It is Ten Years Since…
Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT)
New Delhi, India 46092
One of Donald Trump’s many false claims is that he is a champion of religious freedom. He is now claiming that Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, also supports freedom of religion. This assertion comes in the midst of ongoing violent demonstrations in India — which were also taking place during Trump’s visit — in which at least 38 people have died, hundreds injured, and a mosque defiled. The Intercept described mobs of Hindu supremacists and the police confronting Muslims protesting India’s new Citizenship Law that threatens their status as equal citizens, based on their religion. Both Trump and Modi share an anti-Muslim position.
India’s constitution asserts that it is a secular nation [i.e. separation of church and state]. So does the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s ongoing attempts to merge Christianity with U.S. law, threatens our secular tradition, just as India’s new Citizenship Law clearly violates theirs.
CSPG’s Poster of the Week features Safdar Hashmi (1954-1989), an activist with the Student Federation of India, communist playwright, and labor activist, who was murdered by government thugs while performing political street theater. He was 34 years old and has become an icon for secularism in India.
The poster says,
“Are we going to sing songs during the time of struggle?
Yes, we are going to sing the songs about struggle.”
“It is ten years since...we pledged to continue our struggle for freedom of expression to defend our secular tradition and to create alternative culture.”
This poster, and 90 others supporting secularism in India, were sent to CSPG in 2001 by Shabnam Hashmi, a social and human rights activist and Safdar Hashmi’s sister. After government thugs repeatedly attacked the SAHMAT offices, she sent the posters to CSPG, believing that they would be safer here than in India. We are honored to include them in our archive.
She did not anticipate a Donald Trump. Neither did we.