Shaheen Bagh: A Testament to Muslim Women’s Arrival in Indian Politics

shaheen bagh
Anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi. Image - Sagar Dey/The New Leam

The country’s capital, New Delhi may be witnessing one of the coldest winters in the last 100 years but this has certainly not damped the spirits and determination of the women of Shaheen Bagh. These women from various walks of life have been braving the cold, stepping outside their homes in the darkness of the night and making their voices against the CAA count like never before. 

They are teachers, homemakers, calligraphers, painters, advocates, doctors etc in their own professional lives but what unites them in these harsh winter nights is their collective political resistance against the Citizenship(Amendment)Act.

Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh has been seeing protests against the Citizenship(Amendment)Act by these women since the last three weeks. 

Shaheen Bagh near Jamia Milia Islamia has been witnessing protests against the CAA for several weeks now.Thus a day before the new year too we witnessed thousands of citizens gathering at Shaheen Bagh with a hope to welcome 2020 , as the year when the CAA would be repealed.Even while the rest of the world resorted to celebrations of the new year, these women continued their protests at Shaheen Bagh joined by citizens from different parts of the Capital and the country. 

The protestors at Shaheen Bagh have reminded us that there could be alternative ways of celebrating the new year and one of them could be uniting against a contentious CAA.

They all rose up together, turned on the flashlights of their phones and sang the National Anthem in unison. The singing of the national anthem was followed by a loud chant of “Inquilab Zindabad”(long live revolution).

What is extremely inspiring is that these women are not activists, politicians or even media persons, they are our regular citizens but what sets them apart is their awareness and political vigilance. They have been sitting here and protesting despite the extreme cold, some of them have even brought along their toddlers and protesting against the brutality by the police against the protesting students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University. They are firm, they are determined and they know their protest holds a relevance. They are clear that they want nothing less than the repealing of the contentious CAA. Groups of people also turned up with packets of food and other essentials, while a group of doctors attended to patients in one corner. At around 10.45 pm Swaraj India Founder Yogendra Yadav addressed the gathering. He said, “ In the future, when someone asks where were you when the country was being destroyed, I will proudly say I was in Shaheen Bagh.”

Other activists like Harsh Mander also made their presence felt at the gathering.

While some of them are not media friendly and feel more comfortable not disclosing their names or prefer keeping their faces hidden, they surely want their voices to be heard in every corner of the world.

It would not be wrong to say that neither the cold nor attempts at communalisation of the protest can tale away from the fact that Shaheen Bagh is a turning point as far as the entry of Muslim women in Indian politics is concerned.

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