Friday, 13 December 2013

A Call for South Asian Democratic Union

A Call for South Asian Democratic Union

The Campaign for South Asian Union 2014:
                          SOUTH ASIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION
Memorandum to all the Heads of States of
Commonwealth Countries in South Asia
We, the signatories below - accept the Challenge posed by the grim elements of narrow sub-national and sectarian forces, within and without the South Asian borders. The Life and Liberties of future generations are at stake here in the heightened communal trust-deficit when the main problems of Development  and Survival are  common concern of people in South Asia.

Since 1985, while the Heads of SAARC were meeting annually, India and Pakistan have   amassed some 200 Nuclear Warheads avowedly in ‘Self-defense’.  But the Nuclear weapons in “Self-defense” is an irrational political reasoningFor, the Nuclear weapons  do not  differentiate  between  friends and foes.  In a nuclear conflict,  all moveable and  immoveable -  homes, schools, hospitals,  temples, mosques, and churches, factories and offices, stationary vehicles and  metros and air-ports–would be engulfed in the  nuclear holocaust.  Mahatma Gandhi   was prophetic: 

“The nuclear weapons represented irreversible civilisational calamity.”
In 21st century Cyber Age, Nation-State and   Theocratic (Religious) State are the two main factors leading to   trust–deficit among the peoples that have lived together for centuries.    It is, therefore, imperative that   the peoples of South Asian community give up fighting for exclusive regional, sub-national, sectarian or religious identities.  Though divided we are, but we need to begin with assertion that the South Asian peoples share not only geo-graphical space but also a common history and culture.

History teaches us not to repeat the past mistakes.  In 20th century, all white European Christian Nation-states fought Two World wars. But they have now united as “One Big European Union” family of 26 countries.  Geographically, South Asia is an inseparable entity with    multi-religious peoples.  Nonetheless, in a Union, no “nation-state” is deprived of its Sovereign National identity.  All member states keep their flags, and Parliament.  Yet, within the Union, all member nation-states, can work together for common security, and scientific industrial and economic development.  Yetthe sectarian cold-war politics have blinded the leaders who are eager to defend the out-dated narrow national, sub-national and sectarian identities.
In November 2012, some 50 youngsters from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and India participated in “Mumkin Initiative” or the Unity Possible, held at  the South  Asian  Regional Schools Conference, in Dehradun.  The Mumkin Initiative was inaugurated by Former Governor of J&K, and India’s Ambassador to Nepal, Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha (Retd.). “The South Asian peoples are united historically, culturally and geographically,” said the General in his opening speech.

The president of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, the  Old Delhi–born, Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, in  September  (2012) addressed   the First  Summit  of  South Asian Science Academies,  at  the Indian National Science Academy ( INSA), and presented a 10-point programme  for cooperation among the South Asian Science academies.  Dr. Rahman urged   the eight South Asian Scientists to learn from one another’s experience in the frontier fields of Science.   Prof. Rahman also announced 40 scholarships for the South Asian scientists to spend three months in any Pakistan research centre.

Meanwhile, the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, had (on Nov. 24, 2012), organized one-day meet attended by the delegates of Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India in New Delhi. The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Vikramjit Singh Sahney was candid that the South Asian states face a daunted problem to meet the high energy demands increased three times in the next 15-20 years.   He insisted that the collective and collaborative strategies can go forward “for micro-hydro and solar and wind and Nano-engineering to face the futuristic challenges by enforcing mutually beneficiary policies. Together we can be better prepared against the Natural Disasters.

 Geographically, South Asia - is an inseparable entity, and   we are multi-religious peoples sharing in ancient civilization.  In 21st century, We shall Live Together or Perish together.  The challenge before us is how to achieve  unitary,  non-sectarian, and  multicultural South Asian Democratic  Union.

In a Union, no “nation-state” is deprived of its distinct sovereignty.  All member states keep their flags, and legislature, with Sovereign National identity. Yet, within the Union, all member nation-states, all work together for common security, and scientific industrial and economic development.  

During the last two decades, the South Asian academics, social scientists, artists, writers, journalists and above all the Women and Human rights activists have   been engaged in friendly exchanges.   Progressive Civil Right activists, actors and intellectuals, industrialists, and academics of South Asian states have actively demonstrated their willingness to be united in the pursuit of Peace and Progress.  Admittedly, in the 21st century, we shall live together or perish together.

