Active Pluralism

India is unique due to her religious and cultural diversity.  The state, strongly built on secular lines, aims to limit communal violence and foster a spirit of cooperation and fraternity among India’s many different peoples.

In 2009, our founder Kapil Pandey traveled to Chicago, U.S.A. for a conference on interfaith work organised by the Interfaith Youth Core, Chicago (IFYC).  He came back armed with new information and a desire to implement this work within our own organisation.  The Kutumb Foundation partnered with IFYC for almost one year in carrying out this work.

Active Pluralism is envisioned as a celebration of otherness and multiculturalism.  It encompasses not only religion but also ethnicity, caste, class, regional identity etc within the Indian context.  Too often the word ‘tolerance’ is used, without fully considering the word’s implications.  We attempt to move beyond simply ‘tolerating’ other people and instead embracing differences.  In this way, Active Pluralism is a lens, a framework, used in all of our programmes and initiatives.

Active Pluralism began as a series of workshops held on area college campuses.  It has transformed into a series of events and workshops held with the broader community and especially our Kutumb participants.

We strive to inculcate a pluralistic attitude in all our programmes.  For example, one of the primary achievements of our most recent Goal of Life Tournament was bringing together participants from our three Goal of Life locations.  In this way, our primarily Muslim participants from Nizamuddin interacted with our primarily Hindu Khan Market participants.  Additionally, as more and more Nizamuddin participants have started coming to Indradhanush, this process has continued.

Ghevra is an especially mixed community, as it is an amalgamation of different bastis from all over Delhi.  Last year, there was significant tension in the area after the eyes of a Hanuman idol were put out.  The police were called in and a communal situation averted.  Through Active Pluralism, we aim to develop the next generation of leaders armed with the skill of conflict defusement.  In this way, we can help create a better, more peaceful, harmonious world where differences are celebrated, not merely tolerated.

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