among others.
Who is this Workshop for?
This is a call to all teachers, students, activists, community mobilisers and concerned citizens, who are deeply concerned about this state of affairs today. It is a call to come together to celebrate and strategise, to re-imagine and reclaim.
We invite young minds to come together, use this opportunity to sharpen your understanding and capacities to engage with your surroundings.
Date: May 19-23, 2022
Venue: Sambhaavnaa Institute, VPO – Kandbari, Tehsil – Palampur, District – Kangra, PIN 176061, Himachal Pradesh
Contribution towards Program Costs
We hope that each participant would contribute an amount of Rs. 2500 /- towards the workshop expenses, inclusive of all onsite workshop costs: boarding, lodging, and all the materials used in the workshop.
Need-based partial waivers are available, especially for people from marginalized communities.
The organizers have a very limited number of partial waivers, so, please apply for a waiver only if you really need it. Please do remember that there may be others who need it more than you.
For more details and to apply online, please visit here.