SHIMLA: Laying stress on the need to recognise the concept of multiple identities for any meaningful effort to find a way forward in forging national integration, senior CPI(M) leader and MP Mr. Sitaram Yechury today said communalism seeks to impose religious uniformity and failure to recognise the reality of multiple identities will only result in imploding of the society. In his inaugural address kicking off the three-day national seminar on “National Integration and Multiple Identities: Dialectics of Inclusiveness and Exclusion in Indian Society” at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Mr. Yechury donned his academic avatar, quoting from India’s syncretic traditions to stress that the intellectuals need to pick up the threads of these traditions and build on the bonds of commonality to preserve national integrity... Mr. Yechury, though expressing happiness at the chance to speak on meaningful issues other than the Indo-US nuclear deal, did refer to the raging controversy over Ram Setu and pleaded with the intellectuals to help separate theology from philosophy and guard against mythology being treated as philosophy. “The process of national integration is not just a recognition of multiple identities but also granting the space for it…Modernity is equality of opportunity to all,” Mr. Yechury said.
Referring to himself, Mr. Yechury said he is a Telugu by birth, was born in an Andhra Brahman family (”I did not have a choice,” he chuckled), born in Chennai in the then Madras General Hospital, was educated in Hyderabad, a city with a matrix of Islamic culture, studied at St Stephens and JNU in Delhi and was elected from Kolkata. “This is the reality of multiple identities, but the question is not of the validity of the identities but a recognition that we have to live in the reality of multiple identities and to learn to reach a confluence rather than impose uniformity,” he said. Mr. Yechury, a key player in the coalition politics of the country, said the very concept of coalition did not signify a regression of democracy but was rather a symbol of thriving democratic tradition reflecting the reality of multiple identities. Prof K.Ramakrishna Rao, Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, who played a key role in getting the top shots of the intellectual world to come together for the national seminar, welcomed all participants by My Himachal News bureau on: September 14, 2007