Bhubaneswar: On the occasion of 85th birth anniversary of noted politician, journalist and founder editor of renowned Odia daily ‘Pragativadi’, Shri Pradyumna Bal, former bureaucrat, author and social activist Harsh Mander on Wednesday opined that lack of solidarity among people is the major reason behind hate attacks, mob lynching and intolerance in the country.
Delivering Pradyumna Bal Memorial Lecture organised at KIIT University here, Mander said there is a rising climate of hate and fear among minorities but surprisingly a majority are silent.
“Now public compassion is nowhere in sight. There is no caring, empathy, love and fraternity as sisterhood and brotherhood. Belongingness is also heading for a slow death. Hate is pervasive everywhere. All of these are rooted in profound failures of solidarity,” he said.
Mander, Director of the Centre for Equity Studies, said India has third largest population of dollar billionaires in the world and also every third malnourished child. He wondered why does not India make necessary investments in elementary education and healthcare? Is it because the poor and low caste do not matter?
“Three normative systems that justify inequality are caste, class and neo-liberalism. But income inequality is the country is compounded by great social inequalities of gender, caste and religious community and also of geography. Birth still determines the destinies of most of the people,” he lamented.
“Still two million people in the country die due to preventable causes. Children are being snatched away, bodies and brains not forming the hopelessness of hunger and dying because of no health care,” he pointed out.
On the occasion, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik presented the Pradyumna Bal Memorial Award to renowned social activist Kamala Pujari of Koraput and best journalist award to Debashish Mishra of Keonjhar. Kamala had brought laurels for Odisha by winning the ‘Equator Initiative Award’ in Johannesburg of South Africa in 2002 for preserving hundreds of indigenous varieties of paddy.
Addressing the gathering Naveen hailed the contribution of Bal for the society and said he had set high standards in both politics and journalism. The CM also appreciated the efforts of Kamala and said the State is proud of her.