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Hum dekhenge……. wo din ke jiskaa waada hai… Shaheen Bagh is hope for future

Shaheen Bagh provides hope for a new
democracy and collective struggle for common good

The sale of national flag is gone
manifold. The reading on Constitution is growing and perhaps for the first time
in history of independent India, the faith in our constitution has grown
tremendously. It was never so much. In fact, those who are supposed to uphold
the constitutional values are actually protecting Manusmiriti and people have
realized now that it is time to reclaim our nation and its symbols from those
who believed in two nation theory and Brahmanical nationalism based on

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah might
have thought that they are on their way to ignite the Hindu masses against the
Muslims but the fact of the matter is in their overzeal they have united India
as never before. Youths are out in the streets and so are students but the
biggest achievements of these protests have been that people have now
understood that mobilisation in the name of religion and
identities without issues has a limitation and it is time to assert ‘Indian’
identity more than anything. Students would not have heard so many quotes of
Baba Saheb Ambedkar or Gandhi which they are reading and listening today.

There is a mood of festivities at the
Jamia Millia
as crowd throng with national flag and diverse posters depicting their fear
about India but it looks after the December 14th assault at the
Jamia Milia, the resolve of the people to reject CAA and NRC has only
strengthened. The best part of this is that police assault on the peaceful
protest at the Jamia only increased people’s support to the movement and the
attempts to create a Hindu Muslim divide actually have now boomeranged.

At the gate of Jamia is the huge banner:
‘We the People’ and everywhere the tri-color flying. The gates also have the
big portrait of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Maulana Aazad and Gandhi ji.  I am happy for Maulana Azad, the legendary
education Minister of India was forgotten and many of the Muslims in the past
blamed him too but today Maulana’s saner voice has become the real guiding
principle of the youths all over the country. Baba Saheb Ambedkar has turned
out to be the real hero of the masses and with him India’s constitution is the
real hope of India.

These protests have truly revealed
the changing nature of India and its youth who are expressing in absolutely
stunning forms. The creativity at these places is unbelievable. Any journey to
Jamia or Shaheen Bagh will give you lot of insight and how movements are built
and could be hugely learning lessons for all particularly the new young.
Perhaps, that is the reason why people from different walks of life thronging
to these places to watch and be part of them. Children are following Kanhaiya
Kumar and every day there is a new kind of ‘azadi’ slogan mostly loudly chanted
by children. You girls with Indian flag painted on their faces proudly claim
India is their land and ‘le ke rahenge azadi’. It looks the fear is gone and
now a revolution in making.

A big banner at the Jamia calls our
Parliament as Hall of Shame and the reference is to the passage of this
completely communal bill both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that made CAB as
CAA. You can see numerous posters depicting Modi and Amit Shah as legion with
Hitler. At Shaheen Bagh, I see two girls with banner: ‘Make Tea not War’ and
the other ‘Bol ke luv Azad hain tere’, the immortal words of revolutionary

The two young women from Jamia who
took on the Delhi police on December 14th brutal oppression became
national icon. It was the women power visible everywhere how these two from
Kerala protected their male colleague from the police brutality. Their posters
are visible everywhere though now more and more women are in the lead. They
shout slogan, they are on strike, they lead in the Dharana at the protest
sites.  Look at the children and women so
proudly and passionately singing the Azadi song. The energy level is
unprecedented. It is signaling something that a change is happening.

It is not a crowed rented to make way
for a political party. The most fascinating part of these protests at Jamia and
Shaheen Bagh is that people have their own understanding. I was amazed to hear
the voices of the old women or dashing Dadis at Shaheen Bagh. I can vouch
Modi’s Minister can’t face the young voices. All those TV wallahs need to visit
and have an open discussion as why are people so upset. No Muslim came out
despite an open war by this government when the Ayodhya verdict happened.
People remained quiet when the triple talaq bill was passed but the citizenship
act has proved the last nail. You can take the community for granted and
intimidate all the time. The attempt to intimidate a community which has been
part and parcel of our freedom movement, our progress whether social or
cultural, will always fail. The rulers need to understand this that they are
not here on a permanent contract and will have to vacate one day. They need to
understand that a country like India will always fight back against any
onslaught on their basic structure.

What Shaheen Bagh saw yesterday on
the 27th or 28th day of its peaceful protests since
December 15th was an unprecedented gathering of people. It is
celebration of a united India. More than one hundred thousand people and crowed
swelled so much so that at the Jamia metro, the metro officials closed the

The best part of these protests is
that they have revived spirit of India as a nation. People have reclaimed our
national symbols which the right wings were misusing and taunting others being
anti-national. Now, you can hear ‘jana gana mana’ our national anthem at the
historic Jama Masjid too. Listen Vande Mataram at the venues where protest
emerged and last night i.e. January 12th was the day when the number
of people at the Shaheen Bagh became historical. More than that you have the
people reciting Kirtans, reading Quran, Gita, Bible and even holding Baba Saheb
Ambedkar’s portrait at the religious ceremony. It was heartening to see how
people have come together and joined hand.

