_ap_ufes{"success":true,"siteUrl":"dubeat.com","urls":{"Home":"https://dubeat.com","Category":"https://dubeat.com/category/admission-season/","Archive":"https://dubeat.com/2023/03/","Post":"https://dubeat.com/2023/03/22/iitktechkriti/","Page":"https://dubeat.com/events/my-bookings/","Attachment":"https://dubeat.com/?attachment_id=72946","Nav_menu_item":"https://dubeat.com/2023/02/04/72831/","Custom_css":"https://dubeat.com/2023/02/25/cheerup/","Wp_global_styles":"https://dubeat.com/2023/01/06/wp-global-styles-twentytwentythree/","Amp_validated_url":"https://dubeat.com/amp_validated_url/de1663d8e018505dc3b799c78b5ff57a/","Wpcf7_contact_form":"https://dubeat.com/?post_type=wpcf7_contact_form&p=52312","Mec-events":"https://dubeat.com/events/yearly-on-august-20th-and-21st/","Mec_calendars":"https://dubeat.com/mec_calendars/masonry-view/"}}_ap_ufee Shaheen bagh Archives - DU Beat - Delhi University's Independent Student Newspaper

Shaheen bagh


Here is an eye-opening first hand account of the Shaheen Bagh protests from the pen of a participating media-person.

I have seen various media personnel visit and report about the protests at Shaheen Bagh. But as media students, we are often told that the more comfortable a person is with us, the more heartfelt the conversation will be. Thus, I made it a point to be without any media equipment and be a part of the protest. The result of this was eye-opening.

As I reached the locality, the first thing I could notice was the posters of the local MLA Amanatullah Khan all along Jasola puliya (bridge), besides which are huge dumps of garbage. The area suffers heavily from lack of sanitation facilities. The Delhi Police have placed barricades at multiple places around the demonstration. 

Dissent and fulmination form the basis of a vibrant democracy. In neoteric times, a demonstration which has become the flag bearer of these rights are the protesters of Shaheen Bagh. These protests have, for antipathetic and sympathetic reasons, been the hot topic in national politics as well as media for over two months. 

One can’t help but notice several roadside shops selling, in simple words, protest merchandise. These include shirt pins, mufflers, head wraps and t-shirts. The shopkeeper tells me that he, a class 7th student, along with his father can make around Rs. 200 to 300 each. On being asked about his schooling, he gives me a sad shrug. When I ask him about his meals, he tells me that just twenty metres ahead, a ‘Sardar Ji’ and his wife, both advocates have started langar and they feed everyone. “They both get pensions every month as they are lawyers. What a life they have. I wish I could also just do nothing and earn a lot.” The point of doubt in this statement was that advocates do not get any pension, so where was that money coming from? Even after multiple tries, I couldn’t get the answer to this question. The whole area is witnessing the rise of a gig economy which survives on the protests and if the protests stop, this economy will also crash. 

Further down the street is a vendor who is selling kufis. Talking to me, he reiterates his anger towards the establishment, “The government is doing nothing. Modi and Shah along with the RSS are onto us. Sometimes, I feeling like burning the whole parliament down. They are not doing work anyway.” Just beside him is an old lady or as she was being addressed ‘Dadi’. She tells me about her son working in the Delhi Metro as an engineer. She emphasises on the fact that no one can defy ‘Allah ka Farman’ or God’s order, “These people in the government are just humans and they can’t defeat Allah.” On knowing that I was a college student, she gives me her best wishes. 

The place was full of buzz as the arrival of Supreme Court lawyers was due in a short while. Even though the people there are protesting for the same cause, still everyone’s views are different. And without a leader, these views clash. While some wanted to talk to the lawyers, others were steadfast on the fact that the Apex Court itself is a ‘slave’ of the government. 

