Not only our democracy but our civilisation also is in peril: Ashok Vajpeyi

Several eminent intellectuals of the country have called upon the people to launch the Quit India Movement once again to save "democracy" in the country

Not only our democracy but our civilisation also is in peril: Ashok Vajpeyi

NH Web Desk

Several eminent intellectuals and authors of the country have called upon people to launch Quit India Movement once again to save "democracy" in the country and said that the slogan of “Quit India” should be raised against those who keep saying that the people who highlight concerns about democracy should be sent to Pakistan.

Renowned Hindi writer, literary and cultural critic Ashok Vajpeyi, well-known historian Mridula Mukherjee International Booker-winner author Geetanjali Shree and Sahitya Akademi Award winner veteran author Mridula Garg gave this call during an event organised to celebrate Quit India Movement anniversary and memorial ceremony of Hindi Bhushan Shivpujan Sahay.

During the event, the new issue of the Hindi magazine "Stree Darpan" was also launched. “Stree Darpan”, a magazine focusing on women’s issues was first launched in 1909 by Rameshawari Nehru and focused on various issues ranging from gender equality, freedom and cultural renaissance. The magazine was revived in 2020 initially on line during the pandemic. Senior journalist and poet Vimal Kumar and IGNOU professor Savita Singh are the editors of this revived edition of 'Stree Darpan'.

In this function organised by Raza Foundation and 'Stree Darpan' at Delhi's India International Center, the speakers also underlined the fact that women had participated enthusiastically in the freedom struggle and that freedom has no meaning without women's emancipation.

Addressing the event, Ashok Vajpeyi said that in the present times, not only Indian democracy but our entire civilisation is going through a turbulent phase. "Our civilisation has been 5000 years old and has been the oldest civilisation in the world. There are some values which our civilization and culture have inculcated in our society through ages. But today these values are falling apart and the present political regime is infiltrating every field. Citizens of the country will have to come forward and raise their voice against this as was done during ‘Quit India’ movement," he said and added that “Stree Darpan should not only raise women’s issues but also discuss the existing concerns of our society."

Author Geetanjali Shree took a jibe at the issue of “hurting religious sentiment” and said women’s feelings are hurt everyday, but no one seems to care. She hinted at the recent incident that took place in Agra where an event on her novel “Ret Samadhi” was cancelled due to the allegation of it “hurting religious sentiments”.

Veteran author Mridula Garg who has been writing in Hindi for about fifty years now said that we as a society are also responsible for the crisis that we are facing now. Because we have elected the present “dictator” and no dictator learns from the past fascist regimes. She said, “We must launch the Quit India movement once again and make the divisive powers within our society to leave us.

Mridula Mukherjee, former director of Nehru Library and Museum, said that women actively participated in the Quit India Movement. Initially, this movement became popular with school and college girls.

Describing Aruna Asaf Ali as a hero in the 1942 movement, she said that the British could not catch Aruna Asaf Ali, who lived underground and came out only after Gandhiji urge her to.

She mentioned Usha Mehta also who started actively participating in the freedom struggle at the age of 18 and used to run Congress radio on which Lohia's speeches were broadcast frequently. She also talked about Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay who exhorted Gandhiji to include women in the Salt Satyagraha.

Dr Garima Srivastava and Dr Savita Singh, referring to patriarchy, elaborated upon all the restrictions imposed on women by men and reiterated that freedom has no meaning without women's emancipation and gender equality.

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