I have just been eyewitness to a storm near my house. 3000 students from Jamia are on the road in protest against CAB which signals demise of the Constitution of India.

We are living in unprecedented times because this law is going the change the fundamental character of our beloved India which is based on the idea of Unity in Diversity. It is unprecedented because it is an attack on our Constitution and its egalitarian spirit.

Also we are living in times when the present regime has not only normalised fascism on streets but also in the parliament by passing the Citizenship Amendment Act which divides communities in the name of religion. On the other hand people across the country have started their own methods of resistance. We are witnessing rebirth of the non-cooperation movement. Students and common masses are marching on roads across the country from northeastern states to mainland India.

I just saw thousands of students, activists and local people gather at Jamia for a silent and peaceful march to Parliament. Their face off was with the state and its repressive machinery including police and para-military forces, desperate to stop this march. But with iron grit, students refused point blank to take a single step back. They started their protest right where they were standing. The police then started its attack on the unarmed students. More than 100 students were herded in buses and taken to Badarpur police station. Girls and boys were beaten up, lathicharged; many faces were covered with wet cloth against toxicity caused by tear gas. The protest began at 2.30 PM and as I write these lines at 10 PM I can hear the sirens screeching nearby.

The ruling regime with its divisive politics and legislation in parliament has worked on its old strategy of isolating Muslims and polarising society in the name of religion. But this time, has it backfired? Opposition to this legislation has cut across all divides which have been the staples of the regime. My small organisation which works for Muslim and other disadvantaged women is a microcosm of India. It has one Hindu, two Muslims, two men, two women— from Assam, Mizoram, Bihar and UP; today all are all chanting the same anti CAB anthem. We have seen thousands of people old and young marching in the streets of Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland. Paramilitary forces were sent for from Kashmir. Three people have been killed and many injured in NE courtesy police and paramilitary.

These protests against CAB, what do they mean? Has the government’s communalisation process been halted for a moment? Has the internal diversity of the country defeated the Hindutva project of BJP and RSS? Today there are multiple identities which are asking the same question. It is no more Hindus versus Muslims, as per the grand design of BJP/RSS but people across communities who are questioning this divisive agenda?.

Unprecedented crisis requires extraordinary courage.

Will there be a Gandhi? Not likely. But today I felt a strong lehr that it will be youth of all faiths ( such that I witnessed in my area) who will rise to reclaim India. I think of lines from a poem of Ali Sardar Jafri form the film Char Dil Char Rahein made by the iconic rebel K A Abbas. Both Abbas and Sardar dreamt of a new dawn which will be ushered by youth such as I saw on the streets today.

Qadam qadam se dil se dil
Milaa rahe hai hum
Watan mein ek naya chaman
Khilaa rahe hai hum