A conference at Mumbai, 17–19 December 2009
The second meeting, to be hosted by PUKAR (Partners in Urban Knowledge, Action and Reasearch) and Jnana Pravaha held in Mumbai in December 2009, will bring together artists, intellectuals, activists and media professionals to discuss the meaning and consequences of Gandhi’s institutional and popular presence, historical and current, in the public life of Indian citizens and of India in the world. It will produce a broad discussion about the practice of nonviolence. The recent attacks in Mumbai have horrifically confirmed the city’s place in the world-historical geography of global capital. Responses have ranged from rage at the inadequacy of India’s security state, to the furious condemnation of state-based terror and the mimetic logic it perpetrates, to the shameless obsessions of a news media directed only at publicizing violence in its myriad manifestations. In other words, responses have underlined the fact that the concept of terror structures the contemporary political imagination. There is perhaps no more appropriate a site then to consider the ethical praxis of Gandhian nonviolence. What does nonviolence – as a public, political practice – look like today, as the logic of terror and security monopolizes global vocabularies and sustains the coding of democracy as capitalism? What does the concept of nonviolence do to the contemporary problematics of terror, and how might it revitalize our understanding of democratic habits (too often associated with consumerism)? “The Public Life of Nonviolence” would ask participants to imagine Gandhian disciplines anew, within these emerging twenty-first century frameworks. These interventions will be articulated in formal papers delivered in panel discussion, as well as through art and performance.