“WHILE THE whole country is engulfed in protests, we need to also make sure we make space for dialogue. Not the kind of screaming and yelling that we hear on television, but a real conversation, where we peacefully engage with each other,” said Swara Bhaskar, Bollywood actress and activist, at ‘India My Valentine’, an event held at Panjab University on Sunday.
The event, part of a series of events occurring in cities across Indian between January 14 to 16, seeks to engage in conversations about loving the country and its people through performances by various artistes. In PU, the event was attended by many local musicians, poets, singers and visual artistes, along with Swara Bhaskar, expressing their vision for a diverse, united and peaceful India.
Bhaskar, co-organiser of the “India My Valentine” platform, stated that she felt it was very important to bring the event to Punjab. “Punjab has a significant part to play in the history of India, and a part to play in the shaping of what India is today, whether it be post-partition, or the industrial revolution or the agricultural reforms. So it was crucial to bring this platform to Punjab as well,” said Bhaskar.
Explaining the necessity of the event in the current political climate, Bhaskar said, “There are many of us who are against CAA and NRC, but there are others who for reasons even unknown to them, are supporting this. Our nation has hence become so polarised and there is so much hatred,” claimed Bhaskar, adding, “However, between all this, we felt like even if don’t agree on politics, we can all unite over talent, over poetry or music or rap or even spoken word.
So the point of this platform is to leave the differences behind, and for a moment find similarities between all of us, and find the things that bring us together and unite us.”
The actress also stated that if we introspect on what Indians are truly polarised over, it is about who loves the country more and is more committed to the nation. “But we just need to celebrate the fact that we love India, and this is all that this event wishes to celebrate,” claimed Bhaskar.
“Just keep speaking to each other, try and convince each other. At the end of the day, we all belong to this land, the blood that runs through our veins is Indian, and our forefathers have been born here and buried here, all of this gives us our citizenship. No piece of paper or documents can steal this away from us,” concluded Bhaskar.
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