January 31st to 2nd February 2019 Nation Building
Student Christian Movement of India – Human Rights Desk in partnership with Inter Church Service Association Dr. A. K. Tharien Chair for Reconciliation Workshop on the Constitution & Legal Space for Nation Building
Workshop on the Constitution & Legal Space for Nation Building was organized by Dr. A.K. Tharien Chair of ICSA in coloration with the Student Christina Moment of India’s Human Rights Desk, from 31st of January to 2nd of February, 2019 at ICSA Paripurna Centre at Manapakkam. 28 participants from across the South of India attended the program representing 4 regional locations (Kerala, Karnataka, Andra Pradesh, and North & South Tamil Nadu).
The program secretary of the Human Rights Desk of SCMI, Mr. Simon Immanuel addressed the gathering and introduced the objectives of the workshop and the history and mission of SCMI through the aid of a short video presentation. This was followed by a brief welcome and presentation of ICSA by the program coordinator of ICSA - Dr.A.K.Tharien Chair for Reconciliation, Mr. Uday Isaac Gnanadason.Dr. Moses P. Manohar, the Executive Director of ICSA officially welcomed the participants. The program was inaugurated by the symbolic lighting of the lamp by Dr. Moses P. Manohar, the Executive Director of ICSA along with one student from each region, his words of encouragement about learning our rights through the understanding of the constitution of India and the role of students motivated the students for the sessions to follow.
The first and second session “Human Rights in the Constitution India” & “Nation Building and the role of Students” was by presented by Dr Moses P. Manohar the Executive Director of ICSA started by define politics and misconceptions that we as citizens have towards politics and those who are involved in politics. He spoke about the lack of understanding and ignorance that is associated to the word politics. He went on to speak about the right to politics and the lack of it in India today due to the historical aspect of the denial of learning about politics due to the cast system. He spoke about the need to have dreams, take risks and have a plan to achieve these goals. His paper on Human Rights spoke about what is means to be a Human Being, taking from Aristotle books about zoon politikon or political animals. He went on to explore what Rights meant and its legal implications. From this we share on what Human Rights meant within the local context in India. To do this he spoke about the classifications of Human Rights: Civil Rights, Political Rights, and Cultural Rights. He simplified the paper by share the concepts on the Right to Life, Liberty, and Property.
He explores the concepts of Human Rights in the Bible, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Indian Constitution and the Human Rights. He concludes the presentation with the thought about promises to every citizen 1.Justice, 2.Liberty, 3.Equality and Fraternity And as to the role of the student, he emphasized that the citizen is the hero of democracy whom Plato called as the Guardians. Citizens who are rich enough in wealth and knowledge will be in a better position to demand accountability. The participants were left with the question of what are our roles and our responsibilities. He encouraged participants to learn and be involved in the political life of the nation.
Between the Second & Third Session, the program secretary from SCMI conducted an icebreaker to get to know each other
The third session was on the topic Panchayat Raj System presented by Adv. Jeyakumar Arul, Madras High Court Criminal Lawyer, an activist, Human Rights defender who explained the status and functions of panchayat Raj system. After his detailed presentation, he explored with the students what is means to be an activist, what to look for and where to start when fighting for justice. He provoked the students to look within their own context and see where we can come together in Nation Building.
The last session on day one was group activities where the students studied, explore and presented on the Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policies.
The first session on day two was lead by Mr. P.B.Prince Gajendra Babu, the General Secretary of SPCSS Tamil Nadu, who presented on Human Rights and Sustainable Development Goals. He started by raising many questions that brought light on the various issues on violations of Human Rights and what we as citizens need to do to address them. Students asked many questions to look what we can do to fight for justice and what tools we have to fight for these injustices.
The second session on day two was presented by Adv. Balaji Premkumar, a social activist, he led the session on the use of RTI (Right to Information Act) to fight corruption. This was a very interactive session where questions on what is corruption, how do we fight it, what are peoples movements and how can we work together. The session was designed to have many interactions between participants and the RTI activist and lawyers on understanding the law and how best to interpret it. Draft RTI where shared and practical applications where shared to writing and filing an RTI, and to understand how does one move forward with the toolkit that has been provided over the course of the training.
The third session on day two was presented by Dr Moses P. Manohar the Executive Director of ICSA on Faith and Politics in India: Right to Religion. He tackled the topic of: religion is the source for faith, spirituality, conviction, beliefs, meanings, hope, morality, character, attitude, behavior, culture, rituals, and myths and so on. He brought into context the issues of cast and right to religion through his discussion on the Constitution and the law. He asked questions to the students to provoke them to look at if we truly have these rights and if not what we could be doing to explore our rights.
The after room sessions was group activity on exploring Human rights and Role of Women. Topics (Equality in Wages, Sanitation & Health, Child Abuse) where chosen and discussed amongst themselves that was later presented to all participants. This was followed by another group activity of new paper cuttings of human rights violations.
The first session on day three was by Mr. R. Manohar, the Executive Director of CARE Bangalore, and the Regional Coordinator for HRDA & AINNI. He challenged the students to look back over the workshop and asked them to speak about what they had come to understand on Human Rights violations and Nation Building. The fact that we have all rights that are being taken away from us was spoke about and what tools we have to fight injustices at our local context. He shared the major challenges that we face when we speak about building an Inclusive India. He requests each participant to pick up a cause and look at ways by which we can become activist and who we can mobilize to fight corruption.
The last session of day three was a fruitful visit to CMSI factory where the participants got to learn about the various methods of manufacturing generic medicines.
The meeting came to an end by the presentation of the student report that will be share at a later date.