IDSN Executive Chair and DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma, has been shortlisted for a ‘Secularist of the year 2018 award’ by the The National Secular Society in the UK . The award ‘recognises a campaigner or group for an outstanding contribution to the secularist movement’. The NSS’s council of management selected the shortlist from nominations which were submitted by its members and supporters.


The National Secular Society works for the separation of religion and state and equal respect for everyone’s human rights so that no one is either advantaged or disadvantaged on account of their beliefs. The annual award recognises a campaigner or group for an outstanding contribution to the secularist movement. This will be the 13th time the prize has been awarded.

Ms. Varma has been nominated for her work as Director of Dalit Solidarity Network UK in challenging ‘caste’ discrimination – through research, academic work and public advocacy. The nomination reaffirms her strong expertise in caste-based discrimination issues in the UK and South Asia and her commitment

“I am so honoured to be even nominated for Secularist of the Year 2018. The campaign to end caste discrimination is a global one and we stand side by side in solidarity with so many including the National Secular Society. Caste discrimination is a human rights issue and can only be addressed when it is seen through a lens separate to religion and when the rich and powerful are not the only ones to have the ear of governments.” Said Ms. Varma after the nomination.

The winner of the prize will be announced at the Secularist of the Year luncheon on Saturday 24 March.