PRECEIVED ROLES OF HINDUISM AND ISLAM REVERSED
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Regiser of citizens throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different. In Washington D.C., 800 Indian Americans, many of whom had driven hours from neighbouring states, assembled at lawns on south side of White House. Marching towards the Embassy, they were supported by police who stopped traffic at junctions to let the kilometre long march pass. When they reached Embassy they were met by twenty to thirty supporters of CAA/NRC. Protestors report that pro-CAA/NRC rally appeared to be assembled by the Embassy as part of its duty towards the government. The disparity in numbers seemed to suggest that the Sangh Parivar’s juggernaut, on the roll since Narendra Modi came to power first time in 2014, might be losing steam in its most prosperous diaspora. In Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco, protests were held outside the Indian Consulates, with Chicago claiming the largest attendance of 3,000-4,000. The spirit of the protests was remarkable. Creative placards and slogans were used by protestors. They sang national anthem and ‘Sare Jahan se Achcha..’ Dalit rights activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan said, ‘The CAA is an integral part of Modi government’s strategy of creating a stateless Muslim population, that can be profiled, treated as second class citizens, and imprisoned in massive detention centres already being built in India.’ She further added, ‘This project may start with Muslims but all caste oppressed communities are at risk as we are the communities in the crosshairs of Hindu nationalists,’ advocating, ‘The time to stop genocide is before it starts.’ If one were to ignore the location, one could imagine that the protests seemed to be taking place in India; the political speeches being made seemed grounded in Dalit and Muslim experience as well as authentically representing the angst of middle class Hindus who felt that the Sangh Parivar does not speak for their understanding of Hinduism. Back in India Shaheen Bagh is multiplying….