For The Motion : Mallika Sarabhai & Shashi Tharoor
Against The Motion : R. Jagannathan & Shazia Ilmi
Chair : Vir Sanghvi
When India won its independence, the dream was to build a great new country that would shed the shackles of prejudice and poverty and rise through education, social justice and communal harmony. We hoped to get there with democracy, freedom of speech and what is considered one of the great Constitutions of the free world. Does the India of today fully reflect the values enshrined in that magnificent document?
We are proud to be called the world’s largest democracy: our national elections provide a grand spectacle every few years. However, despite considerable strides in business, space and IT, poverty and inequalities still beset large parts of the country. Our public discourse is ravaged by hate and bitterness. The media seems to have scant regard for objectivity or truth. Dissent is being hammered into silence. The police and other law enforcement agencies do not look to be free to function independently. Lakhs of citizens are crushed daily because of their gender, caste or religion. The judiciary appears ambivalent; and the manipulation and excesses of social media are a daily testament to the national abuse of free speech.
Is it a sad truth or an unduly harsh indictment to say that democracy in India is in peril?
Mallika Sarabhai is one of India’s leading classical dancers. She has been using dance and other cultural and artistic forms for the last four decades, to propound causes relating to women, violence and human rights.