As My Country Burns, I Wonder How Long Voices Will Be Suppressed With Tear Gas

Day by day, we are becoming habitual of witnessing protests around the country. It seems as if the pride we felt on India being a culturally diverse country is diminishing. We no longer feel elated with this diversity, we just monger hate all the time.

On Friday, November 13, 2019, teachers and students of Jamia Millia Islamia University held a peaceful protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019. Though the protesters had to march from Jamia to Parliament, they were not even allowed to leave the university by the Delhi Police.

The protest turned into a horrible nightmare when the police used tear gas and lathi-charged the protesters, and the students retaliated by pelting stones. It has been reported that more than 200 students have been detained and many critically injured.

So, this was about the protest. After spectating protests in Kashmir, Assam, Aligarh, JNU, and now in Jamia, seeing people protesting seems completely normal.

Photo provided by author.

But the question is: till when?

Till when are we going to shut the mouth of this country’s citizens by using force on them? A country that was expected to develop more in the coming years is facing severe economic slow-down and an enormous amount of communal hatred.

Kashmir has been detained in a lock down for 5 months now, people are facing financial and mental trauma there, and now we can see the same happening to Assam.

A democratic country allows its citizens to peacefully raise their voice against anything that affects their lives negatively. The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 affects Muslims and the people of the northeast region almost in the same manner. Both these communities face a threat to their existence.

Despite supporting the citizens of our country, those in power are taking complete advantage of our diverse culture. It won’t be inappropriate to state that people have developed a kind of poisonous mindset against each other that’s very difficult to change.

Where Does The Problem Lie?

The sad fact is that out of all the literate people in the country, only 10% are actually literate. Mind you, being literate doesn’t mean carrying a degree or studying in a reputed college or school. You are educated in the right senses when you value humanity, when you value the rights of others as much as you value yours, and when you respect other individuals irrespective of their caste, colour, religion, sex, or orientation.

It’s really disappointing to see that communal hatred is deeply rooted in our society. Why has it become so difficult for us to respect each other’s opinions?

Photo provided by author.

Can We Change It?

Changing the mindset of people is very difficult, but not impossible. We have been taught to hate each other; we have been taught to despise each other. Since, the problem lies in the roots of this society, eradicating it is going to take a lot of time and effort.

The only doubtful question is: who is going to take the first step?

It’s pretty easy, we can start it by changing ourselves. But it is not certain if anyone really will.

Fascism has taken over our conscience, humanity has left our souls. We need each other more than ever, people are getting raped, rape survivors are being burnt alive, two states are under lock down, university students are protesting instead of giving their exams, a recession is about to bring down the economy. The country is burning and we have to admit that we all have failed democracy.

Featured image source: TN Prathapan/Facebook.
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