I would rather watch a youtube video than write this blog.
Because it is so much more difficult to speak about the country and think through what I am going to write. The pressure of being judged, or the anxiety of not being heard already feels devastating. There is so much inertia because of all these things, my brain feels really slow, unlike my usual enthusiastic self.
And yet, there is a pressing need to lodge this chapter of my life somewhere. There is a need to express my opinion. Hence I must write irrespective of everything.
Another thing I want to mention is that I waited for two days to calm down. I thought it was important because as I am growing older, I realise that an angry person cannot solve things. Anger perhaps, emerges out of an inability to communicate effectively and that’s the last thing I intend to do at this hour.
I was in Kuwait for the past couple of months and while I was there, I heard about the NRC and the CAA. I read-up a lot about the reactions from the east and opposition from the centre and a wave of protest that was rising in the country. My parents informed me over phone-call that my house-help had gone back to her native place. The pantry guy at Kuwait office kept asking me why certain people were being thrown out of India.
What was happening to India? And these talks of authoritarianism and Hindutva, I was hearing from global news houses? What did they mean?
I felt responsible for it in some sense because I was representing my country in a different land. I told the pantry guy to calm down and stop watching things on whats-app and youtube. I asked him to read-up from the right resources.
After I came back to India for good (4 days back), I started speaking to people of both inclinations, reading articles to try and understand what these proposals really were, the facts around these, the history, the urgency of it. A lot of it made sense, everything felt justified, provable.
But despite all facts and all rationale, by the end of my research, something felt terribly off. Like a breach of something really fundamental. There seemed to be no fact or historical evidence that could counter this feeling. Everyone who was in support of NRC + CAA event, kept countering me with everything else but the answer to this question —
What happens to the people who will be out of the NRC and don’t get the citizenship because of CAA?
Whenever I asked this directly, my question would be countered with facts around religious persecution and a particular group not being minority in the neighbouring states and history and bla what-not. As if all these facts make it okay for these people to be in detention camps. To be afraid of their future, and live a certain life because they belong to a certain religious group?
Why were they were never asked this when they entered the country? Why are they at receiving end of all this? It feels terrible to be in their shoes right now. To feel what they might feel — an existential crisis that can go really deep into ones soul, and hurt, and lead to grim things.
And then I hear a lot of this —
“Chalo theek hai jo hua so hua. Tab nahin tha…ab ho raha hai. Kabhi na kabhi to hona hi tha”
“To hone do jo hona hai inka?”
Put them in detention camps and let them live as second grade humans and someone else just walks away with a citizenship because they are, by gods grace from another community? Why? They have already spent a lot of time here, does that mean nothing to us, the fact that some one probably grew-up, grew old, got married, had children on this land?
Some counter my thoughts by saying that the NRC would take years, and everyone will manage, government would ensure things are done in a right manner. So why aren’t my elected representatives talking about it directly?
I am not opposing CAA or NRC. What I am against is discrimination based on religion. I am against this lack of empathy that is being shown under the garb of historical facts and figures. I am completely against this form of persecution. It is inhuman (it is also religious in nature). And it defies the very essence of Indianness I was raised with.
And that is precisely what is fundamentally wrong.
I would respect and support a leadership that sends across a strong message of one-ness and inclusivity, that looks at the present and works for the future. That ensures that human lives are valued beyond everything. That answers questions in a way that it reinstills faith and confidence in their people.
So my request to my leadership is, let’s re-look at the solution. Let’s ensure that no one feels excluded today, let’s make laws that don’t hurt the people who are already inside and living, but for those who will come in after this law is passed. Let’s communicate it to everyone in a way that makes them feel assured and not threatened for life.