The stretch which is being used by the protestors for the sit-in is home to many big showrooms. And due to the protests, the business of these shops has crashed. The streets also had the rumour that these showroom owners are bribing the authorities to clear the road and get their businesses running. Annoyed by this rumour an attendee says, “These people won’t understand. If they won’t earn for some time, what bad can happen? But if the protests finish our future generations won’t be able to live, they’d become slaves.” 

As opposed to the common narrative, people here were genuinely scared of the trio – National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This fear was also a result of mongering as most of the people didn’t know everything about the bill. The hoarding put up in the area, which did try to explain the matter was itself fallacious. This explanation connected the Aryan theory of Friedrich Schlegei and William Jones to the present scenario – where misconception goes on and on based on such assumptions and tries to force a particular interpretation of the trio rather than letting people using their sense.

The protestors themselves know the fact that the moment they unblock the road, nobody will care for their protesting anymore. Apart from this, the organisers also do not allow men to sit in the front, only women are allowed to do so. On being asked why, a bystander tells me that they only have these two factors – the roadblock and the women, as leverage for the protest. If they lose either of them, the protests will fail. 

This has resulted in the popular opinion of the place to shift from ‘saving the constitution’ to ‘saving the kaum’ or community. The protest is being led by the women of Shaheen Bagh but several men around the area do not want to accept this empowering symbol. “Are we wearing bangles that these lawyers will ask the women for their views? These women are just being given too much importance”, said a man when the Supreme Court lawyer asked for the views of women on the matter. After a short while, the so-called ‘volunteers’ barged into the sitting area and blocked the view of many women. When confronted they started pushing and heckling the women. Since these boys were locals and knew almost everyone, not many confronted them and they continued to stand wherever they wanted. 

Just a few days back so-called activist, Gunjan Kapoor tried to film the protests without consent while wearing a burqa and sitting among the protestors. After a while, she was caught by the protesters who reportedly had a hard time ‘saving’ her from the locals before handing her over to Delhi Police. Mentioning this, a dadi trying to give proof of the peaceful nature of the protests to the lawyers, said, “We handed over Gunjan Kapoor to the police. Even though she was a Hindu, we did not harm her.” These lines forced me to rethink about the secular nature of the protests. 

The Shaheen Bagh protests are facing the grave dangers of conflicting views and unclear narratives. If the protestors do not understand and address this, the whole protests will be delegitimised, thus breaking the protestors. 

Image Credits: Aniket Singh Chauhan for DU Beat

Aniket Singh Chauhan

[email protected]

We, the people of India, may have grown up with school debates that argue in favour of India being a “soft State”. However, the delusional bubble can only carry so far as the world around you, as you know it, is crumbling and, to paraphrase Rick Blaine’s line from Casablanca – our delusions of peace don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

India, as a society, is violent and not mild about it. From the practice of female foeticide, dowry murders, and caste violence to the silencing of journalists (fifth-worst as per Reuters, circa 2015), danger posed to women (Reuters, The
Guardian, CNN reported India as the most dangerous country for women in 2018), and our educational model with its suicide stories of frustrated and frightened youth – we have internalised this violence as a part of the Indian
routine alongside “chai-paani”. Then, over a week ago, a CCTV footage surfaced from Jamia Millia Islamia, which would be enough to shake the ideological core of the people of a society not so blindly in love with violence and mob justice, as the Singham, Simmba, and whatever Rohit Shetty’s making next-applauding masses are.

The footage from the University’s library showed policemen entering with lathis, charging at students who appeared to have been inside in their booths. The violence in the video is triggering as the youth holds its hands above its head to avoid injuries. The footage comes in, post the denial of the Home Minister and the Delhi Police regarding thelatter ever having entered the library on 15th December 2019. Media outlets like Republic TV, Times Now,etc. claimed to have found the “unedited” version of the footage, showing the students entering the library with stones, suggesting that the actions of the CRPF were provoked.

