Millennium Post

Don't call me paranoid!

Widespread protests pervasive across the country are not in vain; they display democratic solidarity against injustice right in the face of the establishment

I will be the first to say it, I am privileged. I have had the resources to be educated, the comfort of food and a home. I have access to medicines when I am sick, books to read and the ability to read them, the Internet for Netflix and information. I live a blessed life with documents to not only prove my own citizenship but even that of my ancestors.

But even I am scared.

When I voice this fear that has taken seed in my soul, most people tell me "are you crazy that won't happen". Maybe I won't be the first person whose citizenship is taken away but it's an eventuality that I need to prepare for.

The first to be affected will be the poorest of the poor. The daily unskilled labourers, those who build our homes, stitch our clothes, clean our toilets, cook our meals, grow our food; the ones who keep our lives running, those without documents. Those who have been kept systematically poor and uneducated; the government has further reduced the education budget just this session. Those who were never told that one day they might need to prove their Indian-ness. Those who might need to escape but without the means to.

Then it will be the detractors, activists and artists. Those who stood up for those without voices. They will be detained under UAPA, another legislature in the arsenal of the government. They will be put on trains and trucks and made to disappear.

Then it will be people like me. Those Muslims who lived in big cities, attended prestigious schools. The kind of people you are comfortable around because they don't come across as "overly Muslim". I will be declared a foreigner, an illegal immigrant in the country of my birth because of my religion. This country that I have loved from my first breath will reject me. I will either die in this country that doesn't recognise me as a citizen or have to become a refugee in another.

After they are done with the poor, the Muslims, the activists, they will come for anybody that doesn't fit into their criteria of what an Indian should be. Maybe, once upon a time you liked a liberal page or laughed at a meme of BJP or ordered beef on Swiggy. They will find evidence against you using laws such as the Personal data protection act, which is currently tabled and gives unbridled power to collect personal data to investigative agencies.

The only ones left in this once diverse country of our will be the silenced and those silencing. This is how we will lose my country, our country. We will lose the dream of India, our motherland, the country we all love. This government of ours has told us their plans already, they want a Hindu-Rastra but only with the Hindus they deem fit. They will use all the weapons in their arsenal to keep us scared and silenced.

We don't flock the streets and rally and stand in the face of violence for no reason. We stand together today because we have to, out of fear but also out of love for our countrymen. That's why we are out on the streets getting beaten down but never giving up.

So do not tell me I am paranoid and nothing will happen because history has taught us to be afraid.

Views expressed are strictly personal

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