The grand parade and military might reflect at the Rajpath on the Republic day are over. The sarkari programme always look without any heart. It is more on presenting your military power as used to happen in the erstwhile Communist countries. Russia still has it, China has it and so many others but democracies if they are true, don’t hold these parades and show of strength. Anyway, it was essential for India to feel good and proud of this. All over the country, Republic Day is basically a ‘sarkari’ programme with President, the governors taking salute, march past and show of military power. Perhaps, in the heart and minds of the old years that a country is powerful because of its armed forces. So, the entire nationality discourse now revolves around the armed forces and not the human being. Even the armed forces, who hail from the common men and women of this country know it well that what they need is respect and solidarity for the millions of those fighting and defending our borders at the extremely adverse circumstances.
What is important about this Republic day
What is important about this Republic day is that the people have snatched the public spaces and first time in Indian history, we are actually having more faith in the Constitution, its preamble and our republican values. The visuals of Shaheen Bagh where the dashing dadis along with courageous mothers of Rohit Vemula and Najeeb hoisted the national flag in front of a massive public actually fade any big celebrations of Republic Day. What a sight? These are people, without any security gazette and no tamasha of ‘power’ assemble and repose their faith in the constitution. The visuals make us proud of Indian who have now taken over their republic and its values.
The people are not merely those of Shaheen Bagh or Okhla or Muslims but they are coming every day from nook and corners of the country to express their solidarity with the hope of the country. Any visit to this site right from Jamia Millia Islamia to Shaheen Bagh give us so much of knowledge and understanding of what India’s youth particularly those from the Muslim community think of and what is their idea of India. This is more than heart-warming that a huge number of these youth are the young girls and women. The visit to this area is an eye opener and can definitely enhance the understanding of the political crisis and the crisis of credibility of the top leadership of the ruling party. These are Indians, argumentative one who share their ideas and thoughts through creative means and it must be appreciated.
And we know how the power work in the 21st century digital age. There is a completely casteist media with deep rooted Brahmanical prejudicers who have already decided to play to the gallerias of the ruling party and make all those who disagree with the government and its leadership as anti-national or urban Naxal.
Now as far as they are reporting, one should not have any concern but what has happened today is that they are not only cooking up stories but deliberately pushing people into aggression so that a police action become inevitable. Look at the mischief maker Chourasia who was standing in front of the crowd and asking all those frivolous questions. Can a media person provoke people while reporting from crowd and if the people ask him or her to leave then they give the argument that they belong to the press.
You have a right to report but you have not got impunity to speak whatever from the place of a protest. It was clear that Chaursia and others are only going there to deliberately create violence and then report from the chaos and anarchy. Terming a whole lot of people, who have been sitting there for over a month, facing the chilled cold of Delhi, with their children, many of them still being breast fed, the likes of Chourasia only wish to strengthen the prejudices against Muslims and all those who are opposing CAA and NRC.
Media watch dogs have become useless these days as the ruling party has created multiple ‘spokespersons’ and want to see your lung power. The fact is that people can ‘identify’ these ‘patrakars’ from the names on their ‘mike’ and their ‘I’ cards.
And it is not that there is one Shaheen Bagh. There are so many. Political parties have taken a back seat as it is youth driven protest and they are learning. Good that in Kerala too political parties are just participating and not ‘dominating’ the discourse. Let these protest provide us a young leadership. Let the youth learn and lead. Don’t allow the para-troopers who want to use this opportunity. It is heartening to see the 650-kilometre-long human chain in Kerala against this. People are reading Preamble. Faiz would never have imagined that his poetry which is a classic would become a roar to protect democracy in India. Now, hum dekhenge is travelling across the country and being translated in so many languages, right from Kannada, Malayalam, Bhojpuri and so many. It has become the voice of the protest.
These protests have a shown us the way that it is the constitution which alone will protect us but I am still afraid that we still have not made constitutional morality as our social morality, our cultural morality. Right now, we are seeking refuge in the constitution because we know it alone will protect us but the real strength of these protests and learning will be when each one of us will say that now onwards, we leave our religious moralities in our home, we agree to disagree in a democratic way.. will India leave the caste supremacy? Will this meetings result in annihilation of caste, the dream which Baba Saheb had for all of us when he envisioned the idea of India, a prabuddha bharat, an enlightened India where we respect individuals and their choices, don’t kill our children just because they love to someone not from their community, where we have right to speech and we are not frightened by criticism, where we do not kill people for eating food of their choice. Will we be able to shed our contradictions?
Will the Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others make the constitution their most ‘holy’ book or after the battle is over, we all go into our shells and start doing what we are best at. back to believing in our caste superiority and not allow any dissenting voices in our communities, not allow women speak up openly or walk openly in the name of customs and traditions.
If Ambedkar is our hero, if Bhagat Singh is our hero then we must be prepared to challenge the historical wrong and question the religious morality along with religious texts and scriptures.
An India of the dreams of Ambedkar Phule-Periyar-Bhagat Singh can only happen when our religious leadership is just at the back, when our youth question wrong, where women are allowed to participate in public life, where the mind is absolutely free from fear and the head is held high, as Tagore said in his immortal words. Let us work towards that India where the leadership is a collective and represent the vast and diverse communities that we have and people do not live-in deep-rooted caste prejudices.
These protests have brought back the spirit of our combined efforts to protect the idea of a secular socialist republic of India.
The youth, the women have given us hope with inspiring struggle and fight, let us more forward now to democratise our society and cultural spaces as political democracy will never succeed as long as we have caste supremacist dominating our social and cultural spaces. Demolition of caste system, therefore, become more important for survival of our democracy and for that all the oppressed from various structures of caste, class, religion, gender, region must join hand and spread their outreach beyond their immediate identities.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat