Protest Etiquette in the Indian Democracy

Five easy steps to become the perfect protestor

Know the Cause

Okay first of all, why would you be against anything Modiji does, huh? Anyway he knows better and kuch soch samajh kar hi kara hoga so you might as well support him by coming out on the streets. God knows what crazy thoughts these terrorist students might put in the innocent citizens’ minds. Either stay at home and watch some quality news on WhatsApp or RepublicTV or go and wave saffron flags on the road. All these infiltrators will change the face of India forever otherwise. What brutality? What secularism? What democracy? Modiji is no bigot okay he does not discriminate only, and what else do these Pakistanis deserve? Modiji has said na that a Bill that seeks to divide people on the basis of religion is not about religion at all so why don’t you trust him even though half his supporters wants a Hindu Rashtra.

Now understand the real problem this Bill address: refugees. We didn’t want refugees when the Rohingya Muslims were in the midst of a genocide just last year (but we invested in the government that was doing the genocide) because we were overpopulated and under resourced but now our 5 trillion dollar economy can support all these non-Muslim immigrants from these evil Muslim countries. And oh, ignore the Sri Lankan Tamils (some of whom happen to be Hindu also) crying about their genocide, or living under a regime with the state religion as Theravada Buddhism. Please okay, Modiji knows best.

As for NRC, whose realisation Modiji and Amitji are divided upon, of course you trust a government that hides data on hate crime, unemployment, farmer’s suicides, electoral bond donors, and its ministers’ education when it asks you to show fifty year old documents to prove your identity.

Educate Yourself

You have to read the shady article your bhakt uncle sent on the WhatsApp group, first. All these activist people are just anti national terror sympathisers, why just go and read the deleted Facebook post from 2007 they made. Don’t trust all these Congress-funded NDTV, Indian Express, The Hindu etc who are sending ground reports. They are all anti nationals and are very popular in Pakistan you wonder why. Only trust Modia that reports exactly what Modiji wants it to.

As for the protestors, all these idiot researchers, specialised students, and PhD professors, with more degrees than the Cabinet combined, people who have spent their entire life studying policies and politics are all anti nationals with vested interest. Of course they are only protesting because they read one twitter post. That Ramachandra Guha is an idiot only, what kind of historian protests violent history from repeating itself or defends the founding principles of our country? Just another stupid anti national. The United Nations and all these NGOs saying they concerned about the suppression of freedom of expression in India are all pro-Pakistan and very biased. Even Oxford university and all these foreign schools releasing statements of support are doing so that foreign students who manage to not get harassed stop coming to India. Its all a conspiracy, you know.

Support the Police

The police knows best okay. They are supposed to maintain law and order and they are doing exactly that, albeit they are using brutal and extrajudicial methods to establish the will of he dominant class. Has a police officer ever troubled you? A little bribe and they go away, no? Such amicable people they are, abusing their institutionalised use of force.

And all these Jamia, Rajiv Chowk, Mandi House protestors deserve what they got, they must have done something only. Why does the police never lathicharge Jantar Mantar or India Gate where all the rich, upper caste, privileged masses go to candle march, huh? And the police support the democratic protests also, see how nice they are to the pro-government, pro-NRC-CAA bhakts peacefully yelling “goli maaron saalon ko”. The police are just agents of the government, doing what the suppressive regime tells them to. It’s not like they want to actively suppress the voice of dissenters and detain innocents on suspicion or fire at protesters and accidentally kill themor beat up minors from Muslim neighbourhoods or whatever they do. It is their duty only na.

Do not Be Violent

If you are an anti government anti national peacefully protesting and raising slogans on azaadi why do you have to fear BJP, RSS,ABVP wagerah wagerah goons who will throw stones or get crisis actors to subvert the crowds, excusing the police to fire? Because protestors can be identified by their dress no, so local BJP workers in Murshidabad will wear skullcaps and do what they can to incite mischief. Good for them. If your anti national university gets broken into by police yelling Jai Shree Ram, and if cops leave a trail of blood in your library and shoot at students and end up arresting random outsiders that is also your fault.

History shows that asking nicely will get you everything from voting rights to emancipation from slavery to occupation in Kashmir; hence violence has no place in a protest. And protests (or dissent, for that matter) have no place in our democratic country, okay.

At the Protest

Guys, it’s very easy to protest safely, rightfully and peacefully. Just wear Modi masks and wave RSS flags and throw some “Pakistan Muradabad” while you’re at it. It’s chill bro.


Why thoughts and prayers ring hollow

There’s a numbing air of wariness as I write this. One that many of us are unfortunately accustomed to, even. After a while, the shock stops registering until everything becomes a repeated cycle of newspaper numbers, tasteless TV debates, ‘patriotic’ radio songs and a sense of gloom wondering where the next WhatsApp hate message would come from, and if you have enough emotional strength left to ‘make excuses’ to the person in perpetration or to just block them and get on with it, hoping the next time is more merciful. Because yes, there is always, always a next time. 

In the sixteen years I have been alive, and the fewer years in which I’ve actually cared, I do not (regrettably) remember a single ‘peaceful’ year which wasn’t graced by the endless circle of black bands, candle marches, and people crying in general. It all feels extremely insensitive to even think in such brash terms, but after over 16,554 deaths due to several terror-related ‘incidents’ in just the last 19 years, I daresay this terrible routine is one we’ve settled into and show no signs of recovering from. And cynicism doesn’t begin to cover it.

Two hours after the news of the Pulwama blast hit the mainstream media, I found myself with a screenshot someone had forwarded, titled ‘How Not To Be A Twat After A Terrorist Attack’ and what made me sick wasn’t the fact that there guidelines on how to behave like a decent human being but the fact there was a need for it in the first place. Or that there had to be admonitory headlines streaming by the likes of  ‘No need for hate, Muslims condemning Pulwama blast’. For in crisis there are always two types of victims, the ones who die and the ones who have to live with it. And in times like these, though Muslims may die and Muslims may kill, the Muslims have to live with it. 

Because even though our hearts wrench and bleed like any other, we must march through the streets, release statements and ‘condemn’ that which is obviously evil, in order to justify our inclusion as worthy Indian citizens. Because it hasn’t been even two complete days and people are already being booked on sedition charges over Tweets and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out who they are. Because hate isn’t just poison, it’s also the plague. And you know how the plague is stopped? By burning down it’s carrier.

The more we tolerate intolerance, the more it will keep blowing up in our faces. So let’s make a vow to not get into a petty fight with with the bigot aunty from the colony WhatsApp group, to not get let your boiling blood get to your brain watching Arnab Goswami (I mean, seriously?), to not claim having a higher moral ground because you used a hashtag, to not own the privilege of crying victim when there are far worse alternatives, and most importantly, to never, ever be just another ignorant idiot our country seems to lamentably have an abundance of. Let us not sit back or make excuses and play pacifist either, because that would really be the ultimate dismissal. 

We can’t demand justice or fairness if we’re not willing to be stand there and watch it be delivered. The solemn ‘thoughts and prayers’ are in the end, just words and noises. It’s about time we make our voices heard, not only because they matter but also because no one else is going to speak for us. 

PS: Just as I finish writing this, comes the news of another blast  near Jammu.

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of a people make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

Surah Al-Maidah, (5:8)