As the country offers stiff resistance to the government’s agenda of polarizing the society, the factors at play are not confined to persecution of religious minorities alone. It is a multipronged attack aimed at dividing the country and its people at several levels, each one more destructive than the other. With more than ten protesters dead in the process, the resistance is turning out to be a bloody one, with the government unleashing its police force on its own citizens, with the leaders issuing statements where ‘revenge’ is a word used with absolute callousness, and citizens are targeted and surveyed for acts of ‘sedition’.

Today we see youngsters, people from every corner of the country playing active roles in fighting off the toxic powers that have the potency to destroy the land, the fragile webs of power balanced delicately over the decades since independence. While the government tested the waters, the latest being the abrogation of Article 370, a large majority of the population remained silent. NRC in Assam too did not see any resistance, pictures of detention camps were widely shared on social media, yet the responses were either lukewarm or tacit compliance.

Things changed overnight with the introduction of the bill, which has the potential to create schisms within the society. As one reads the Citizen Amendment Act along with National Registry of Citizens, one sees the toxicity of thoughts and the agenda of splitting up the nation into not only Muslim and non-Muslim, but also into various categories and classes, stripping several of them of their identities and rights and thereby decimating them as social beings extremely vulnerable to violence and annihilation.  Home Minister’s words, in several interviews only confirms this, as he repeatedly mentions with the arrogance of power, that religious identity will be a deciding factor in NRC and similar activities. Moreover, no one can be an Indian citizen until and unless one provides the required documents that prove one’s citizenship by birth in this land. This becomes a huge responsibility when you are a Muslim, especially when the environment has been rendered extremely hostile for them through the implementation of CAA.

This act is the first tentative step taken by the government towards establishing a nonsensical dream of the ruling party, the Hindu Rashtra. The myth of the Hindu nation is not merely one of religious nature, it is also one of class hierarchy. The creation of this land for the Hindus is rooted in segregation of the religious and economic kind. Once the process of creating a national registry is set in motion, the consequences will be disastrous. The upper-class Hindu and the Muslim will have the means and the power to forge documents and establish their identity and citizenship easily in this nation where nepotism and corruption rules supreme. The people left out in this conundrum will be the poorest of the poor, with no means to establish their identity as citizens. Hindus will not be spared in this, as is already visible in the case of Assam. The poorest among the Hindus living on the streets, in the metropolitan cities, or in the remotest villages of the country will find it difficult to trace their roots and convince the authorities, since they are illiterate and has little awareness about this extremely complicated process. Aadhar and other documents will not help them in this crisis.

Then, what is the agenda? Is it merely to divide the country and strive towards the dream of the Hindu nation? Or is it to annihilate the poor, who are neither consumers of the corporates who fund the government nor tax-payers for the government? The age of the Anthropocene is also the age when man decides the future of the human population, designs it in such a way that it serves to satisfy the greed of the neoliberal capitalist structures that shape the governments across the world.

The protest, therefore, is not just to uphold the values that are enshrined in the constitution, it is also an act of resistance against the devious schemes of the government that has been stoking hatred against the Other. Identifying the Other, isolating them, stripping them of citizenship and then destroying them – all these are acts of crime, yet are presented before the public for validation in the name of the Promised Land of Hindus.

The protest is thus also a necessity, a demand that the moment claims from its citizens. No doubt, it will be a prolonged one, since power is arrogant and brutal, especially when the government has time and again refused to respect the Constitution or uphold the values that has held this country as a single entity through the past decades.

Swapna Gopinath, currently a Fulbright fellow at the University of Rochester, NY.


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