Raise voice against CAA
The recent Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA)introduced in India sent shockwaves across the country with massive protest breaking out. People also took out rallies to show their support, and all platforms with people sharing opinions.
For the uninitiated, CAA is a new law being passed along with NRC (National Registration Citizenship) in India where documents like voter Id, Passport, PAN cards will no longer be citizenship proof, and one would have to establish citizenship, failing which they are illegal immigrant and put in detention centers. All hope is not lost as long as one is not muslim, as people of other religious beliefs shall be granted citizenship, while muslims fester in detention camps.
Looking back,it's not all surprising as the ruling party re elected with a huge majority in 2019 claims they are merely fulfilling the promises of the manifesto,being true to their word.
Realistically, economic reforms and job growth were the mainstream points during the campaign. However, the Hindu nation rhetoric was not hidden either. So the arguments by BJP are not entirely unfounded, and we need to introspect than blaming the people in power as we handed them the power..
During demonetization in 2016, that affected the poor most, and has been instrumental in the current declining GDP and employment rates, cohort was, few people can be sacrificed for the greater good, same was for riots and hurting religious sentiments.
I never agreed with Modi and anyone I talked politics were aware of my political stance, though I refrained from sharing any views on social media.
Did not utter a word when beef was banned, knowing it was Hindu appeasement and affecting poor farmers who could earn some coinage from the dead cattle. The more frightening aspect of this law was, many Hindus who so far were oblivious about dead cattle now got sensitive about the assault on their religion. These were the same Hindus, who would throw plastic aware that cows choke on it and beat them with sticks to scare them off. How you treat dead body was more vital than how the living is treated. As intended it led to fervor to save one’s religion.
Slowly other Hinduism agendas were being pushed. Zealots would hail these moves on social media and I kept quiet. Name of cities with Islamic connotations were saffronized, as a rectification for past, shows had more stress on cow worship and other Hindu practices....asserting that this was a Hindu nation.
Few of my friends will fight when others hailed these events, post musings on distortion of History. I watched silently.
As to why I never shared my opinion reason was not fear of vitriol by friends who disagree but the futility of the act.
In a little personal History note, I could not change the mind of the person who cared for me as to how and why dowry was fundamentally wrong, so how could my words ever influence religious jingoism and change anyone.
This reticence changed once the secular fabric and the constitution of India was attacked as govt decided to grant citizenship based on religion aka CAA
There was justified outrage and I was seething. Sitting outside the country I felt helpless as I could not even hit the streets and raise my voice. And that is when I was vocal again. Words are all I have, and initially words are all they had. Slowly those ideas of a Hindu nation took form of the demon we see today. We all thought no one pays attention to those rhetorics but people were listening.
Reflecting on my own words, that you can never influence anyone, i look back and think why I see things the way they are. How did I become the person I am today. Because I was influenced, and I did grow up, seeing, listening m reading and on the way forming opinions.
Words are all we have and we should use. I might not have that power of followers or expressions that catch attention, and maybe no one would read , or even if they maybe they might not change , but trying is all I can do and I will.
Ideas are strong. Belief in the ideas and people saying it for a long time has a way of sticking around. Most of the ideas were mocked at the inception. Remember how people laughed when Trump said he will run for President. Slowly that idea engulfed all.
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men! — Wilcox
We all deride Jinnah for the idea of a nation based on religion (the foundation of Pakistan), but same idea of a Hindu nation, on the same philosophy has captured the imagination of a good fraction of Indians.
So I write this article to repent my sins of being quiet, for not raising my voice in the past when each fibre in me knew it was unethical to marginalize a community. I exhort all to not repeat my mistakes. My voice would not have changed anything, and maybe it will not even now. But voice is the only power at our disposal. It’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.
Pen is mightier than a sword
The truth does not change if one person is saying or hundreds, but its voice gets stronger as more people hear and fight for it. It is our onus to raise voice, that we are still secular despite our differences.
What if there is a young mind who is still reading, still wants to decide what is right and wrong. Maybe this is noise to ignore or a gentle nudge in the direction. But try we must or else, we leave behind is a dark tunnel, a path with no lights, a nation with no voice.
Freedom of speech that we fought for, now is the time to use it. Say it even if no one is listening. In a democracy each voice has its place. Value your voice. Our forefathers died so that we could have our voice