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. Both of them gave me a sense of secure belonging that has sustained me emotionally. I had known both of them only as elderly women and, to my eye, they looked remarkably alike. They had the same talents with embroidery, managing kitchens that served elaborate feasts regularly, and intuiting the needs of others. They were creative and strategic. They governed their worlds quietly from the background and knew when a crisis needed them to cross invisible boundaries and step into the foreground. Read More