A Day at ‘Mumbai Bagh’: How Indians Promised to Never Back Down
‘Mumbai bagh’ will welcome you with open arms.
It had been a while since Mumbai saw strong protests, things seem to have dwindled and become weak, till a couple of days ago when a few hundred women declared their own Shaheen Bagh at Mumbai Central. As I got off my Uber and made my way through the crowd, a bunch of men sprung into action and helped me make my way through. I knew then, this was special.
As I made my way around, I saw thousands of women chanting in unison, while the men made a chain around them, providing them with a safe space. Women hugged each other and smiled, as they sat with their children, the elders, talking about why they’re there and why they were determined to stay.
People of All Ages, Religions Gathered. United, as One. Fighting, as One.
“Citizenship was never granted on the basis of religion, never will be granted on the basis of religion, we won’t let them grant citizenship on the basis of religion. You’re not going to hide problems in the economy with these divisive tactics.”Amir, 25
“We chose India as our country, and you don’t care about us now? You care about Pakistanis in Pakistan and Bangladeshis in Bangladesh - people who chose to be there, but not us? The problems with the policy are limitless, and we aren’t going to move from here till it’s taken back. Enough.”Sadia Sheikh, 17
“I am India’s daughter. I walk with the Constitution.”Khannum, 11
“I came here the night it started, and I’m here till now. I feel so welcome here. It is powerful.”Shashank Shekhar, 30
“Here we are protesting the CAA, but I’m here protesting everything. From demonetisation, to health, the economy...they think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. We should have spoken up then, but we are here now.”Swati, 45
Of Food and Other Barriers
Food, for the 24-hour protests, is majorly being collected from the protestors themselves, who carry food with them in bulk and pass it around the crowd. And while it was a beautiful sight to see the small efforts culminate into a powerful voice, I spoke to the media manager about the problems the protestors are facing. Here’s what he had to say:
“In the day time it is so sunny here, and women sit here in burqas. The police didn’t allow us to get umbrellas for them. They’re not even allowing microphones, no speakers. But we are here.”Rubaid Ali, 29
While Mumbai had started losing its fire against the CAA-NRC-NPR movement, with the women of Mumbai Central starting this sit-in protests, the energies are burning hotter than ever before. And while there might be innumerous organisational problems, Mumbai Central, or Mumbai Bagh is slowly becoming the sit-in protest that will ignite the fire of rebellion in others. When it comes to fighting the good fight, the elderly, the young, the children...they’re all ready to get up, or for however long it takes....sit.
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