I am The Voice They Tried to Suppress

Jason Stanley in his book, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, enlisted certain attributes to identify a fascist government. One of the attributes to look for was that fascist politicians aim to promote anti-intellectualism. Therefore, they attack universities and educational institutions.

While Stanley may understand this and I may too, there is a large segment of the population which either don’t or perhaps don’t want to.The silver lining is that the youth, who will shape the future of our country, are choosing to be on the right side of history.

India, which is my birth place, my parent’s birth place, may not remain mine with the implementation of the an Act and a register. How do I feel about it? Betrayed, angry, humiliated and targeted.

I refrain from using the word victimised because I am that voice which cannot be silenced, hushed or ignored.

Also read: I Am a Muslim. Here’s Why I Wear My Religion on My Sleeve

I, Laiba Siddiqui, who has a surname which is loathed by many in my government, have questions.

Why are the elderly, who may not have many years left, protesting at Shaheen Bagh? They never did it before. Why are the students from St. Stephens College, among the most elite colleges in India, protesting? Why the violent actions in a minority-based university and a central university being condemned across the nation?

The answer remains simple. It is not a fight between religions, nor between two wings.

It is a fight for basic human rights. Rights I was given when I was born in a town in India.

I write this article on behalf of my family, my neighbourhood and all the Muslim citizens living in this country.

I want to tell our future generations that I lived to see the time I had to fight and protest to be called a citizen of India because I was a Muslim and we won the fight because fellow Hindus supported us.

One protestor beautifully said, “Hindustan ek khwab hai (India is a dream)”.

So, true.

India is a dream seen by Bhagat Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan together. Today, after 89 years, that dream is being shattered into different coloured flags, motives and slogans. The future they fought for and died for is bleeding in Delhi, Assam, Aligarh, Kolkata and more names are being added by the minute.

All those silent in these times, we need you. We want to make a deafening noise. A noise so powerful that it will shake the chairs on which our oppressors sit. Help us make that noise.

Help us make India a khwab again.

Dr. Laiba Siddiqui is a physician-turned-writer currently working as an editor (Remote) at Notion Press. She has been reading books ever since she remember and is currently trying to write one herself.

Featured image credit: Reuters