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Role of Dissent for a Healthy Democracy

Thursday, May 11, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Description: It is widely acknowledged that reducing the democratic process to a vote is flawed.  The challenge of a democracy is to provide opportunity to every voice in the process of decision making, while also building a consensus to govern. A pluralistic democracy can exist only if there is sanctity for the freedom of expression - of difference, disagreement, and dissent. It is fundamental to the guarantee of  equality and legitimacy to minorities, women, and people divided by class, ethnicity, race, or caste. In listening to the expression of dissent and peoples’ voices, the democratic state protects principles and values intrinsic to democracy, freedom, and justice. 

In her lecture, Aruna Roy will look at dissent and freedom of expression through the lens of the marginalized in a democracy. She will look at the different ways in which dissent manifests itself through the collective; and the creative use of modes in addressing issues of inequality and injustice. She will in particular touch upon the rights-based legislations born of these expressions of dissent.

Short bio: Aruna Roy is a George Soros Visiting Practitioner Chair at SPP. She is also a social and political activist. In 1987, she helped to form the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)* with Shanker Singh, Nikhil Dey, and many others. She is one of the founders of the movement for Right to Information in India, which has been credited for the passage of Right to Information laws in several states including the Rajasthan Right to Information Act that passed in 2000. Aruna Roy was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine in 2011.