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Opinion: The Passing Of Citizenship Bill Signifies We Have Failed Our Constitution

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The power of words seems redundant today and I am left feeling linguistically challenged. The two Big Gujaratis of our times have managed to uproot and axe that idea of a secular and united India, which the two Gujaratis of the 20th century, had lovingly planted. At the stroke of the midnight hour, the Honourable President of India just lost all the honour one should ideally have for a person of his stature, as he gave his assent to the fissiparous and diabolic Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019.

As the Bill becomes an Act, as a vicious piece of legislation attempts to reduce the Indian Muslims to the status of a second class community in their own homeland, as a hundred articles attempt to explain what the Bill does and for whom, I feel that the pen I considered to be ‘Mightier than the Sword’ is rendered powerless in the hour of real turmoil.

I feel like I am just another drawing-room warrior, attempting to elicit my views on yet another brazen whip, in the face of democracy, while a massive chunk of the society lauds it as a master-stroke. The passing of this bill signifies how we, as a society, have failed our Constitution. The Constitution stands fatally wounded today, with bruises from bullets of Majoritarian decisions.

Before It Succumbs To Death, Let Us Recall Who All Are To Blame!

Whether it is the BJP or the BJP supporters, the malicious bill has been passed, much to the failing of Indian society.

Do we blame our fellow citizens who, in the elections of 2014, failed to look beyond the charisma of their leader, with his bigotry carefully enveloped in ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’, and thereby voted him to power for the first time? Or are the Indians of 2019 to be blamed, who with carefully engineered and nurtured communal mindsets, hypnotically voted for their Neta, no more under the false hopes of ‘Vikas’ but simply because their sinister bigotry fuelled by vile propaganda resonated with that of the RSS-BJP?

Do we blame our Journalists who readily became ‘perpetuators’ of fake information and tainted their hands red, by mutating into ‘BJP Spokespersons’ every time they should have questioned the government? Does their attempt to label every question-raising, answer-seeking citizen as an anti-National stand to be blamed?

Did the Judiciary enable this mass-slaughter of those values on which our country was founded? With a majority-pleasing decision on the Ram Janmabhoomi Case and inaction on the Kashmir lockdown, the judges seem to have played into the hands of the government.

Did the Opposition make way for this killing of values by falling prey to the fears of losing a Vote Bank? Did the BJD, BSP, YSRCP, TDP butcher their conscience by supporting the Bill? Did the Congress fail to fight its intra-party weakness and to sell secularism as vibrantly as the BJP-RSS sold its idea of Hindutva? Is it the responsibility of the Troll Army raised by the ruling power which attempted to create and set a narrative in favour of these divisive decisions and policies every time they were introduced? Or is it the world that is to blame, which is set to appoint another Islamophobic leader, Boris Johnson as the UK Prime Minister? Is this the age of the likes of Trump and Bolonsaro, Boris Johnson and Modi that is to blame?

Whether it is the academicians who having been reduced to being empty-elitists propounding theories, failed to connect to the masses, or the communal-Hate mongers acting as high decibel mobs on television, who influenced the society. Whether it is the BJP or the BJP supporters, the malicious bill has been passed, much to the failing of Indian society.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is a cognizant attempt to further degrade the status of Muslims who have been bedevilled, ever since the Mo-Sha regime came to power. This Act, coupled with the proposed nationwide NRC exercise shall amount to a setback to the foundational principles of India.

While by virtue of the privilege bestowed upon me, by the religion of the family, I was born in, I still have the freedom to speak my mind, I find this empty speech to be an exercise in futility.

The Indian society has not only draped itself in its new cloak of communalism but it also dares to flaunt it. It seeks uniformity, not diversity. We spoke against the Triple Talaq, we raised our voices against the repeal of Article 370, we criticised the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya Verdict, we have been speaking. But does that help? We have been raising our voices. But do we make a difference? We have been exercising our drawing-room bravery. But does it change the injustice that has been served?

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  1. Soumita Sen

    Brilliantly put down !

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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