Not In My Name protest nation-wide!

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Against Modi’s prolonged silence – Demands to ‘Shed Hate not blood’ 

dr. james kottoor
James KottorTake a look at the many photos posted below.  It is not one organized to ask the British to Quit India, but one fired by the Spirit of Gandhiji still alive to get freedom from oppression, exploitation, denial of human rights of equality and worse brutal murder in the name of cow protection. 

Thousands carrying placards reading “Not in my name” but implying “in cow’s name” sang songs and lit candles in several cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and London, according to reports. It included film actors in pouring rain in Mumbai. Placards read: “Break the Silence”, “No Place for Islamophobia” and “Shed Hate not Blood.”

It is a nation-wide national protest by honest people driven to desperation for no fault of their own: “I am not responsible” or “NOT IN MY NAME” placards say it loud and clear. It is  the  spontaneous outburst of well-meaninag, peace-loving groups who are tired of vandalism and violence let loose by unruly elements for cow worship in a country without law enforcement authorities, in a state without a ruler, in an army without a captain, a ship without a rudder, a home without a head.

The law of the jungle, where might is right, seems to have given a hell of a time to the general public who abhor violence of all sorts. Hence  their common cause highlighted by the caption: “NOT IN MY NAME” meaning ‘I have no part in any of this violence’; ‘I am not responisble’. Then who is responsible?

Who is Responsible?

In a family it is he father, in an army it is the captain, in a State it is the Chief Minister, in democratic India it is the Prime Minister. Why has the PM been not speaking out against the unruly elements indulging in violence, murder of innocents and rape of the helpless? “He has been on a world tour to meet world leaders,” it may be said. But now he is back home and for the comfort of the desparate sections of the country he declared: "Killing people in the name of 'gau bhakti' is not acceptable," saying "this is not something Mahatma Gandhi would have approved." … Let’s all work together. Let’s create the India of Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams. Let’s create an India our freedom fighters would be proud of,” said Modi. “No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands” he said. Last year also at an event in New Delhi, Modi had said self-styled cow vigilantes made him angry and called some of them anti-social. Yet the same thing happens with added strength. So how is anyone going to believe him now? So how is he going to be different from his predecessor whom he used to caricature as “Mum-mohan?” So are not his present words going to be like the many unfulfilled promises uttered for electoral gains only?

An ancient proverb asks: “Who will guard the guards themselves” (Qui custodiet ipse custodies!).  What to do with our country’s who talk but never act? They have to be thrown out, as in the parable of the Vineyard entrusted to a bunch of  crooks who mistreated or killed his messengers.

Who will guard the guards?

In a democracy who is the ultimate master? It is not the elected MLA or MP but the electing voters, “We the people.” Applying the analogy to the sheep and the shepherd, if the sheep have to come forward to get rid of the shepherds in wolves clothing, they have to wait for the next voting, next electon at every stage  — local level, state level and national level.

So we appeal to all protest groups and all democrats, who may be compared to: “Only the crying child gets the milk”, to keep on crying louder and louder. If your cry continue to fall on deaf years, wait for your time to cast your mighty vote, to cast them out of their highly placed thrones not within your reach  just now. But voting time will come and these leaders crawling on their knees for your “one man one vote”. Then give your vote only to honest public servants. james kottoor, editor, ccv.    

Please read below the article in Indian Express with inputs of more photos

Lending their voice to protests, but each with a different reason

By Nandini Rathi, in The Indian Express, New Delhi,June 29, 2017

Featured picture: A 'Not in My Name' demonstration at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, June 28. Protests against targeted lynching took place in nine cities across India on June 28. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

What seemed to unite many NotInMyName participants was the need to do something other than remaining silent spectators — reflecting or reacting only privately or online — over the several, dispersed hate crimes, often bearing the explicit mark of beef and identity politics.

Narendra Modi ramped up the awards and largesse given to cow protection groups and shelters. (HT File)   

On the evening of June 28, the small lane next to Jantar Mantar was witness to hundreds rallying with # NotInMyName banners. Express photo / Nandini Rathi.

The small lane next to the iconic Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi is no stranger to protests. But on Wednesday evening it was witness to a strange protest, with hundreds rallying with #NotInMyName banners.

Despite the overcast evening sky, it was easy to identity a majority of them as middle class and educated — but these were also peppered with outliers. Besides many old and young people, there were senior citizens, school students and parents with semi-sleepy, irritated children in their arms. The placards they carried came in interesting, inspired varieties too.

