It is a little-known fact that the world’s first democracy with statutes, legislative chambers, a judiciary and an executive branch was the ancient Indian city republic of Vaishali in Bihar, North-Eastern India. Thousands of years before that, Indian rishis debated and chronicled subjects as diverse as the decentralisation of power, metaphysical technologies, and humanism.
“[Indians were] a people for ages civilised and cultivated; cultivated by all the arts of polished life, whilst we were yet in the woods. There is to be found an ancient and venerable priesthood, the depository of their laws, learning, and history, the guides of the people whilst living, and their consolation in death; a nobility of great antiquity and renown; a multitude of cities; millions of ingenious manufacturers and mechanics; millions of the most diligent, and not the least intelligent, tillers of the earth. Here are to be found almost all the religions professed by men, the [Hindu], the [Muslim], the Eastern and the Western Christians.”
Edmund Burke, British Statesman & Founding Father of the English Tory & Liberal Movements
India’s long and vibrant tradition of grassroots democracy, dialogue and debate, has been central to her civilisational contributions. This tradition is honoured and amplified at the Festival of Bharat, with a series of scintillating talks, panel discussions, book launches and a flagship live audience debate.
When was the last time you saw an uber-cool Holi party, spine-tingling live musical performances and intellectually stimulating debate at the same festival ?