Jamia protests lead
Protesters shout slogans during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that seeks to give citizenship to religious minorities persecuted in neighbouring Muslim countries, inside the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi Image Credit: Reuters

Protests in India: Do Indian expatriates care?

By Afshan Adeeb

“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic....”

This line of the preamble to the Indian constitution has been deeply ingrained in all Indians, throughout our student years. This coupled with the facts that India is the largest democracy and has the largest constitution in the world were cool facts that used to make us, Indians, feel proud of ourselves.

But, where are we today? Let me be blunt about it - we are disregarding our constitution, disrespecting the rights of fellow Indians and disrupting the demographics of our beloved country. What might seem to some disinterested people as regular governance decisions such as the Citizen Amendment Act or the National Register of Citizens or to some spiteful ones as a means to target a certain part of the population - try to understand that it doesn’t stop at that.

For a start, you can’t simply wish away a 20 million plus population away and for those who do want to indulge in wishful thinking it also means that if they come after one community today, they will with equal ease come after another tomorrow.

It’s a simple case of vote politics - why is one community being left out? The agenda is to slowly disenfranchise them completely from the national scene and open the borders to all other illegal immigrants from other communities to convert them into a potential voter base. Is the Indian economy in a position to carry any more burden? For those who can’t bring themselves to think humanely, at least think economically about India’s future.

Copy of India_Citizenship_Law_Protest_99058.jpg-41d6b~2-1576579291247
Friends and fellow students help Jamia Millia Islamia University student Mohammad Mustafa, who was injured in police baton charging, as he breaks down while narrating his experience, during a press conference in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. Students involved in a massive weekend protest at a predominantly Muslim university in India's capital described a clash with baton-wielding police at a news conference Tuesday, while opposition grew nationwide against a new law that provides a path to citizenship for non-Muslim migrants.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup) Image Credit: AP

What is happening across universities in India is shameful. Students are not being allowed to agitate peacefully, which is a constitutional right. If the videos of students, (who were not even protesting) being attacked in washrooms and libraries don’t make us Indians cringe, then we are losing it as a society.

Thankfully seeing the spirit of our youngsters we can say that there is still hope. Till now they are managing to keep this from becoming a Hindu-Muslim issue. They are fighting to safeguard the Constitution.

Now the question for us: Are we going to silently witness this gutting down of the Indian spirit or speak up about it? I know the standard reply from most is - what can we do?

Every voice counts - even if it happens to belong to an expatriate Indian! If nothing more at least stop accepting the propaganda distributed on WhatsApp. Check the facts before forwarding.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai.

Live your best life, don’t fear faliure

By Lamiya Siraj

Living life having dreams and aspirations helps us have a focused perspective towards the future. I personally believe in leading a disciplined and balanced life for everything. One should maintain a balance between having fun, and working hard.

Happiness is a journey towards our destination and not the destination itself. Future planning is a must! But, at the same time, while planning for future, one shouldn’t get so engrossed that one forgets to live their life.

Right from childhood, all of us have many dreams. Many people with their success stories in various fields inspire us and motivate us to be like them. Many of us put a positive effort to reach for our dreams.

Be happy Image Credit: Pixabay

However, distractions can prevent us from reaching our goals. Distractions do come in life in the form of hurdles, hardships, struggles, heartbreaks, and many more. One starts to feel depressed, lonely and trapped. It is easy to go down this road. Everything seems overwhelming. Now, the real question is how do we overcome such feelings and achieve our dreams? Many times, with passing days and years, people start using age as an excuse to not do something.

People should focus on things they love and stop berating yourself when you are unable to achieve a goal. Remember to laugh, and forgive yourself for not meeting your own expectation. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings. One should always have a list of goals but it is important not to give up or feel bad if some goals aren’t met.

We need to understand that everyone has dark times. Everyone gets discouraged. But that’s okay! Time only moves us forward, and no matter what, it will push us through. Become a self-motivated warrior! Because the more you motivate yourself, the better you get at motivating yourself.

- The reader is a writer based in Abu Dhabi.

Girls have rights, they are human

By Asmi Choudhary

Rape is not a dirty secret, but a violent crime. More than 39,000 rape cases are reported in India and only 1 in 4 accused gets convicted. Even after the Nirbhaya rape case which took place in 2012, there is no sign of any action. Rape is increasingly being used to intimidate the powerless. According to the CNN health survey, India was declared the world’s most unsafe country for women.

Despite the introduction of stricter laws, around 100 sexual assaults are reported to the police every day. One of the world’s fastest growing economy, a leader in space and technology, is shamed for the crimes that take place against women.

In 2017, when a teenage rape survivor in Unnao, a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, approached the police to report that she had been raped earlier that summer, the police refused to register the crime. Luckily, the victim’s family did not back down. For 10 months, they pushed the police and lawmakers to investigate the case. Instead, the police retaliated against the family, arresting her father on false charges of possessing firearms. To protest the lack of police action and her father’s arrest, the victim attempted to burn herself to death in front of the home of Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister in Lucknow, the state capital. Although she survived, her father died in prison the next day after sustaining multiple injuries.

Unnao rape accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar
File picture of Unnao rape accused Kuldeep Singh Sengar who has been convicted by Tis Hazari court, in New Delhi on Monday. Image Credit: ANI

On 26th January, every year we hoist our tricolored flag for what? For installing fear into the minds of our women and letting criminals walk free? Many rape cases in India go unreported, and this is because for those victims approaching the police is not an option as their family believes that registering a complaint would only bring shame upon the family.

Are we really proud of our country, India? I’m an Indian, and I am ashamed of my country.

- The reader is a Dubai-based student.