The Indian Express - Citizens for Peace 2nd Annual Essay Competition, 2006 is an annual event; a platform for people across the country to express their ideas, opinions and reflections in a spirit of dialogue and shared search for solutions.

The essay contest is dedicated to the broad theme of collectively thinking about how we can build a vibrant secular culture in India.

Last year's topic was simply "A Secular Rethink". This evoked a heartening response from over 600 contestants who sent entries from all corners of the country. Across the board the writers of the essays reaffirmed that the richness of multi-cultural society India is its great strength. Many of the entries also expressed pain and puzzlement about the social conflict and tensions which sometimes threaten to tear our society apart.

This year we are inviting citizens to reflect on the fact that differences of caste1, class and religion are real and cannot be wished away, but must the differences be a problem? How can we evolve ways of living with differences in ways that also ensure social justice and harmony?
Topic for Citizens for Peace 2nd Annual Essay Competition
A Secular Rethink
"Not People Like Us"
A Citizen's Dilemma
An invitation to reflect on the creative challenges of living with differences of religion, caste and class in India. What divides us? What unites us? What makes us citizens first?

Above all, this essay contest is dedicated to the value of free exchange of ideas and aspirations in a spirit of dialogue. In recent times much of our public discourse has been vitiated by people talking at each other, rather than listening to and talking with each other. Our fond hope is that that this year’s contest will bring forth ideas on how our public discourse, and eventually our polity, can have more dialogue than discord.

This essay contest is thus an intrinsic part of the India Empowered process to which The Indian Express has dedicated itself.

The competition for 2006 commenced in June 2006 with a ‘Call for Entries’ from all over the country. These entries have been judged by a panel of respected personalities across industries. The winning entries will be honoured at an Award Ceremony in the second week of November in Mumbai.
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