Some of us who have been involved in the anti-communal movement in India for over 15 years, were totally shaken by the Gujarat carnage 2002. After spending over a year in Gujarat and witnessing the brutalities we realised that it was not possible to counter the communal violence without a concerted effort to counter the hate ideology itself. Initially three senior activists Prof. KN Panikkar, Harsh Mander and Shabnam Hashmi came together to form ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) in the first week of March 2003.
ANHAD was conceived less as an organisation and more as a platform and a very loose absolutely action oriented movement. ANHAD is neither a structured and highly resourced organisation nor a centralised movement capable of large-scale popular mobilisation. It, however, tries to combine the elements of both by collaborating with existing organisations and movements and by undertaking local level activities. The former enables ANHAD to develop creative co-operation with people’s organisations and social movements working in different areas of social, cultural and political concerns, the latter opens up for secular mobilisation the space hitherto uncolonised by communalism.
Anhad is registered as a trust and has seven trustees.
- K N Panikkar, historian and social commentator, Founding Trustee
- Harsh Mander, activist and writer, Founding Trustee
- Saeed Akhtar Mirza, film maker and writer, Trustee
- Ram Puniyani, activist and writer, Trustee
- Dhruv Sangari, sufi singer, Trustee
- Shabnam Hashmi, social and political activist, Founding and Managing Trustee