23 August 2019 01:43 AM

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SHABNAM HASHMI | 23 MAY, 2019

'There Are Many Young People Here, A Lot Will Depend On You'

#TCElects - Live from our watch party


The evening is dark but it's only evening. We must keep walking with our lamps in the dark. There is a film about Hitler's Germany, a scene with a bench that says Jews Not Allowed - but there is a cross put over that line. So even in those dark times, that somebody had the guts to go put that cross over that slur, gives me hope.

The final result won't be very different from what we are seeing now. The kind of resistance we saw on the ground, whether farmers or students, that resistance can't disappear overnight. I strongly believe that EVMs and manipulation have played a role in the verdict, a certain role, but we cannot blame everything on EVMs.

We have to accept that there is a large section of society that has bought the narrative of "nationalism", that Muslims have been shown their place in Modi's india, the narrative of Hindu Hriday Samrat (the emperor of Hindu hearts). That is a battle that will have to be fought in the coming years, the coming generations.

I feel very sad that the India we grew up in, the India of our parents, where there was a lot of space for dissent and diverse opinions and pluralism - that that India has been lost.

There are a lot of young people sitting here, and a lot will depend on you - on where you take the struggle from here.

We have had a glimpse of the designs of the ruling dispensation - they will want to change the Constitution, they will intensify the attacks on universities and independent organisations, there will be a renewed attempt to take forward their ideology - this will have to be fought.

The results are very sad, there was evidence of a different sort of result from various quarters, but for now all i can say is - not to go into depression. The struggle must go on. We must keep the flag high, and keep fighting. It's not as though they will never, never lose.

The question is, how to fight, how to change our methods. We may have to take the fight beyond civil society, because small groups, small organisations cannot do very much in this context. We will have to figure out how to fight them.

Shabnam Hashmi is a civil rights activist.

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