Namaste! My name is Aanya Gupta and I am a 12-year-old girl studying at The Shri Ram School, Moulsari in Gurugram. On 24 March, the Shaheen Bagh protest site was cleared after 101 days. This prompted me to write about my trip there on Sunday, 8 March. My aunt Ruchira Gupta took me for my first peaceful protest and I am reporting on the same.
“Most aunts would take their nieces for eating ice-cream. This aunt is taking you for a peaceful protest!”
These were my aunt’s words while we were in the car as we were making our way to Shaheen Bagh.
Our car was loaded with crates full of books and toys that my aunt wanted to donate to the children and a local library that had been set up at the protest site. I had many questions through the way.
“What are they protesting for? Why were the students in the Jamia college attacked? Is the government listening to them? The women are Muslim, so this is the first time they are stepping out of their houses?”
I was glad my aunt was willing to answer all my queries.
My aunt said that the women of Shaheen Bagh were protesting against the CAA and the NRC which isn’t fair to the Muslims. I was appalled to hear this, as we have always been told that we should look at everyone with equal respect.
So why is the government unfair to Muslims? This hatred towards one community is not right. It is not the moral principle we have been taught.
The second answer. Students of Jamia were attacked while they were studying in a library. Guns, lathis were used on the students – I couldn’t even process this.
I received my third answer too. The government may or may not be listening. Yet, the women are brave and resilient so soon they will have to hear them out.
On hearing that their students were attacked in such a manner, the grandmothers started sitting on the roads of Shaheen Bagh and protested strongly. So did the women, the mothers.
Upon reaching Shaheen Bagh, I discovered several things. It was the 85th day that they were protesting.
My aunt told me that the women would finish all their household chores, make food for their family and then join the protests in the night. Some would join in their free time throughout the day as well.
There were about 500 people there. I wish more reporters would come and see them. Each one of them present there were determined to keep the protest alive.
I interviewed two girls. Below, I am going to enclose the details of one of them. Her name was Areeba.
Why are you protesting?
Because the CAA is unfair for Muslims like me. I, no we, will fight for our rights. Our Constitution should be upheld. The right of religion and equality of all should not be neglected.
How old are you?
I’m twelve years old.
“Me too”, I said. At this point, I felt that we are the same. Her being Muslim, and me being Hindu did not define the both of us. The two of us, 12-year-old girls, is what defined us.
Is the government listening to your protests?
I can’t say this for sure. They may or may not be listening. Still, I feel they will eventually hear us out.
Are you spreading awareness about your protests?
Yes, we chat among our friends, in school, in the buses. Everywhere! We are aware and extremely focused.
Since we were standing outside a library, my aunt donated her book to Areeba. She was so happy, and if this reaches her, I want to thank her big time! Many other protests are also happening in solidarity with the Shaheen Bagh one.
After this, when my aunt went on stage, I taped her rousing speech on the release of her book. It was inspiring, and I was filled with pride for everyone in Shaheen Bagh.
What started with a few brave grandmothers had turned into a full-fledged outcry among many women.
For their rights, for their future, for their dignity. I stand with them.
But do you?
I also interviewed a “Dabang Dadi” and she said three words, with a lot of meaning to me: “We will win!”
Did you feel the strength in their movement?
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