Been turning this question around in my head all of today: Who is really safe in India?
As a woman, I’m officially (literally, now) living everyday in terror that something will happen to me. That I will be targeted in some way or another for the way I look, for how short my hair is, for the way I live, how I dress, where I am seen.
I feel palpably like I am next in line, and they can and will come for me. I know it’s not just me that has started to feel a physically clenched way of being every time that I step out. I have noticed this in my body lately. I feel terrified in my bones, petrified in the sinews of my muscles.
It’s not just me.
Just going by the events of the last 6 months, it couldn’t be clearer: If you’re a woman, you’re unsafe. If you’re a muslim, you’re unsafe. If you’re an activist, you’re unsafe. If you’re a writer/poet/painter/musician/artist expressing yourself honestly, you’re unsafe. If you’e a journalist, you’re unsafe. If you’re vocal about your beliefs and values, you’re unsafe. If you feel like a minority in anyway, you’re probably unsafe.
If your work involves doing any kind of good for human beings, bringing justice or being involved in doing what’s right by citizens, you are most definitely unsafe. If you speak up against the powers that be? UNSAFE.
And then I think about people who live lives I haven’t been in touch with. Only read and imagined the levels of fear and lack of safety they must feel every single day. Doctors working through a pandemic? Unsafe. Kashmiris? Unsafe. Farmers? Unsafe. Skilled labourers? Unsafe. Dalits? FUCKING UNSAFE.
Our money isn’t safe. Our jobs aren’t safe. Our children aren’t safe. Our data isn’t safe. And none of the stakeholders we ought to be able to turn to for safety, for accountability, for reason and justice — are safe. Not the media. Not (mostly) the judiciary. Not the police. And certainly NOT our politicians.
So where do we go from here?