Campaign to Defend Constitution Launched

Watan Ki Raah Mein, Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan was launched on 1st May 2024 in Delhi, both on the ground and online.

Constitution of India

Various civil society groups and individuals came together to conduct a massive campaign across all 7 constituencies of Delhi. The aim is to defend the Constitution and Democracy and to defeat the undemocratic forces that are spreading hatred and communalism in society! This campaign is also about educating the citizens about the importance of their vote and the power that they have to overturn a government if they are dissatisfied with its policies.

The main tool of communication is a two-page leaflet in the form of a letter from a granddaughter to her grandmother. In the letter, the young girl expresses her anguish about what she is seeing around her. All the major issues facing the country are woven into the narrative. The distribution of this leaflet started on the morning of 1st May and will continue till May 23; the campaign plans to reach as many areas and to as many voters as possible.

During the online launch, Prof. Mridula Mukherjee, Dr. Syeeda Hameed, Dr. John Dayal and Prof. Gauhar Raza spoke of the need and importance of a civil society campaign.

The event began with Prof Mridula Mukherjee speaking about the importance of the citizens rising against the hatred being spread in the country. She said that secularism and democracy go hand-in-hand; there can be no democracy without secularism, and no secularism without democracy; she prefers, therefore, to use the term ‘secular democracy’ when speaking about it.

Dr Sayeeda Hameed spoke about how touched she was by the letter of the little girl. The letter took her back to her first experience of communal violence. Dr Hameed also spoke of how important it is at this juncture to fight the forces of communalism.

Dr John Dayal mentioned the threats that Delhi schools had received in the morning; and how the purported email to the schools had mentioned jihadis. This was a clear attempt at polarisation and aimed to create fear among the people. It also worked to distract from the recent events when the ruling party had received bad press about Prajwal Revanna, the Election Commission data and the Covishield vaccine. He reiterated that he is determined to work with the Watan ki Raah Mein campaign on the ground so as to inform and influence the people about the importance of casting their vote.  

Prof Gauhar Raza, who is also the author of the letter around which this campaign revolves, said during the launch today that there is one right that our Constitution has given to each one of us, a right by which every citizen of our country stands equal. This is our Right to Vote. And he exhorted each one to exercise our right!

Three young students Zoya, Sohani Mohan and Zuha read out the leaflet (the letter).

Anita Chettiar, Ayesha Khan, Mohd Taqi, Nadeem Akhtar, Rajendra Kumar, Shameera Ashroff shared their experiences of the ground campaign from East, North East, North West, West, New Delhi, Chandni Chowk and South Delhi constituencies. Leena Dabiru spoke about the massive data that she, along with Bhavna Sharma and Mansi Sharma, have compiled, mapping every single constituency. Bhavna Sharma spoke about the fact that the campaign is 100% voluntary and invited people to join the campaign as well as support it financially, especially in the printing of the leaflets.

Shabnam Hashmi spoke about the other elements of the campaign including production of reels, music videos and a comprehensive social media campaign that is in the offing. She mentioned that there were many people who are contributing to its many aspects, including creative inputs by Lokesh Jain, Rajnish, Puneet Sharma and Rakesh Andania.

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