Nothing seems to break the spirits of the women of Shaheen Bagh who have been relentlessly protesting in this chilling cold of Delhi winters for over 25 days against the supposedly Anti- Muslim and Anti-Constitutional [sub judice currently] CAA, NRC. These continuous sit-ins by these brave women have been termed as breaking many barriers and perceptions of the common Muslim woman rife in the minds of the people. Muslim women are considered to be voiceless and without any agency of their own. But the women of Shaheen Bagh are changing that narrative. They are vocal, determined, assertive, fearless, and equipped with right knowledge.
They are protesting against the eroding of our constitutional values. They are highly aware of the possibility of this issue being turned into a Hindu-Muslim narrative, by some fringe groups with vested interests. And that’s why they are carrying the posters and placards of Gandhi and Ambedkar. These women have explicitly told many media houses that they are against the dilution of the Constitution and denial of their rights. The passing of CAA will lead to chaos and anarchy as it aims to strip people of their citizenship. These women believe that the ruling party has a bias against Muslims that’s why they are bent on bringing this law and that’s why these women resolve to stand against the divisive policy of the ruling dispensation against all odds.
The women of Shaheen Bagh have left their homes and their grihasti to fight this tiring battle. These women are provided with their daily needs through a community kitchen which is run by volunteers who have pooled the resources.
The women of Shaheen Bagh are also resisting against the police brutality unleashed on the students of Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University. They showed their solidarity to the students of JNU who were attacked by masked goons on January 5th.
Many television anchors have flocked to the heart of Jamia Nagar recently to report their valour. These women are concerned about the future of their children. They are scared of the repeat of Assam in the entire country where a huge number of Muslims were declared illegal
These women believe that even their ancestors have sacrificed their lives for India and that’s why they also have the equal right to live in this country with dignity. All these women are first time protestors. Their will is an inspiration for all of us who want to live in an inclusive and secular India. Their resounding resistance reminds me of a popular couplet of Iqbal :
Tu Shaheen hai parwaz hai kaam tera,
tere saamne aasmaan aur bhi hain.
(You are an eagle, flight is your vocation; you have other skies stretching out before you)