I am the truth… as well as you…

Anti CAA protests, December 2019, India

While I was visiting India recently, I had the chance to see the BJP in action as the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed and made into an Act, the CAA. Many have argued that the Hindu Rashtra or State characterizing the government of Narendra Modi/Amit Shah is  neo-liberal in its economic ideologies, alliances, and practices while increasingly baring its Hindu nationalist and Islamophobic agenda through measures of nation building that rival those of Hitler himself. 

https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/caa-npr-nrc-confusion-connection-explained-india-1631534-2019-12-26

https://thewire.in/rights/caa-india-refugees

Privileging a hierarchical religion such as Hinduism with its attendant spiritual division of labour and classed practices, the Modi regime has already been associated with an upper-class/caste alliance spoken of as “savarna” by a new activist generation of those who claim to follow Babasaheb Ambedkar, author of the Indian Constitution and a spokesperson on behalf of the Dalit (or “out caste” /untouchable ) communities. 

This group has raised critiques about the ways in which the Hindu caste system is oppressive towards those from lower and untouchable castes, as well as the ways that current political parties and the Indian goverment itself is trying to manipulate and foster Islamophobic sentiment through its  constitutional actions on the CAA and in the occupation of Kashmir.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/un-voices-concern-over-violence-in-india-against-caa-urges-respect-for-freedom-of-expression-119121800684_1.html

 Their critque of Hinduism as oppressive structurally and spiritually has most clearly been displayed in the new demographic juggling of this neo-fascist regime through the imposition of a National Register of Citizens (NRC) on one hand, making it mandatory to be inscribed for citizenship, in contexts where documents are non-existent or next to impossible to obtain, and “proof” of citizenship must be submitted — and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which will consider the migration and refugee rights of non-Muslims coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan as valid while singling out Muslims for rejection. 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-is-the-un-body-that-has-criticised-india-for-new-citizenship-act-6167392/

These two elements of the Modi government’s internal policy dovetail nicely with its hegemonic plans for Kashmir, which is a pawn and hostage of a cold-war like enmity between nuclear powers, India and Pakistan.

Reading these politcal and ideological moves  with  an eye to the BJP’s closeness to Donald Trump of the United States and with Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the spectre of Hindu Fascism as government seems to be upon India. 

Opponents of the Act and the NRC, come from a vast range of occupations, social classes,  regions, language groups, and religions— while they may not see eye to eye on all issues, the coherency of a secular response to religious totalitarianism is hearteningly diverse. 

Anti-CAA protests, India, 2019

Luckily, Indians still feel some connection with their Constitution and see themselves as heirs of a secular polity in which equality is an aspirational, if not presently practiced, value. 

https://scroll.in/video/948253/we-the-people-naseeruddin-shah-reads-the-preamble-tm-krishna-sings-the-national-anthem

That is why you won’t see “only” Muslims protesting the CAA, but Indians of all faiths, whether nominal or followed. 

Here, Jadavpur University Students adapt the Italian anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao” to the current circumstances.

Here, the poem, “Hum Dekhenge” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, which bears witness to the military government of Pakistan is sung to bear witness to the Modi regime. The song was sung at IIT Kanpur to show solidarity with the students attacked at Delhi’s Jamia Miliia Islamia University in December of 2019. 

We shall Witness

It is certain that we too, shall witness

the day that has been promised

of which has been written on the slate of eternity

When the enormous mountains of tyranny

blow away like cotton.

Under our feet- the feet of the oppressed-

when the earth will pulsate deafeningly

and on the heads of our rulers

when lightning will strike.

From the abode of God

When icons of falsehood will be taken out,

When we- the faithful- who have been barred out of sacred places

will be seated on high cushions

When the crowns will be tossed,

When the thrones will be brought down.

Only The name will survive

Who cannot be seen but is also present

Who is the spectacle and the beholder, both

I am the Truth- the cry will rise,

Which is I, as well as you

And then God’s creation will rule

Which is I, as well as you

We shall Witness

It is certain that we too, shall witness

Translation courtesy – http://ghazala.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/hum-dekhenge/

https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/is-faiz-ahmad-faiz-s-poem-hum-dekhenge-lazim-anti-hindu-iit-kanpur-panel-to-decide/534362

Shaheen Bagh, January 2020, Kaushalya Bannerji

And that is why, in spite of police violence and attempts to stir up riots by the Hindu right, in spite of the sulpherous whiff that reminds one of Germany in the 1930s, residents of India both there and abroad are raising their voices, taking to the streets, and stopping work on January 8th’s General Strike, called by the Indian trade union movements and an alliance of left-wing parties.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/left-parties-seven-day-nationwide-protest-caa-january-1-1631838-2019-12-27

https://www.businessinsider.in/business/news/trade-unions-to-go-ahead-with-jan-8-general-strike/articleshow/73087570.cms

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/04/india-hyderabad-protest-against-citizenship-law

https://scroll.in/video/948869/watch-horrifying-violence-in-delhis-jawaharlal-nehru-university-as-masked-mob-attacks-campus?fbclid=IwAR0Box2-KtJ0FgAFhkfhZIfaDLoNsJ5JsWyMbiPrJJmG9IZ1w91TXEhrgCg

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/06/students-injured-in-india-after-masked-attackers-raid-top-university

If you’ve been moved by this activism for a more inclusive, secular and democratic India, please add your name to the petition below!

http://chng.it/6ygzzRwkZW

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