ViBGYOR 2017 | Focus of the Year

Focus Theme 2016 – CELEBRATING CULTURAL DIVERSITY With globalization and the rise of various revivalist movements across the world, the idea of culture as a tool of integration has taken a backlash. Today, culture is often perceived as dividing than uniting peoples and communities. Search for cultural purity is celebrated as the latest trend in different intersections of the society, especially in the religious and religious fundamentalist quarters.

A harmful nostalgia for an essentialist, ideal past is consciously planted in the minds of people under the cover of nationalism and patriotism; a smart way indeed to cover up the prejudices, discriminations, oppressions and violence that have unfortunately marked the histories of almost every nation. Subsequently, emotions flare up, intolerance rises, and violence outbursts; liberal thoughts, pluralism and scientific temper suffer.

Across the globe, we have been witnessing horrific aftermath of the heinous acts perpetuated by fundamentalist and separatist forces that impose fatwas on simple, peace-loving followers of faith. Everyday, thousands of refugees are knocking at the gateways of European countries, seeking asylum in fear of Islamic extremists in their homelands.

Intolerance is most pronounced when it comes to matters concerning identity- of religion, caste, language, region, ethnicity et al. Cultural purists being installed at the helm of the society, intolerance for diverse ideas and practices has become rampant in India and in South Asia at large. Hence the ever-escalating list of things or practices banned and dissenting voices silenced by the State and fundamentalist forces. It is sad to see the resurfacing of age-old superstitions and regressive customs that modernity had vigourously fought against.

Religious aggression and persecution have been spreading perniciously in India, spearheaded by fascist forces that incite violence against minorities and unabashedly resort to mob justice. This raging intolerance has ben the culprit in the murder of writers and rationalists like Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare, M.M.Kalburgi. Exclusive policies have taken extreme steps as evident in the schemes of the fundamentalist groups mobilizing innocent citizens into a faceless mob and mutating into movements like ghar wapsi and love jihad.

The present regime in India with its Hindu fundamentalist ideology, to a great extent, is responsible for polarising Indians in the name of religion, caste, language, food, clothing and all basic realms of life. The State has more than ever intervened and imposed itself in the educational sector, carrying out a hidden, separatist agenda. Many eligible people have been ousted from key positions in premier institutions and the constitutional ideals of secularism and free speech have been thrown out, spreading hatred against those who do not adhere to the majoritarian slogan, ek bharat, shresht bharat .

As in the past ten years, at the 11th edition of the ViBGYOR International Short and Documentary Film Festival, we decide to boldly stand for upholding plurality and diversity, challenging all attempts at fostering purist and essentialist mono-cultural ideals and agendas. A single, monolithic India is a myth and a falsehood. We at ViBGYOR, believe in and celebrate `many Indias’, enthralled by all different hues and colours. We wish to extend solidarity to our sisters and brothers in our neighbouring nations in South Asia, and all brethren all over the world, who fight against fundamentalist and fascist regimes and forces.

In order to translate our aspirations and anxieties into a meaningful, proactive project, we have chosen Celebrating Cultural Diversity as the special Focus theme and Co-Existence as the campaign theme for the 11th edition of ViBGYOR.