We want peace, freedom, and a government that will not exploit religious differences for power.
The following is Tagore's English rendering from the "Geetanjali":
Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from
the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action-
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,
let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore
We are not Indian by religion, we are Indian because that is where we find home.
However our country right now is hostile, violent, and divided on the basis of religion because of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). These laws go against the constituional promise of secularism, and selectively ostracise the Muslim community in India; a community that is deeply a part of our nation’s identity and should not be discriminated against because of their religion.
Currently India is fraught with political dissent, police violence, protests, and religious extremism, all while being gripped by a terrible economic crisis. And yet while the CAA and NRC are condemnable on humanitarian grounds, they are also a huge economic strain. The massive amounts of money being spent on detention centers (where those who fail to prove citizenship will be relocated) and the National Population Register (the first step to implementing the NRC for which a budget of about 4000 crore was approved) is wasteful, especially when poverty and unemployment are drastically increasing. And all this when the implementation of the NRC has already proved itself a political and economic failure in Assam.
More than anything, the widespread and government sanctioned violence in this country is a human rights issue and even the UN has proclaimed the CAA in conjunction with the NRC discriminatory. This is a matter beyond religion, where the lives of innocent people, the majority of which face stigma in some form: are poor, female, queer, homeless, indigenous, etc. have to fight to prove citizenship to the country they have tried to make their home in. This feels especially void when passports, voter ids, Aadhar cards, and pan cards are all invalid, incomplete proofs of citizenship and yet were more than enough when they went to cast their votes during election. Yet any mention of this and the government silently, guiltlessly, violently cracks down on us. Our freedom of speech is being curtailed as student protestors are beaten and arrested, and internet shutdowns are imposed. These are the marks of a failing democracy and a collapse of secularism.
But hope exists because in these dark times, our country’s youth rise up, our women rise up, our citizens rise up and become leaders, peace-makers and moral, responsible citizens. And maybe if we keep talking, they might hear us. I refuse to be compliant or part of such massive oppression, the guilt would eat me alive. The following list provides various ways you can contact Narendra Modi and his team. If we repeatedly bombard them with emails or tweets or letters, they might respond to this nation wide outcry. It is a resource that we can use relatively safely from our own homes, and on that will allow quick and effective mobilization. Even if it is a short message, or just a line in the subject, reach out to them, show them that we are brave and we will hold them accountable.
Contacting the Prime Minister of India:
1. Through the official website: www.pmindia.gov.in/en/interact-with-hon’ble-pm
2. Write a letter to the address: - South Block, New Delhi-110011. Phone number: - 011-23014547
3. Through the NaMo or PMO app
4. Sending fax at +91-11-23019545, 23016857
5. Email at Narendramodi1234@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Through YouTube Channel of PMO (Send message button)
7. Tweet @PMOIndia or @NarendraModi