December 19, 2021, In the News
The inaugural Swami Agnivesh memorial award was announced by the Hindus for Human Rights, (USA) organization during their annual virtual holiday gala “Celebration of Hope” on December 18, 2021.
“Dhanak of Humanity, a not-for-profit organization comprising of interfaith couples, inter-caste couples, and individuals who believe in Dhanak’s cause is the first-ever recipient as an organization to be recognized with this award for its work.
“Dhanak of Humanity advocates for an individual’s right to exercise their constitutional and human right to choose their partner, whether in marriage or to be in a relationship without having to fear any ill consequences. Founded by a few interfaith couples, Dhanak began as a support group in 2004. It was registered in 2012 under the Societies Registration Act.
“Dhanak has evolved organically, and over the years it has emerged as a champion organization working for an individual’s Right to Choose in matters of Marriage or Relationships, against Religious Conversion for the sake of marriage, against Honour-Based Crimes, and against Forced Marriages in India. Dhanak is the only organization in India working on a spectrum of issues and challenges faced by interfaith and inter-caste couples, LGBTQIA couples, and individuals who choose to assert their autonomy.
“Over the years, Dhanak has touched the lives of over 5000 individuals. Dhanak’s expertise developed based on real-life experiences of struggling couples; be it dealing with their own value system and stereotypes, their families, or with the administration and legal systems.”
Asif Iqbal, co-founder, and Shailaja Rao, a Dhanak member, were present at the virtual event to accept the prestigious award. They expressed their gratitude and reaffirmed their shared vision of working towards achieving a more pluralistic society. Two inter-caste couples and an interfaith couple who received support and guidance from Dhanak were showcased in the event.