In the Cyber age of 21st century, We,  the peoples of  South Asia,  shall remain re-united.  We,  the  signatories to the  Memorandum  to the Heads of the South Asian States, urge the leaders of  all colours and preachers of all Faiths:

To remember your Humanity and forget the past communal identities that have divided the South Asian peoples who had lived together for centuries.  Formation of the South Asian Democratic Union is, therefore, the historic call of the millions of a South Asian Peoples.

Sponsoring signatories to the memorandum include (till date)
Mr. Soli J. Sorbajee, Former Attorney General of India/Human Rights Commission.
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.  Former Chief Justice of India.
Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, Former Chief Justice, Panjab & Sindh, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Ms. Sima Samar, Former Minister and Women’s Human Rights, Afghanistan.
(Lord) Prof. Meghnad Desai, Author, of “Rediscovery of India”. 
“Mandela of Kashmir” Mr. Shabir Ahmed Shah, President, J&K Freedom Party, Srinagar.
Ms. Saeeda Diep, Chair, Institute Peace and Secular Studies, Lahore.
Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Prof. Physics, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.
Dr. N. Vittal, Former Vigilance Commissioner of India, Chennai.
Dr. S.K. Joshi, Former DG, Council Science & Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Air Vice-Marshal Dr. N. Natarajan (retd.) and former Vice Chancellor, Srinagar (Garhwal)
Prof. M. Shamsur Rahman, Form. Vice-Chancellor, Jatiya Kabi Nazrul Islam University, Bangladesh.
Mr. Haroon Habib, Writer, Journalists, and Bangladesh Liberation War Veteran. Decca.
Dr. Dileep Padgaonkar, Former Editor-in-Chief, Times of India, Member J&K Human Rights Commission
Mr. I. A. Rehman, Human  Rights and Peace Activist, Lahore.
Prof. B.D. Joshi, Former Vice-Chancellor of Kumaon University.
Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, Director, Centre for Islamic Studies, Mumbai (Dr. Engineer endorsed the Campaign a week before he passed away).
Prof. Girijesh Pant, International Studies, JNU, & Ex. VC Doon University.
Prof.. Amita Singh, International Law & Governance, JNU., New Delhi.
Dr. K.S. Jayaraman, Former Science Editor PTI, and Resident Ed..NATURE, Banglure.
“Padmabhushan”  Mr.Leeladhar Jagudi, Member of the Sahitya Academy.
Mr. Ram Puniyani, Writer and Social Activist, Mumbai.
Dr. Rafat Jamal Azmi, Himalayan Geological Research Scientist, Dehradun.
Ms. Nageen Tanvir, Director, Tanvir Theatre, Bhopal.
Ms Teesta Sitalwad,  Civil Rights Advocate,  Mumbai.
Mr. Bader Sayeed, Lawyer, & Former Chairperson, Minorities Commission, State Wakf Board Tamil Nadu.
Dr. Harish Saxsena, Professor of Physics, Delhi University, & International Youth Hostels Association.
Mr. Mohammad Shafi Pandit, IAS (Retd.) former Chairman, J&K Public Service Commission.
Dr. Zaheer Ahmad Sayeed, Professor Neurological Sciences, Chennai.
Padmasri Dr. K. S. Valdiya, Grologist of Himalaya, Bangalore.
Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, Prof.of Humanities & Social Sciences,
 Lahore University of Management, Lahore. 
Dr. U. R. Anantha Murthy, Writer, Gyanpeeth Awardee, Sahitya Academy, Karnataka, Banglore.
Mr. Vinod Sharma, Political Editor, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Dr. Karamat Ali, Convenor, SAARC Peoples’ Conference, Member Labour Rights Commission, Karachi.
Dr. Irfan Engineer, Director, Inst. Of Study of Society & Secularism, Mumbai
Ms. Shabana Azami, Peace activist, Member of Indian Parliament.
Mr. Javed Akhtar, Peace activist, Writer & Poet, Mumbai.
Ms. Asma Jahangir, Human Rights Activist Advocate, Lahore.
Dr.NishchalN.Pandey, Director, Centre for South Asian Studies,
 Kathmandu-5 ( Nepal).
Mr. Fali S. Nariman,  MP.,  President-Emeritus, Bar Association of India; Co-Chair of the IBA Human Rights Institute (2001 to 2004); Founder and Chairman of Permanent Committee of Human Rights of LAWASIA (1979 to 1985).

Convenor: Campaign South Asian Union 2014:

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