Speaking truth to power, in Shaheen Bagh and beyond

In a corner of south Delhi, sitting on a main road for the fourth week in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the women of Shaheen Bagh remind me of Ammi, my mother-in-law. Ammi, who was from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, used to remind me of Mataji, my grandmother, who originally belonged to Lahore. One of them was a Muslim woman, the other a Hindu Punjabi.

Reclaiming nationalism at the turn of the decade

In the second half of December, when the spontaneous protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act began, it was hard to imagine how quickly we would find ourselves in an India that seemed to be changing every moment. The first news of protests began to pour in from university campuses and soon there were announcements of protests and rallies in multiple locations in various cities.

Lynching, the scourge of new India

In the years since Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, ugly mob hate has spilled onto the streets, trains and people’s homes. Fevered throngs surround, brutally assault and sometimes kill unarmed men, mostly Muslim. The crowds allege that the men had slaughtered cows, or were thieves; but sometimes their only crime — as when a child was stabbed to death on a crowded train near Delhi — is that they are visibly Muslim.

A flawed process that pleased none

Fear and disquiet have gripped nearly two million residents of Assam, and their loved ones, after their names failed to show up in the final updated list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). But the unremitting tragedy of the Bengali-origin people of Assam is that even those whose names appear on the list have no assurance that they will not be deemed ‘illegal immigrants’ sometime in the future.