Centre for study of Society and Secularism (CSSS)

Project Theme

Youth and Active Citizenship

Target Group


Project Period

04 Jul 2015 - 04 Dec 2015

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CSSS is an organization founded by Late Asgar Ali Engineer who was a social reformer.  CSSS strength lay in research and training and is connected nationally through their trainings.  CSSS was set up to undertake serious academic studies and link up with activists engaged in redefining the concept of secularism for a cohesive society.  They bring out two publications ‘The Indian Journal of Secularism’ which is a quarterly which contains a a wide range of articles, research papers with focus on secular and communal problems from the historical, political economic, cultural and sociological perspectives and a fortnightly called Secular Perspective. 


The objectives of the organization are

  • To spread the spirit of Secularism and communal harmony and social peace 
  • To study problems relating to Communalism and Secularism 
  • To organize inter-faith and ethnic dialogue and justice 


About the Project:

  • Specific problems and issues exist (bulleted points) - Scenario if we do not intervene and work in the specific area (bulleted points): 
  • Lack of meaningful  interventions with Youths on secular issues and history
  • Lack of spaces for meaningful engagement of communities in peace and justice issues 


Specific Objectives

  • The project aims to reach the uninitiated youths in colleges and communities and encourage them to understand diversity, syncretic  culture and promote peace and justice issues.  
  • To  create spaces for celebrating diversity and deliberate on peace issues 


Impact of running this project

  • Last year the Oxfam India supported 5 Peace Centre.  Oxfam India is withdrawing from the project due to resource crunch.  
  • The project initiated study classes, discussion dialogues with plural communities, diversity walks, cultural shows, sufi music nights, talks on national figures like Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh, Exhibitions and documentary shows on peace and harmony.  
  • The biggest success of the project was to rekindle the work around peace and creating a dialogical space where one could understand and relate to each other without bias.  


Outcomes/Achievements so far:


Celebration of national and religious holidays:  

Bringing children and youth from different communities together on days like Gandhi Jayanti, Diwali, Eid and Christmas, amongst other days, encourages them to interact with each other and helps them forge bonds of respect and harmony.


Seminars that discuss communal harmony have facilitated the exchange of ideas and knowledge amongst participants. 

Study Circles

Study Circles encourage the youth to read and build perspectives and exposes them to perspectives that differ from theirs. This has helped them be aware of and accept multiple views.  

Cultural Programs and Theatre

Engaging youth in music and dance helped increase the outreach of the project and the ease of spreading the message of diversity, while encouraging their participation. 

Theatre is being used as an effective means of encouraging the youth’s enthusiasm as well as helping them hone and discover their talents. Theatre also helps to easily break barriers like religion and language. 

Film Festivals

Screening of socially relevant films followed by discussions help develop perspectives that respect democracy and secularism. It also encourages critical thinking amongst communities. 

Diversity Walks

Increased sensitivity for cultural diversity. Diversity walks take youth and children through the various diverse cultural sites in their own locality and sensitize them to the cultural and religious beliefs and traditions of people of different communities. 

School Programs (painting, poster making, poetry, music, dance competitions)

Inculcating mutual respect and cultural sensitivity at an early age. Engaging school children in various such activities gives them a platform to not only hone and present their talents and skills, but also gives them an opportunity to interact closely with children from different communities and encourages them to form perspectives that are based in equality and respect for all.