“Voicing Our Opinions In Such Authoritarian Times Is Necessary To Protect Our Rights”

Non-violence has been a part of the course curriculum for many students in schools, colleges, and universities. But, I believe Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of truth, non-violence, and peace are shedding from the mindsets of youngsters in India. They are only remembered every year on his birth anniversary, in various states of India, and other parts of the world.

Anti-CAA protests.

Apart from these widely celebrated occasions, it’s only a few times that intellectuals are seen on roads or in seminars to share their beliefs about Gandhi. Now, when I see a huge number of Indians echoing their voices against the plans of the Central Government, to implement controversial acts and measures, such as CAA(Citizenship Amendment Bill) and NRC (The National Register of Citizens), I have a question.

Why have I gathered here with my friends and family holding placards to support the crowds? Instead of making an effort to grab the attention of authorities, wouldn’t it have been better to cease our ‘aggressive’ actions and peacefully return to our homes? After all,  fearless war and disrupting social order, never made anyone a better individual, right? But, no. That’s not the truth. Voicing our opinions, especially in such authoritarian times, is necessary to protect our rights, and privileges, as a democracy.

A couple of days ago, in a piece of shocking news, it was reported that, outside Jamia Millia Islamia, at the protest site, there was an unidentified man holding a pistol in his hand. He was shouting slogans like, “Who wants freedom? I will give freedom”. He first began walking around the circle of police officials, press and students. It was then that he fired a few rounds of bullets in the air and injured a Jamia Milla student. This incident was recorded in broad daylight when the demonstrators were protesting against the CAA-NRC policies.

Our country is already facing an economic crisis in several sectors. Amidst these protests across the cities, poor and lower-middle-class families dwelling in the streets are suffering. The responsibility of Narendra Modi and his government has become more evident and urgent now to address the concerns of the public in such a crucial time.

What we, as normal people can do, is protect our civil rights from being destroyed and exploited by politicians and political influencers, who are purposely infusing the ideas of hatred in the minds of innocent people. We need to do protect our rights from these political leaders who just want to be in the light of power.

Similar Posts

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