DELIVERING THE first Dr Narendra Dabholkar Memorial Lecture in Pune on Tuesday, veteran journalist N Ram said that mass poverty, assault on secularism and erosion of freedom of speech were the three big challenges facing Indian society today. Dabholkar’s work, he said, showed that these three challenges were inter-related and that without confronting these in a scientific manner the society could not move forward.
The lecture was organised by Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (MANS) on the sixth anniversary of Dabholkar’s death. The rationalist was shot by assailants during his morning stroll at the Omkareshwar Bridge in Pune on August 20, 2013.
On Tuesday, the event was chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Hemant Gokhale and attended by Prataprao Pawar, office-bearer of MANS, and family members of the slain activist, including wife Shaila, son Hamid, and daughter Mukta among others.
Ram said “majoritarianism” and “communalism” has won many victories in the recent years, and encouraged by the success has embarked on an ideological project which is different from what Indians have grown used to in the seven decades of Independence. The veteran journalist also listed out various reports published by international organisations about assaults on journalists in India and how “freedom of expression and press have suffered a great deal over the years”.
“The government has effected an information block out and has banned internet. This is a clear violation of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. We don’t know how long this will continue and we have not been given any explanation by the government,” Ram said while referring to J&K.
English translation of three books written by Dabholkar were also released on the occasion.