Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

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Background

In response to the rising communalization of South Asian societies, the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia was formed in January 1993.


The Alliance is made up of concerned individuals in the Boston area. It represents many South Asian countries as well as people of South Asian descent in the USA. Since its conception it has consistently sought to spread awareness about the challenges against secularism and democracy in South Asia. It has also always expressed solidarity with other movements against injustice and oppression. Events organized by the Alliance include film screenings, talks, cultural programs, vigils and rallies.

In coalition with other progressive groups in the Boston Area, the Alliance offers an open platform to all for participation in creative solutions to the challenges facing our people. We meet every week to debate, organize and plan. Please contact us at info@SouthAsiaAlliance.org for more information.

 

Who are we?


We are residents of the Boston Area concerned about the rising communalization of South Asian societies. We formed the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia in January 1993 in response to the communal violence unleashed throughout South Asia by the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, India in 1992.

The principles and beliefs that unite us include:
 

  • Condemnation of violence perpetrated against any group on the basis of religion, caste, language or gender.
     

  • Communal violence is fostered and manipulated by vested interests that profit from such divisive tactics.
     

  •  Democracy is essential for secularism. Furthermore, democracy can not be merely the ritual casting of votes but must entail equal access to all  people to the resources of society regardless of economic or religious background.
     

  •  Secularism is not a choice but a necessity for the diverse and deeply interlinked societies of South Asia.

Events Organized

  • The Alliance has:

    Organized lectures and panel discussions on politcal issues of relevance to South Asia, with noted activists and scholars, such as Asghar Ali Engineer (social scientist from India), Asma Jahangir (human rights activist from Pakistan), Ananad Patwardhan (activist film director from India), Maitrayee Choudhury (on the Uniform Civil Code) and Noam Chomsky
     

  • Screened documentary videos and films, such as Eclipse (on the womens movement in Bangladesh and the conservative religious reaction to it), Father, Son and the Holy War (on the symbiotic relationship between patriarchy and religious bigotry in India), The War Crimes File (on unpunished war criminals from the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh) , Something Like a War (Feminist perspective on Reproductive & Sexual Rights in India).
    Raised funds for relief work and activist organizations in South Asia, including during the flood in 1998 in Bangladesh
     

  • Campaigned in support of civil rights issues, including petitions for jailed garment factory leaders in Bangladesh (2010), release of Dr. Binayek Sen (2009).
     

  • Organized cultural events with well-known artists from South Asia, such as Shabana Azmi and Habib Tanvir as well as local artists from the area
     

  • Held a Youth Conference (South Asian Solidarity Seminar for Youth 1998) in cooperation with proXsa (Progressive South Asian Exchange Net), FOPA (Forum of Progressive Artists), and SAAAC (South Asian Action & Advocacy Collective).
     

  • Observed South Asia Day each August from 1999 to 2010.