The need for working with wider unity for creating a world based on justice and equality is increasing further in these troubled times. One reason is that the forces of inequality led by the biggest billionaires and multinational companies have become very strong. Secondly, the environmental crisis has taken life-threatening forms and to check this crisis a path of sustainable development based on simplicity, equality and justice is now needed more than ever before.

At the same time the  survival crisis has been created not just by environmental factors but also by the accumulation of very dangerous weapons and the arms race, calling for the strengthening of peace movement at several levels. Hence along with the concerns of justice and equality the concerns of peace and environment protection have become very important and urgent.

In this changing situation there is a need for various violent and secretive movements struggling for justice and equality to reconsider their path of violently achieving their aims and opt instead for a path  of peace and movements based  by and large on peaceful  mobilization of people. In the present-day fast changing situation there are new requirements and needs which movements must address as the situation is now more complex with the  deepening survival crisis now capable of unleashing the kind of extremely serious problems and difficulties which were not on the radar before.

In this complex situation social movements cannot exist in isolation and need more cooperation and collaboration with each other. There is even lesser chance for progress of secretive movements than before. On the other hand transparent and open movements are not only able to reach out to more people but in addition are  more self-corrective in the sense that if and when these movements start going wrong, there are more chances of corrective steps being taken at a relatively early stage. Peaceful and self-corrective movements can be more durable and can involve more people over a longer period of time.

In a more complex world, it is not adequate to just work for a good cause, it is also important to share experiences with a wider world and to reach out to it for help  when needed. This is much more possible for open and peaceful movements. Conditions are increasingly more favorable for open and peaceful movements which are able to explain their position in a relaxed way on a regular basis to a significant number of people.

As problems increasingly have international and global contexts, it is important to maintain channels with people in various parts of the world who are working on similar issues, and this is much more possible for peaceful and open  movements.

What has been stated above is generally true now for all parts of world . Coming to the specific situation of India we see that  inequalities are increasing even more rapidly than before, a few billionaires are becoming even more dominant than before, constitutional precepts of secularism and socialism are being flouted even more than before, and the overall situation is a deeply worrying one. In this situation it is extremely important that a broad unity of all those who believe sincerely in equality, justice and secularism is established.

Of course it is not possible to think of unity  in terms of just one group or party, this is not what is meant by unity here. What is implied is that people of various groups or parties, who may differ on matters of details or on some other aspects, should still be able to work together to broadly take forward the agenda of equality, justice. secularism and environment protection, and to protect this agenda from those who have the intention of going in the opposite direction. This broad unity can be established on the basis of working peacefully, not in violent ways. The more broad-based such unity becomes, the more difficult will it be to unleash repression against those who are seen by people in the country and by the wider world to be working on the basis of peace and democracy for justice and equality.

India has a rich tradition of peaceful movements and even though certain governments  in certain phases may be excessively repressive, quite often there is room for democratic peaceful movements and campaigns and this space will become wider if more activists give up the path of violence to join peaceful protests.

Hence whenever conditions are more favorable democratic organizations should help to pave the way for those involved in violent social movements for justice and equality to come to the path of peaceful movements. At the same time there should be reconsideration within violent movements to come to the path of peace and help to contribute to a broad mobilization committed to justice, equality, secularism,  democracy and environment protection. Such a broad mobilization in a very large and important country like ours will not only help to create a better India but will also contribute much to creating a better world in difficult times.

Bharat Dogra is a veteran journalist and author. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children and Planet in Peril.


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