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?