From Shaheen Bagh to Lucknow to Mumbai and all around the India, women are still oragnising themselves and protesting together against the archaic Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. Rather than communicating or trying to establish a dialogue, the right-wing calls these women a ‘shame and disgrace’ for their patriarchal society. It must be almost painful for them to see these women (mostly Muslim) come out of their houses and fight for their fundamental rights. Of course, they are also called by the regular, gender-neutral terms like ‘anti-nationalist’ and ‘Pakistani’.
It has been more than 50 days since women in Shaheen Bagh are protesting. Similar protests led by women have also emerged in various parts of the country, which is a very strong message of women’s solidarity across the country. These women have been protesting irrespective of severe weather conditions, medical risks, violence by so-called ‘Nationalists’, death threats and even gunshots! These women have literally held their grounds and not moved even a bit.
Rather than communicating or trying to establish a dialogue, the right-wing loves to call these women a ‘shame and disgrace’ to their patriarchal society. It must be almost painful for them to see these women (mostly Muslim) come out of their houses and fight for their fundamental rights. Of course, they are also called by the regular, gender-neutral terms like ‘anti-nationalist’ and ‘Pakistani’.
Men with political power in this CAA debate, especially have been trying various methods from using hate speech to circulating fake videos to demoralise and demonise the women protesters and suppress the movement. Simultaneously, they also attempt at creating anxieties among Hindu men, about the loss of their “honour”, that resides in the bodies of “their women (mothers, sisters and daughters)”. They infuriate hate claiming that Muslim men, protesting alongside the women, would physically assault and rape Hindu women.
At this juncture, we must ask, what is it that makes political men in power forget all moral grounds and spread such hate, wishing violent things for women?
‘Crowd At Shaheen Bagh Will Enter People’s Homes, Rape Women, And Then Kill Them’
The country knows that the women sitting in Shaheen Bagh are peaceful protesters against CAA who are sitting and demanding some answers from the BJP led government. But rather than having a dialogue our political leaders were all busy in spreading violence against women on the verge of Delhi elections. BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said,
‘The people of Delhi know that the fire that was set in Kashmir a few years ago, and the mothers and sisters of Kashmiri Pandits were raped, that fire then was set in UP, in Hyderabad, in Kerala. Today that fire has been set in a corner of Delhi [Shaheen Bagh]. Lakhs of people are collecting there. That fire could reach the houses of Delhi at any time; it could reach our houses. The people of Delhi need to think through their decision. These people will enter your houses, they will pick up your sisters and daughters, rape them and kill them.’
Such a statement from a person of great influence not only incites hatred but also shows the fear that such men in power have from these fearless women.
Anti-national, Pakistani, Desh Ke Gaddar
Women protesters against CAA all around India have been called many things. Among which ‘Anti-National’, ‘Pakistani’, ‘Terrorist’, and ‘Opposition Propaganda’ are the most common. These statements fuel not just rampant sexism but also Islamophobia against Muslim women.
Some examples of such statements include BJP’s Amit Mishra’s tweet in which he stated, ‘Pakistan has entered Shaheen Bagh’. Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga on Thursday commented that Shaheen Bagh is a “hub of treason”. Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy recently called Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh a “nuisance” and the most atrocious one where Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Anurag Thakur was filmed saying ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro s**lon ko’ (shoot the traitors), which by the way, actually directed some BJP supporters to do gun violence in various protests.
After such statements, it is not a shock that Shaheen Bagh recently witnessed gun firing. Anurag Thakur also commented recently that the process of clearing Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti CAA protest, will begin once the BJP comes to power in Delhi. ‘Unfortunately’, people of Delhi decided to do otherwise.
‘Women Protesting is a Shame’
If all these kinds of statements were not enough then women protesters have been called a ‘shame’ for using their fundamental rights and asking questions about state accountability which clearly no one is up for answering. U.P.’s Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath on 22nd January while addressing a rally organized in support of CAA in Kanpur commented,
“These people do not have the courage to participate in the protests themselves. They know if they indulge in vandalism, their property will be seized. Now, what have they done? They started making the women sit at roads. The children have been made to sit. It’s such a big crime that the men are sleeping under the quilt and the women are made to sit at roads. It is shameful.”
Now, here is one thing that we need to understand. This comment is not simply offensive for the protesters but also to the women in India. It indirectly suggests that women don’t have a will of their own and they do things as dictated by their husbands. It also kind of remarks that women sitting in protests don’t know anything about CAA and are just influenced by their male counterparts.
Now, here is one thing that we need to understand. This comment is not just wrong to the protesters but also to the women in India. It indirectly suggests that women don’t have a will of their own and they do things as dictated by their husbands. It also kind of remarks that women sitting in protests don’t know anything about CAA and are just influenced by their male counterparts.
Calling the courage, struggle and determination of these women protesting against CAA as a ‘shameful act’ is essentialised within patriarchy, since women’s agency is seen as unreal for these hatemongers. Adding to his comments recently he said, ‘Boli se nahi goli se saamna karna padega’ (If conversations don’t convince them then they will have to face the bullets) while addressing a rally in Delhi’s Badarpur area.
The world has been witnessing women protesting around the globe from Chile to Sudan to India and everywhere, women protesters are at the receiving end of a lot of hate by all such fascist leaders. So it is high time that we ask,
What is it about women fighting for their rights on the streets and in elected office that irks men so much? Although all these men have been given stays from the EC, but is that enough to make them change their mentality?
Featured Image Source: The Wire