Alt News later fact-checked the authenticity of the footage and revealed that what had been propagated as a stone in the hands of a student was a wallet. The damage, however, to the collective conscience and moral psyche of India was done and dusted with, at that point. When Instagram pages like Indian Military Updates post captions that state “Condemn The Violent Actions of CRPF Bcoz (Because) They Were Not Violent Enough”, we need to analyse our problematic romance with violence.

Anurag Thakur and the like of his breed of politicians can get away with cries that lead to violent action, in the faces of the Jamia and Shaheen Bagh shooters, not because the judiciary or the State are being undemocratic, but because they are seemingly catering to the bloodlust of the masses. Family WhatsApp groups and dinner-table conversations should be one’s doorway to the horrifying glorification of the acts of the police. Lived experiences of the people, their dissent, a need to question – these become secondary in middle- class Indian households, to the need to dictate and control the narrative, even if it defies any semblance of fact.

Middle-aged people alike have justified the violence in the footage, believing that the acceptable realm of universities and for students is text-book education, employment, and not the acceptably dirty business that is politics. They fail to see the first two as inseparably linked with the course of political developments, blinding themselves conveniently to the ideals of the very Independence struggle that allows this nationalistic fervour but was carried on the martyred backs of young college students.
Like or dislike for student politics aside, what the attitude towards the Jamia violence shows is not just social tendency to dismiss our youth as misguided when they do anything but obey, but it is also reflective of a deeply problematic ideological acceptance and internalisation of Althusser’s repressive state apparatus. What this country needs to ask itself is not whether the students had stones or any other fictional weapon, but whether the Police has a
right to unleash that kind of barbaric violence. Or worse, when they think the State’s people condone the violence that contains and kills dissent.

Anushree Joshi
[email protected]

As people come out on the streets every day to protest the draconian and unconstitutional laws of the government, an ode to the women who are the centre of revolution in our city.

The air is different here, Shaheen Bagh’s corners and roads echo with the cries of azadi and inquilab zindabad. A walk through Shaheen Bagh shows many things, toddlers and small children chanting azadi, a mother sitting who wants her baby’s first word to be azadi, songs of resistance playing over the speaker. With dissent and revolution in the air, one question becomes evident. How did this start and what is the significance?

The indefinite sit-in began the day after the Delhi Police entered Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and brutally unleashed violence on peacefully protesting students, even attacking those who were just in their hostels or the Central Library. What began as 10-15 women sitting and indefinitely protesting against the unconstitutional and Islamophobic CAA-NRC-NPR has now catalysed into a much larger protest site. The entire street has become a space for dissent in many forms, with speakers, singers, and artists all doing everything, a roadside library for people to study and read in, medical have all come up to help these brave women . Shaheen Bagh has also served as a model for many other similar indefinite sit-in protests, all led by brave women who have left everything behind to protest against fascism. Seelampur Jaffrabad, Inderlok Metro Station, Khureji, Hauz Rani, Ghantaghar in Lucknow and many other similar protest sights coming up all over the country to protest. 

The women of Shaheen Bagh and other such protests have come to symbolise so much in these dark times. In a country where gender roles and stereotypes have a large and pervasive role, Shaheen Bagh also stands a symbol fighting these unjust stereotypes. These stereotypes have been seen in several protests, an example being the Anti-CAA rally held in Lucknow on the 19th of December, where women were told to stand away from the main protesting crowd, and not allowed to go into the centre of the protest by their male counterparts and were told that “beech mai mat aaye, ye safe nahi hai” ( don’t come in between, it’s not safe).

The women of Shaheen Bagh and women throughout history, along with fighting the injustices of the time have smashed the patriarchal stereotypes which depict women as frail and weak. The strength shown by these women is an inspiration for all those who are protesting and dissenting against the Government and its policies. In these times of brutality and suppression, these women have done the bravest thing they could do, stand up and speak, and the entire country is listening.


Feature Image Credits: Manav Ahuja and Jassman for DU Beat

Prabhanu Kumar Das

[email protected]