There may be no ready answer to the problem of terrorism. But a group of artistes and scholars will attempt to find one, in a daylong seminar titled, Terrorism and the Response of our Composite Culture, at a prominent hotel in south Mumbai on Sunday.
Organised by Urdutehzeeb.net, an online forum for interfaith peace, based in London and Delhi, the seminar will engage about 200 students from Mumbai’s colleges and non-profit organisations in a dialogue about extremist tendencies.
The eleven speakers include film personalities such as Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, academicians from Allahabad University, Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia, and British politician Baroness Emma Nicholson.
“My concern is to find out whether democracy is a possible tool to fight terrorism, and as the world’s largest democracy, India is the best place to talk about it,” said Nicholson, who has been on the panel for five seminars organised by Urdutehzeeb in Delhi and London since 2008. “In true dialogue, you have to come prepared to change your mind and respect the common values shared by all humanity,” she said.
Nicholson, who studied and wrote a detailed report on the Kashmir issue for the European Union in 2006, said she was delighted that Indo-Pak talks have begun again this week.
“I don’t expect one seminar to bring peace to the world, but the process is still necessary,” said Chaman Lal Chaman, a prominent radio broadcaster in London, who will speak about the unifying powers of music, among other arts, in creating a composite culture.
“Our aim is to channelise the energies of the youth in more creative directions, because the youth can bring about change,” said Rawail Singh, a consultant for Urdutehzeeb in Delhi.