• meeting 2015 in Kathmandu november 2013

last modified October 23, 2013 by facilitfsm

Another South Asia is Possible!

Call for South Asian social forum (SASF) process meeting:

8 November 2013 in Kathmandu.

Dear friends,

This is quite heartening to note that organizations in India have proposed a South Asia Forum to be held in Lucknow, UP, in February 2014. They have also expressed interest in hosting the World Social Forum in India in 2015.

Millions of people in the South Asian region have been part of forum events and processes in the past decade. Earlier social forum events in the region included an Asian Social Forum in Hyderabad, India on 2-7 January 2003, the 4th World Social Forum in January 2004 in Mumbai, an edition of the Polycentric World Social Forum in Karachi, Pakistan on  January 24th to 29th, 2006. On November 9-13, 2006 an Indian Social Forum event was held in Delhi. The first South Asia Social Forum was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh  on November 18 to 22, 2011.

Social forum processes have proved to be fairly popular, an open space where activists from peoples movements, NGOs, political parties, cultural groups, trade unions, women, dalit and indigenous movements have participated in large numbers in almost all corners of the region.  Alliances have been formed, experiences shared, strategies formulated, ideas exchanged. There has been contention and debate, and there have been friendships formed and strengthened across borders. Although we observe a lack of continuity and cohesion in social forum discourses in South Asia, still we get enthused in viewing its promising potential. The call for another South Asian Forum gives us all an opportunity to renew and revitalize this valuable space for South Asia.

The current conjuncture in South Asia makes it imperative for cross border solidarity, for common perspectives, and action. The forcible occupation of Afghanistan, the mindless continuing drone attacks, the increasingly cruel aggression by the Taliban forces, and the permanent tensions on the India- Pakistan border, and between the two countries have not shown improvement in the last decade.  The indiscriminate and ruthless killing of Tamil civilians in the Srilankan state’s war against insurgency has resulted in a lasting sense of bitterness and betrayal in the collective consciousness of Tamils everywhere.  People of the South Asian region and beyond are trying to build, protect and sustain a democratic fabric in the face of religious fundamentalist and sectarian forces.  In the Maldives, the ouster of the democratically elected Nasheed government, and the crushing of the Maldivian peoples right to elect a govt of their choice represents an ongoing crisis of democracy. In Bangladesh, the secular and democratic forces are battling those who seek to destroy peace and stability in the country through inhuman forms of violence in the name of religion. The conspirators are bent upon undoing the much awaited trial of the perpetrators for crimes against humanity related to 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh In Nepal the people have been struggling to build a strong democracy after the overthrow of monarchy in 2008. To South Asia’s shame, it is regarded as the most unsafe region to be born a woman. To South Asia’s shame, it is regarded as the most poverty-stricken area of the globe.

In India, while right wing, communal sectarian forces are gaining strength, solidarity among peoples movements is lagging behind, leaving a gap which constitutes a great danger to the effectiveness of all peoples movements of the marginalized in the country.  The economic ascendance of India has meant increased class and caste disparities, more state repression and denial of human rights, unmitigated violence against women and minorities, and the ruthless exploitation of common peoples and natural resources in the name of glaring development.

The need for South Asian solidarity has never been as critical, or conversely, more achievable. The SASF in Dhaka saw the registration of 1244 foreign participants from 44 countries and 2555 local organizations, besides several thousand other delegates including students.  The SASF in Lucknow will take forward this process, and hopefully see even more participation.

To reiterate the words from the Charter of Principles of the World Social Forum:

The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a global society directed towards fruitful relationships among humankind; between it and the Earth…………….The alternatives proposed at the World Social Forum stand in opposition to a process of globalization commanded by the large multinational corporations and by the governments and international institutions at the service of those corporations' interests, with the complicity of national governments. They are designed to ensure that globalization in solidarity will prevail as a new stage in world history. This will respect universal human rights, and those of all citizens - men and women - of all nations and the environment and will rest on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples.

The SASF preparatory meeting in Kathmandu will discuss the proposal to hold the event in Lucknow, and the renewal and revitalization of the social forum process in the region. All organizations are welcome to attend.  Organisations from outside South Asia are also encouraged to participate.

Meeting venue:  Hotel Hardik, Bagbazaar, Kathmandu.   mail : toinfo at hotelhardik.com

Rooms are available @1000-1500 Nepalese rupees (per night) at the above hotel.

Contact details for enquiries in Kathmandu: Sishir : +97714248332

In solidarity



1/5 B Block, 2nd floor, Lalmatia , Dhaka 1207, Bangladesh

Cell Number: +8801711806054