It has been more than 25 days since women started their peaceful protest at Shaheen Bagh. It is the longest, unobstructed protest against CAA along with NRC in the country right now. A movement led by women has been able to dodge violent attacks by miscreants and police brutality. To everyone’s relief, the Delhi High Court dismissed pleas seeking removal of the women at Shaheen Bagh.
Every national and international news channels and organisations, including the UN, is running to cover this gathering. There is no doubt that these women have created some serious ripples—waves strong enough to make the leaders stammer and falter on their words. But, there is another side too, which we do not get to see in the mainstream media.
I went to Shaheen Bagh with my classmates, and what I saw was nothing less than magical. A true display of the power of women. It is nothing like what you may have seen in your Sanghi chacha’s WhatsApp forwards. The people there raise slogans of freedom, equality, solidarity and secularism. They sing the national anthem with pride and recite the preamble of the Constitution loud and clear. When people came to speak on the stage they welcomed them with “inquilab zindabad”.
Women taught their children and grandchildren about the law and why they should protest against it. Only if I was so politically aware as the young ones at Shaheen Bagh at this tender age. One of the volunteers told how peace was their absolute priority not to give even a single chance for the police or anyone to uproot them. The very people ensured the safety of those sitting in the protest.
Although, besides the eatables that were distributed by fellow supporters, the volunteers there made sure everyone ate. Despite us telling them, we do not need the lunch, the kind volunteers insisted that we ate. “Aap hamari ladki jaise ho… apko khana hoga” (You’re like our daughter, yo have to eat) made me almost teary. The biryani was nothing fancy, but it was definitely one of the most delicious ones I’ve ever had. Probably because of the masala of fearless non-violent protesting by some badass women. It was an honour to savour it amongst such powerful, inspiring women.
When we went to meet those kind volunteers one last time before leaving, they hugged us and told us to go back safely :’)