The image of a girl handing a rose to a Delhi policeman at the anti CAA, NPR and NRC protest received tears of joy as well as critical backlash. “Flower Power“, many cried and compared it to the anti-Vietnam war rally at the Pentagon, in 1967. Those who criticised thought it was a more like Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad about ending racism; a farce.
They believed that this picture wasn’t the face of the anti-CAA and NRC protests, but it was the students, daily wage labourers, professors, women, activists and everyone else on the streets protesting. This conversation on who and how can one protest has been making rounds on news platforms, social media and at my dinner table (like many other homes across the nation).
Flying Kites To Protest
The harvest festival Pongal/Sankranti has many names, and its origin isn’t brahminical like most Hindu festivals. Many took the festival as an opportunity to protest inventively, using kites, flying kites is a major activity during the celebrations. In Bangalore /Bengaluru many gathered at Russel market to fly kites that “NO CAA and NRC” printed /pasted on them. It was a protest without sloganeering and roadblocks. In Hyderabad, the civic polls campaign has taken advantage of the kites to campaign while simultaneously rejecting CAA and NRC.
Students of Gujrat’s Vidyapith College were spinning chakras outside the admin’s office as an alternative to a kite flying protest disrupted by the police. The vice-chancellor said the university hadn’t invited the police into the campus and that they entered on their own accord.
Chennai’s Kolam Protest
Chennai Police arrested eight people for drawing kolam or rangoli with messages rejecting the CAA and NRC. Police arrested the eight individuals “for holding the protest without permission and causing inconvenience to others”. The police reportedly warned the protestors and let them off without filing a case. Jumping at this innovative protest in Chennai, the opposition DMK and Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi (MJK), an ally of the ruling AIADMK, have joined the kolam protest. An attempt to curb the kolam protest by eight individuals sparked a statewide wildfire of kolam protest.
Series of graffiti against the NRC and CAA began showing up across the city of Bengaluru. A “Free Kashmir” and anti-CAA graffiti in Bengaluru’s Church Street created a tense atmosphere with police spraying black over them. As protests are turning into a daily routine, the graffiti brought back more news coverage to the protests.
Graffiti with the PMs face captioned ‘Sab Changa si,’ and painted on a wall opposite Srishti Institute in Bengaluru. BJP MLA SR Vishwanath showed up at the institute demanding them to identify the student who made the graffiti. A complaint about the parking outside the institute brought BJP MLA to heckle and verbally abuse the students for their ‘anti-Modi’ graffiti and then moral police them for their clothes. The graffiti was covered up with saffron paint by BJP affiliated party members. The institute declared a two-day holiday to diffuse the situation and to avoid further altercation.
Bindis And Burkhas
The Islamophobic statement by PM Modi, “You know protestors by their clothes” sparked a nationwide reaction. This statement brought women in Bengaluru to organise a bindis and burqas protest against CAA. Women and men wearing burkhas and bindis sat down at Town Hall, activist Irom Sharmila, Journalist Rohini Mohan among many other women expressing their views and knowledge about the CAA and NRC. A ‘hip-hop’ protest was also to be held in Bengaluru, but after police denied them permission, the group joined the bindis and burkhas protest. They rapped songs against the CAA and the NRC and hailing the revolution, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Tinder To Spread Protest Call
The ongoing movement against NRC and CAA has taken many measures to educate citizens and organise protests to express their agitation inventively. An innovative form of educating masses and sharing information about protests are dating apps, and Tinder has been a forerunner among the dating apps. There have been reports of the app curtailing users, but there is still a large group successfully mobilising individuals. This form of mobilising came about after Instagram and Facebook took action against accounts for sharing information and expressing dissent against the government.
And then the women of Shaheen Bagh, protesting through the cold winter nights of Delhi. An indefinite protest that’s blocked a major road connecting Delhi and Faridabad has led police to open negotiations with protesters, but they keep failing. The community kitchen has been feeding protesters, while the protest itself has been feeding the nation’s fire.
The Citizenship Amendment Act is opposed by the diverse population of India, with innovative protests every day. State governments, politicians, IAS officers and other prominent citizens have been expressing their views against CAA and NRC. On the other side of the coin, the pro CAA missed call scam is still used as a justification that the country wants CAA and NRC.
Featured Image Source: Free Press Journal