Peace Initiatives

We have an expansive and sophisticated vocabulary to describe our differences and violence yet have little facility with modes of thinking and articulating that enable us to engage with the ideas of compassion and peace. This archive would not have been complete without bringing into its fold the memories and accounts of those who resisted the onslaught of communal forces and went about patching the ripped social fabric of the city. With the waning of progressive social movements, especially after the unsuccessful textile mill workers strike a decade before, there was no effective bulwark against the renascent chauvinistic politics in the late 80s and 90s. It was in this context that several citizen groups organised to bring together various communities through relief work, cultural interventions and campaigns for restorative justice in the aftermath of the 1992-93 violence.        

The Mohalla Committee Movement is one of the many initiatives in the city that is helping the city come to terms with its violent and traumatic past and paving way for more tolerant and inclusive society. Apart from bringing ordinary people to come together to celebrate their cultures together the movement has also been making efforts to address the lack of trust people have in the police force. Though such initiatives have faced criticism from those who were at the receiving end of police brutality, this movement has seen a lot of success in violence-affected areas like Dharavi.

Such initiatives also complement individual struggles of justice. The reconfiguration of the neighbourhoods in Mumbai on the basis of religion and class, many of the people we interviewed felt, can largely be attributed to the civil society's relative failure to work closely with the communities and make them feel safe.  Community work not only instils confidence in the people to stay rooted to their homes and neighbourhoods in turbulent times but also gives them confidence to actively pursue justice through various means. Initiatives like these, which are led by ordinary people, are indispensable in today’s political environment as we gather our energies to resist and fight the increasingly communal institutions of state and sections of society. 

Exploring Themes

Related Films

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