(Disclaimer: The writer is an independent journalist. He can be reached @TMVRaghav . This piece is a satire. The views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
This is an open letter to the prime minister and home minister from an imaginary protester detained in Karnataka while attempting to protest against the CAA.
Jai Shri Ram!
I hope the above chant is enough to prove my Indian-ness and patriotism. If it is not, could you please enlighten me of any other forces, divine and mortal, that I need to hail to establish my credentials as a devout ‘Indian’ and Citizen? Honestly, I am happy and willing to endorse, chant and hail not just gods, but also human beings, dead or alive, to prove that I belong to, believe in and truly love this nation.
It does not matter to the dead – Nehru, ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi or ‘Veer’ Savarkar – whether their names and deeds are hailed or mauled. It does not matter to the gods whether you curse them or chant to them, build or destroy places of worship in their name.
It does, unfortunately, matter to the living whether they are allowed to live at the least and peacefully, if possible. Hence, I will not question whether you build a sky high temple or raze down a mosque. It simply does not matter. To those with hate no temple is enough to pray and to those with love even rubble will show the path to the divine. I will also not question whether you make a state into a union territory overnight or split it down the middle.
It is clear, neither a state nor a union territory will offer justice if the intention is to deny it and either can ensure justice if the intention is to do so.
It does not even matter to me that you withdraw any special status. In any case, my request was only to be treated and to treat all others as equal and not special. Not just in letter, but in spirit.
I will also endure any changes and introduction of ‘fakes’ or ‘facts’ to history. Ultimately, when my present and future is in jeopardy, history does become a luxury!
I hope these assertions and clarifications can allow the space and earn me the right to be listened to. Everyone is speaking, but, it seems Sir, you have refused to listen and declared all those speaking against you as against the country.
I am eager to find out how I can prove that I am not against the country or even you and am only concerned for your well being and that of the country.
Respected Sirs, you have been elected with an overwhelming majority and those who have chosen you – many of whom are your ‘Bhakts’ – believe that praising you is the ultimate act of patriotism.
This is why, Respected Sir, I fail to understand why you need to keep proving that you are the champion of the nation or a religion.
You are the undisputed champion and throwing away or keeping any illegal immigrant, detaining any protester, irrespective of his or her religion, is unlikely to change that. Having declared that, Respected Sir, I take the liberty to ask you. Why?
Why is it that I do not even have the right to a peaceful protest or be heard? I know my name may, but why should my clothes matter? If you have not noticed, these days I am clean shaven and dressed up in jeans and T-shirt like every one else. I still cannot afford designer kurtas like you wear, but the moment I can I wish to buy and wear them.
I may cover my head and face with a scarf, but that is only to protect myself from pollution. Why can you not, at the least, allow me to have an illusion of equality or to waste my energies demanding it?
The only reason I have been forced to question your CAA, Sir, is because it threatens my very existence. I understand that my existence does not matter to you, but please allow me to go down fighting.
May I, Respected Sir, take the liberty to request you to advise me as to how I can be allowed the right to a peaceful, spirited protest against policies and actions of your government. I am painfully aware that you are too strong to succumb to my protest and hence you certainly could show me some indulgence and allow it. If time permits, listen to my voice of dissent.
I wish you a 1,000-year ‘Rashtra’ and, given the state of the electoral Opposition in this country, I suspect you may even achieve it.
Wish you a happy new year and merry Christmas!
Jai Shri Ram,
A religious Indian protester,