Current Issue:
no.18, Fall 2000
- Winter 2001

Contributors:
  Zia Mian and A.H. Nayyar
  KN Panikkar
  Feroz Mehdi
  Beena Sarwart
  Parwez Hafeez
  Daya Varma
  Ashim Chatterjee
  Communalism Combat

 

Ceras: A Profile

The South Asian community in Canada is largely organized into national, regional and religious organizations. These tend to reinforce national traditions and habits and function as institutions which make its members feel as if they are living in the countries and communities of their origin. Rarely do they help introduce to Canadian people at large the social structure, the political formations and the economic realities of South Asia in a historical and changing framework.

There are very few organizations in Quebec which operate on altogether different principles. Their activities do not reflect national boundaries. They introduce South Asia to Canada and Canada to South Asians living in Canada. They work within the framework of Canadian society and as an integral part of it. CERAS belongs to this category. It differs from them not in spirit but in its mandate.

First and foremost CERAS believes that national conflicts among the countries of South Asia are detrimental to the progress of the entire region. These conflicts are promoted by sectarian political interests within the countries of South Asia and by the Western powers which dread the emergence of an economic and political equal in a region comprising of former colonies. The fear is real because South Asia does have the resources to do so. However, this requires friendship among South Asian countries, a drastic decrease in military spending and willingness to solve outstanding problems through mutual discussion and cooperation. This possibility exists because there is a historical, social and cultural commonalty among peoples of South Asia; the differences are secondary.

Second, CERAS is a secular formation. Obviously these objectives require absolute rejection of all practices which perpetuate subordination of women whether in the name of culture or religion.

These objectives determine the nature of CERAS programs, which aim at introducing the true and emerging life in South Asia to people of Canada. These principles underlie all programs and activities of CERAS. CERAS believes that these are realistic objectives. The fulfilment of these objectives promises a bright future.

 

 

Objectives

  1. To study, collect and disseminate information on economic, social, political and cultural developments in countries of South Asia as well as on issues related to social justice, democratic rights, women's rights and the environment.
  2. To establish liaison between individuals and organizations in Canada with those in South Asian countries with the purpose of increasing fruitful exchange in various fields.
  3. To organize and participate in discussions and debates, conferences and seminars in order to promote cooperation between Canadian organizations and their counterparts in South Asia.
  4. To promote mutual friendship and cooperation among the countries of South Asia and among communities from that region living in Canada.

Activities

  1. Establish a library with books, magazines and documentary films about South Asia with the view of serving as a resource centre.
  2. Organize workshops, conferences, and seminars on relevant themes concerning the economic, political, social and cultural facets of South Asia.
  3. Prepare a directory of experts in different fields who can serve as a source of in-depth information as well as consultants for joint ventures between countries of South Asia and Canada.
  4. Research and publish articles, newsletters and other material on development issues in the sub-continent.
  5. Act as liaison between women's and grassroots non-governmental organizations in South Asia and similar groups in Canada.
  6. Organize educational trips to South Asia.
  7. Develop programs to promote mutual friendship and cooperation among different countries of South Asia and among communities from different South Asian countries in Canada.

 

 
   
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