This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by joshua karunakaran. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

6 Things The CAA Movement Revealed About India And Indians

More from joshua karunakaran

The recent events surrounding the CAA-NRC issue have unmasked India’s leaders, laid bare its citizens’ ugliest prejudices and showed the country and the world very clearly what India values, what we stand for and how far a government will go to hold on to power.

The last month brought out the best and worst in us. 

Here Are 6 Things That Stood Out:

1. Democracy Is Alive, And People Are Defending It With A Vengeance

anti-CAA protest
Hindu and Sikh protestors forming a human chain around Muslim protestors during Namaz.

From the women of Shaheen Bagh to the Hindu and Sikh protestors forming a human chain around Muslim protestors during Namaz; from 1,00,000 Hyderabadis defying police orders at the “Million March” to candlelight vigils across the country in solidarity with the attacked JNU students, it is clear that the CAA protests have brought people together like never before—exactly the opposite of what the BJP hoped it would do. 

People have reasserted their faith in the constitution, making it clear that they can’t be hoodwinked with “Mandir ya Masjid” debates, statues, ‘Pakistan’ and empty promises anymore. From the way the PM hastily responded with a series of lies to cover up earlier statements, it is clear that they did not expect such an uprising. The people of India are still powerful and value democracy.

2. The Government Is Terrified Of Students

Police brutality against students in JMI.

The student community often criticised for being unaware, has risen as a force to be reckoned with. From the moment the Jamia protests erupted, students from universities across India rallied to organise marches and make their voices heard.

The violent manner in which the police reacted to student protests is clear evidence that the government has realised that the youth is not a lazy, entitled, Uber-riding bunch, but individuals with strong opinions and resolve, with a capability to shape public opinion.

3. “Us vs. Them” Doesn’t Work Anymore

(Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

In a fight, a wounded boxer falls back on what he/she knows best, be it a jab, hook or crafty footwork. 

The BJP, too, went back to what they do best—Hindu vs. Muslim whataboutery. The PM himself said that protestors could be “identified by their clothes”, a clear hint at religion, intended to polarise the public. Pro-BJP journalists began speculating how many “Bangladeshis” had entered Assam. 

In Muzzafarnagar, police vandalised property belonging to Muslims and abused Muslims with “Go back to Pakistan” slurs, made popular by several BJP MPs over the years. But the people have made it clear that they are tired of this divisive narrative. The government realised it too and resorted to force instead.

4. Rhetoric (Not Debate) Is Still The PM’s Popular Choice

PM Modi Ramlila Maidan Speech
From the way the PM hastily responded with a series of lies to cover up earlier statements, it is clear that they did not expect such an uprising.

PM Modi knows when to pause for applause. Here are a few: “Arey Rahul baba (Pause for laughter), if I’m wrong about demonetization (pause) burn me alive, Hate Modi if you want… but (pause) don’t hate India” 

He tried one this time as well: “The congress and their friends are protesting against CAA, but (pause) do not speak against Pakistan.”

Instead of addressing the points of concerns raised by students, eminent citizens, international media and the common citizen, the PM is more concerned with rabble-rousing speeches (that make no logical sense) for the next election.

This time the response to his “Bhaiyo aur Behno” speech was (pause) underwhelming.

5. The Police Is For Sale

Some groups have completely failed in the eyes of the public and betrayed the trust they swore to defend. The police definitely have a lot of explaining to do.

The police have shamelessly taken the government’s side and indiscriminately used force, torture, religious hatred and even provided protection to goons on their way out of the JNU campus, after a coordinated attack on students and campus property. If the police were half as efficient in their everyday tasks, as they were when doing their masters’ bidding, Delhi would be a safer place for women.

In my opinion, it is definitely an embarrassing time to represent an armed force. Serious introspection and reform are needed.

6. When Propaganda Fails, Take A Cheap Shot With Sex And Netflix

Now, let us understand the “chronology”:

  1. Home Minister, Amit Shah says CAA will be implemented across India. Protests begin.
  2. PM, Modi says “when did we say that?”
  3. Government orders a massive and violent crackdown.
  4. Cabinet Minister, Piyush Goyal, invites Bollywood for a “scrumptious dinner” to influence public opinion. Fails.
  5. BJP starts a campaign to drum up support through a missed call campaign (lonely housewives looking for “company”, Netflix subscriptions, coupons were offered).
  6. Amit Shah admits 52 lakh people might have been lonely, wanting free Netflix, or in need of coupons.
  7. Government maintains a hard-line stance.
Like an unimaginative copywriter, the BJP has used sex and freebies is the last-ditch effort to sell.

Like an unimaginative copywriter, the BJP has used sex and freebies is the last-ditch effort to sell. As I write this, lakhs of BJP supporters claim to have boycotted the film ‘Chhapaak’ because actress Deepika Padukone visited the volatile JNU campus. Desperate times? Definitely.

History has shown that how a country reacts, both during and after such incidents determines its place in the world for generations to come. Indians from different walks of life have resisted state-backed violence, crackdowns, evictions, smear campaigns and are still facing off against an increasingly shaken government.

There is a lot of hate, too, but we can only hope the fight continues, if we want an India that the framers of the constitution envisaged: Sovereign, Socialist, Secular & Democratic.

You must be to comment.
  1. Akshay Sonawane

    True. We are living in a dystopian reality bcoz of those who wanted a communal man as a leader

More from joshua karunakaran

Similar Posts

By Shraddha Iyer

By Mumtaz Rehman

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below