Revolution, they say, must start from
home. In the past we saw movements which were led by political parties or even
student groups and disappeared after some time but for the first time in my
memory, I am visualising a challenge and a change in the social structure too.
Shaheen Bagh protest might look like that against CAA but it has actually
generated a whole young generation which will lead in future. Look at both
Jamia and Shaheen Bagh, the dynamic of the youth filled with idealism as well
as secular nationalism with Ambedkar-Bhagat Singh-Maulana Azad in their hand,
the preamble reading youth, proud of being Indian as well as his Muslim
identity that respect the other identities and ready to work with them for a
common cause in the greater national interest. It makes us all proud that our
future leadership will emerge from these new Youngs and not from the
traditional religious leadership which has so far become virtually redundant or
is playing second fiddle and maybe will have to confine them to the work of
‘deen’ or religion alone.

Our loudest cheers must be for Muslim
girls who are out in huge number and Shaheen Bagh showed that their time has
come to lead and participate in the nation building. They might have come to
protect their own interest but it is also a fact that they have proved that
they have knowledge and are well equipped. Listen to those Dadis who came on the
NDTV prime time and the way they responded was extremely revealing. Even when
they remained quiet on all other issues, the citizenship issues have awakened
these women too and liberation and freedom is now at door. None can take them
for granted. They have proudly kept the flag of democracy and secularism high.
The values of humanity, a concern for their children but above all the
capturing of Indian nationalism which is essential when the nationalism was
used to defame the Muslims and criminalise their youths. The Muslim women
showed that they have mind of their own and can take now the political issues
which were not considered their domain. In fact, what was always needed in all
the platform and which political parties or other Tanjeems could not do on their
own has been achieved here. This is the biggest revolution and it will have
huge impact on our future polity. Muslim women are going to take lead and they
must be provided equal space as they have proved that they can take political
questions and fight politically if any one question their nationalism and
patriotism. This was the biggest challenge and the community at large and women
in particular have shown that they are not going to tolerate slur on their
identity and their Indian identity cannot be taken away by a government which
is five years old.

It is time for political parties,
civil society organisations and even the Muslim organization to capture this spirit and
make it a mission that women’s voices will be there and the best way to defeat
the communal fascist forces in India is to ensure that we respond them
collectively and through our common cultural heritage. Our freedom movement had
lots of problems and issues but its united masses against the British and their
oppression. The fact of the matter is that India’s ruling classes and, in those
matters, castes always sided with the British and got exposed when all people
joined hand to throw them away. Today, the same forces who were siding with the
oppressors are claiming Indian nationalism and it is heartening to see that
people from all walks of life have joining hand and are helping each other.

Shaheen Bagh protests have given a
new hope to us that non-violent democratic protests far away in nondescript
places too can succeed if they are done with conviction as well as commitment
and consistency. A protest which is not being organized in the ‘heart’ of the city
or by the ‘leading’ ‘civil society’ people or religious groups where media
cameras remain all the time and seek different questions. It also shows that
with conviction you can fight against the fatigue. As the government think that
these protests will end because none can fight anything endlessly but that
thought itself has failed now. Shaheen Bagh shows that the women are ready to
take lead and can lead and organize batter. Of course, it is not a feminist war
against men but here women and men are working together. It also reflects that
men have to be part of women’s battle as liberation of women is actually
liberation or azadi of men too. Shaheen Bagh is opening new chapter in the
lives of social movements in India which are impactful. The model will be
replicated by people all over that women will not play second fiddle and we
need to give them space and learn to sit at the back and simply enjoy the dance
of democracy.

The fascist onslaught on our
constitution is now being fought democratically and this fight will also enable
access of women into the huge civil society as well as political space.
Political democracy will only succeed if there is social democracy and social
democracy is impossible unless women be made part of the structure. Shaheen
Bagh is providing the answer. The fight against undemocratic communal fascist
regime can only be fought by a combine might of the people of this country and
the women from Shaheen Bagh have shown us the way. We salute them for giving
people hope in themselves and fighting this battle so bravely in this chilling
cold. Their sacrifices will not go in vain. A new India is emerging and its
inspiration is Shaheen Bagh and the women who have ignited our heart and
revived our hope in democracy and collective struggle for common good till the
goal is achieved as Faiz said : ‘Lazim hai ke hum chi dekhenge, hum dekhenge’.
Wo din ke jiskaa waadaa hai, hum dekhenge.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

हमें गूगल न्यूज पर फॉलो करें. ट्विटर पर फॉलो करें. वाट्सएप पर संदेश पाएं. हस्तक्षेप की आर्थिक मदद करें

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