On the 21st of October 2014, the Political science association organized a lecture by Dr. Amir Ali (JNU) on the topic ‘Multiculturalism over the decades: Recurrence, Resurgence, and Reversal.’ The talk was attended by over 60 students.
Ali used the 1970s as the hinge period as this decade saw several important occurrences such as the Iranian Revolution, Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, elevation of John Paul 2 to the Papal office, Margaret Thatcher becoming the new Prime Minister of UK etc. Dr. Ali spoke of the four forms of citizenship as described by T.H Marshall and how the rise of multiculturalism coincided with the decline of the fourth strand of citizenship i.e. social citizenship.
Dr. Ali spoke of the cosmetic and superficial affirmations of liberal multiculturalism and how they not only fail to locate the root of conflict but also lead to the Ghettoization of communities. He spoke of several provisions that various post-colonial countries like ours deliberated over, in order to protect diversity and minority groups. These provisions were incredibly progressive and were in vogue in the western world several decades later.
He concluded his speech by pointing out how in the 21st century there has been a decline in multiculturalism, especially since the superficial liberal version of multiculturalism failed to make deep inroads into our political consciousness. Ideas of national security and self-preservation have led to violation of various civic, political and social liberties of the citizens and in such a climate it has become impossible to foster multicultural harmony.
– Neha Dewan.