Social media, in the contemporary context has become very powerful in influencing people, in discussing political judgement and resisting the gradually fading freedom of expression of people. In the light of the violent events that have come to front in the past few days, various intellectual and political personalities have spoken up in rage against the exclusionary, anti-Muslim Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA, that was recently passed by the Rajya Sabha. This Act categorically excludes the Muslim citizens of India, in an attempt to build an autocratic, Hindu nation. Most of these journalists, politicians, activists and intellectuals are often seen to speak up against the government and its discriminatory policies.
However, seldom do we find faces of Bollywood, the regional film industries and other celebrities in the sports industry speak up for ground social realities like CAA or in moments of other crises. But to our utmost surprise, the spirits of protests against the discriminatory laws of National Register Of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (now an Act) by the students of Jamia Millia University and Aligarh Muslim University have perforated into even the silent, hence complicit celebrity circles. Further, it has started a conversation in these circles and tried to pierce into the social media accounts of influential people.
IN THE LIGHT OF THE VIOLENT EVENTS THAT HAVE COME TO FRONT IN THE PAST FEW DAYS, VARIOUS INTELLECTUAL AND POLITICAL PERSONALITIES HAVE SPOKEN UP IN RAGE AGAINST THE EXCLUSIONARY, ANTI-MUSLIM CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, THAT WAS RECENTLY PASSED BY THE RAJYA SABHA.
Here are some tweets by various Indian celebrities, that have encouraged their colleagues to speak up for the police brutalities and speak against the state-sponsored violence in the form of discriminatory policies, in the name of “vikas (development)”.
1. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub
2. Simi Garewal
3. Parineeti Chopra
5. Sayani Gupta
6. Irfan Pathan
7. Aditi Rao Hydari
The others, who choose not to speak up during such difficult times, fearing backlash, need to understand that we all are living in a petrifying time of real-world crisis and there is no space for ignorance, intentional silence or tokenism.
8. Mahesh Bhatt
9. Vir Das
10. Manoj Bajpayee
These are powerful people who have the capacity to influence people in power, mobilise them into supporting the protests against oppressive governments and finally pushing them out of power. These statements, made in public platforms can help organise a larger cohort of people, in order to show the potential of the citizens of a country. Their voices could have been crucial during the abrogation of Section 370 in Kashmir, the cases of lynching Muslims and Dalits across the country, the Trans Bill protests and many others.
The others, who choose not to speak up during such difficult times of CAA, fearing backlash, need to understand that we all are living in a petrifying time of real-world crisis and there is no space for ignorance, intentional silence or tokenism. Minorities, like the Muslims, people in conflict zones, Dalits, women, Queer people, people in the North Eastern parts of the country are all facing physical, emotional and symbolic violence in their everyday lives. They do not have the prerogative of escaping through such situations.
People with priviledge have the capacity to do the bare minimum of showing social media support and turning the tables of the government that assumes the submission of the citizens to their unconstitutional brutalities. We hope that they will defend the citizens’ rights and freedom of expression, today as well as in the future.
Featured Image Source: Twitter