I have had many tags in my life, IITian, an Entrepreneur, Maggu, but none of them stifling like being an NGO wala. It is an incredibly effective way for me to be told, that my opinions in politics don’t matter. If any, they are going to be on the left anyway. And if I do express them, then I am risking all the work that I am doing. Our licenses may be revoked, our work may be called political, our funding can be restrained.
There are massive protests in the country on CAA. Protests which gave me hope, because they aren’t protests where a community is focused on getting perks for themselves, but rather when
many communities are coming together to stand up for the integrity of our democratic processes.
As if it isn’t enough that my parents want to protect me from any harm no matter what. As if it isn’t enough that in my own interests I don’t want to get detained or lathi-charged or killed isn’t enough. However, being an NGO wala looks like the biggest impediment for me to participate in the growing dialogue.
I am not even talking about CAA or anti-CAA stance here. I am not even getting into the nuanced and yet some obvious interpretations of what’s going on. But I am deeply concerned here about how the Nation is being ripped off its voice, unless it is a chant to support Modi or praise the invisible Lord (whose temple construction has been discussed 1000 more times than the topics of education and health by our political parties on both sides).
Sadaf Jafar, a former teacher and a congress worker based out of Lucknow during one of the protests was asking the police to take action on the stone pelters. Pelters who were throwing stones at the police station. Instead of taking an action on the violent infiltrators she was arrested, taken to the police station and thrashed.
CAA or no CAA, our dissent has no place in this country currently. This is a new low, and it seems that it is there to stay. We need more resilience, we need more hope, we need better dialogues, and we need less polarisation.
P.S: Some may point out that the very fact that I am writing this is ironic since this itself can be considered as a piece of dissent. However, the fear that accompanies, the risk that it brings me closer to is frightening to me.
P.P.S: I draw clear boundaries between my political opinions and work.