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

Prompted by filmmaker Saba Dewan’s rallying Facebook post in the aftermath of 15-year-old Junaid Khan’s train lynching on June 23, the #NotInMyName protests were quickly put together in a number of cities to question the relatively consistent silence of government leaders, alongside a proliferation of lynchings and attacks on minorities in the last few years.

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

What seemed to unite many participants was the need to do something other than remaining silent spectators — reflecting or reacting only privately or online — over the several, dispersed hate crimes, often bearing the explicit mark of beef and identity politics. If people are silent in the compartment while a child is being lynched, it means that humanity is dead,” said historian Rana Safvi, who has never attended a protest until this one, “It is important to show that you care, that you have a voice. If not now, when?

Another gentleman was also deeply tormented by the bystander apathy in Junaid’s case. “Hum buzdilon ka desh hain … uss dabbe mein ek bhi khada hokar nahin keh sakta tha ki ye galat hai (We are a country of cowards. Not even one stood up to object to the brawl in that train compartment),” said Delhi resident and teacher Sridhar. “What troubled me the most”, he elaborated “is that it [Junaid’s murder] was not an incident that took place in an isolated place. We don’t know what happened in the train. It is well possible that the news that we are getting is slanted one way or another. But once the things started rolling, to let it progress to the point that someone is going to die and to encourage that as a bystander is horrible

Regardless of any event in our history — Gujarat pogrom, Kashmir or whatever — is this the future that we want for our children or our society? Where are we going from here?” he asks.

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

A protest volunteer, meanwhile, emphasises the need to voice dissent towards the government’s complicity via its loud indifference. “Unless we speak up, the people who are behind it are by default going to think that they have the majority’s support — which is not true”, said Monami Basu, Professor of Economics at Delhi University, “I am sure there are a lot of people — even supporters of the government — who, because of their humanity, do not approve of what has been happening. They need to come out. More so, the supporters need to come out and speak up that this is not why we elected you as our government.”

While many feel that the Congress days were gentler in terms of violence, the toothlessness of the current opposition to spearhead anything is hardly news. “There was a point when we thought that oppositional politicians would come out and take a strong stand — but they didn’’t,” said Yashodhara, an activist and former NGO worker. “There are no popular movements. Things are slacking because there is no political leadership. So I think it is time for ordinary citizens like us to come forward and say we don’t support this,” she adds.

People came from near and far — a group of Muslim men came from Mewat after finding out about the gathering via Whatsapp. A professor of law in University of North Bengal came all the way from Darjeeling to lend his voice in defence of the idea of a heterogenous India, which he felt was increasingly slipping away.

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

Asked what made him to come to the protest, Mahinder Singh, a Sikh who serves at the Gurdwara nearby, said: “Zaruri isliye hain kyonki humare ghar mein bhi crime ho sakta hai. Hum agar aaj chupkar ke ghar baithe rahenge toh kal ko humara bhi number aa sakta hai. Fir humare liye kaun aayega. Aaj hum kisi ke liye aayenge toh kal ko desh bhi humare liye aayega (If today we sit quiet in our homes, tomorrow it may be our turn. And then who will come for us? If we show up for somebody today, tomorrow the country will also stand by us).” It is FM radio that informed him about the protest.

Express photo / Nandini Rathi

It’s very sad that we in India are turning into our neighbours who have no tolerance for minorities,” said Farah Singh, who owns a theatre company and was attending the protest along with her husband. “We had an interfaith marriage, we brought up our children both waysI grew up unafraid in a family of Muslims in Lucknow, so it’s heartbreaking to see the people who I knew growing up feel cornered and afraid,” she added.

The mob lynching and targeting incidents have increased since the BJP government has come to power. It has very important to oppose this because it is the working class which is always the target. The affluent sections even within the minorities are not touched,” said Harish, a Delhi University student who comes from a Dalit family. He also offered the enduring initial critique, “The most important thing is how much the protest will be able to percolate at the ground level. Having educated people is also very important, but we do not have many from the victimised class among us — they are what’s missing.

Speaking about how he felt about being among like-minded people, Sridhar also said, “I expected there’d be more. 10,000, 20,000 votes — that’s the language that the government understands. We also probably needed a bigger space than here to fit that many people of voting age. These many don’t count.”

Indeed, what a lot of participants seem to be hoping for is a longer engagement — an enduring movement that will sustain and build upon itself to sharpen the impact in future.

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