“The biggest challenge to democracy is the dent in the composite culture of India made by the rise of fascist forces in the last few years. It is not correct to say that there is no democracy in India but it is also true that the freedom enjoyed by the majority community is not the same as one enjoyed by the minorities. There is increasing lack of dialogue and there is threat to free speech at all levels.”
These thoughts were shared by Prof. Apoorvanand, noted writer and Dean, Faculty of Humanities, Delhi University. He was speaking as a key speaker at the 2nd Prof. R.N.Vyas Memorial Lecture held in Udaipur on 10th May, 2023 at Vigyan Samiti, Ashok Nagar.
He was speaking on the theme “Challenges and Opportunities of Democracy in India in the Present Context”. He said that the ruling establishment has shrunk the space of debate and dialogue. Even the state fora of discussion and dialogue like the parliament have been used for promoting partisan interests. The interests of the common man are compromised in favour of the big capitalists who claim to be friends of the ruling elite. Prof. Apoorvanand said that the real challenge is to safeguard the constitution and the democratic institutions, which are under attack.
Chairing the program, noted poet and activist Abid Hussain Adeeb said that despite incessant attacks by the union government and its allied organizations, the spirit of the people has not dampened. People are fighting and have succeeded in asserting their democratic rights. He said that the strong people shall not be cowed down. He remembered Prof. R.N.Vyas as a great humanitarian and resolved to carry on in his tradition. Prof. Zenab Banu and Prof. R.M.Lodha colleagues of Prof. R.N.Vyas remembered him fondly and said that he was an outstanding teacher, researcher and above all an outstanding human being.
Dalit writer and activist Dr. Kusum Meghwal remembered Prof. Vyas for his selfless devotion to the down trodden class of people and called for an integrated campaign in the rural areas against the casteist and communal forces. Ajay Mehta, president of Vidya Bhavan Society also graced the dais. On this occasion a book edited by Dr.Iti Vyas and Dr. Chandra Dev Ola carrying research articles written by Prof. R.N.Vyas, his colleagues and students titled “Challenges of Inclusive Urbanization : Global Imperatives and Local Initiatives” was also introduced to the audience by Dr. Iti Vyas. A journal titled “TRIBE” published by M.L.Verma Tribal Research Institute, Government of Rajasthan was also released. This journal was edited by Prof. R.N.Vyas and Prof. H.S.Chandalia jointly. After the unfortunate demise of Prof. Vyas it was edited by Prof. Chandalia and published by the Institute.Earlier in the program, Prof. Chandalia introduced the life, contribution and significance of the work done by Prof. R.N.Vyas. Comrade Shankar Lal Chaudhary, state Committee member of CPIML and president of Prof. R.N.Vyas Memorial Committee welcomed the guests and discussed the plan of the series of memorial lectures. At the end Prof. Farhat Bano, Central Committee member of CPIML offered a vote of thanks.