Cancelling today

I don’t know if it is naïveté or just hopeless optimism but I didn’t think I’d live to see things escalate as much as they have in Delhi yesterday. What’s worse, and has been physically impossible for me to digest, is the blatant, brazen way in which the violence has been orchestrated. In full view and with the full support of those in whose hands law, order and peace is usually kept for safekeeping. It is impossible to look back at over two months of protests — almost entirely peaceful — and not see the “chronology” of what played out yesterday, following the threatening speech Kapil Mishra made. What’s in the news doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what is going on on ground. I am completely shaken by the visuals I have seen on twitter and Instagram this morning. Even though the constant thought in my head as I try and go about my very mundane, normal day that will be completely untouched by what’s happening in the country, is “How did we get here???” I know the answer. The writing has been on the wall. Not just since 2019, not since 2014, but long before. In 2002. In 1992. In 1984. The model is the same. The prototypes the same. The methods the same. I want to go back to every time that someone has said “But what about 1984?” to me in the last two months, when I have expressed concern about the CAA, and shown solidarity at protests. Yes, what about 1984? Is this how we’ll right that wrong? With another wrong horrifically worse? The truth is as long as we cling to what makes us different — caste, religion, creed, economics — we’ll be this bloodthirsty. Willing to throw it all away, and entire groups of disadvantaged minorities under the bus, to get what we can grab, and to do what we need to, to stay on top. We’re a horrific people. Now is not the time to call Amit Shah “incompetent”. Now is when we wake up, fully, and smell the shit. You can’t call it incompetence when there is this degree of evil and malice attached to systematically flexing your untouchable muscles to show people who is boss. These events will go down as achievements in the history books of the groups Shah belongs to. They’re nothing to be ashamed of, where people like him come from. Let’s not be stupid and dismiss this as incompetence. This is planned, sanctioned, state-sponsored violence. No different from 2002. This is what they call the Gujarat Model. This is no longer an attempt to quell dissent around the NPR/NRC and CAA. This is plain and simple violence at the hands of an anti-democracy, anti-liberty power. I am angry and helpless at the completely empty handwringing and platitudes being thrown around. Which brings me back to where I began, and the thought that just won’t leave me today: How much more will this escalate before questions are answered. Before someone steps up. Before something changes. Before I can feel hopeful again.

One year ago: Notes on an island
Four years ago: Travel

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