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Protests have swept Delhi and thousands of brave young men and women (who risk everything that the our culture holds so dear – their family ‘name’, future jobs, ‘good’ standing in society and their physical safety) have stood firm.
Long side-lined as the ‘un-political’ and ‘uninterested’ youth, I see their protests as a sign that they are registering their presence. Even if it is a few hundred, it is a start. I choose to believe that these people are there because they want to prove a point. And it has been well proven.
As for police and the politicians, in an incredibly convenient and sometimes downright disgusting equilibrium, they have only one thing to say – go home ‘peacefully’.
What do they think I will go home and do?
Live the middle-class dream?
Buy a house even though the land prices always seem to be skyrocketing and in somebody else’s control?
Get a job as a financial advisor in an American investment bank?
For millions of us, we have already have homes to go back to – bought by our parents after paying 20-year EMIs. We have an education to fall back on – bought by our parents through begging, bribing, buying and mental torture.
We have a world economy to emigrate to or a smaller economy here to manipulate to survive.
We even speak the Angreezi. Yes we do sahib.
Certainly this is NOT the case for all of us but for many of us – desperate dread of destitution does not drive us to despair. Instead dreams of a deeper destiny deliver to your doorstep. (Well the president’s doorstep in any case)
We do have a home. But what is the point of going?
What is the point of going home if from here to my home I must avoid the police (who are there for my ‘protection’) as fervently as I avoid potholes and pedestrians?
What is the point of going home if I must pray all the while that some child of some politician doesn’t run me over and then leave me to die un-mourned in a gutter somewhere while he or she lives without consequence or shame?
What is the point of going home if I must salaam the brother of the friend of the neighbour of this guy who “knows an MLA” as I enter my own gate?
What is the point of going home and then looking my mother or my sister or my wife in the eye and knowing that one day, just like this day, I will be home while she might be getting raped by men free from fear of punishment.
What is the point of going home and smiling even when as images of her – beaten and bloody, weeping, screaming in pain and fear – flash through my mind.
What is the point of going home and sitting with my father, grey-haired from a lifetime of clerking, while desperately hoping I am not one of those sons who will see his father being slapped by a rowdy with political connections or being told in a police station –“She is a whore! We all know it. Maybe we will fuck her later. Now fuck off, we are not filing a rape case. She probably took money for it.”
What is the point of a home where I am as exposed as if I was standing on the streets?
I may as well stand on the streets.
There at least I get some fresh air and all the running, beatings, riot police and tear gas will keep me excited and distracted from all of this.
Shri Prime Minister, Shri Sushilkumar Shinde and Shri whoever-else-says-so,
I don’t know what home you want me to go to so ‘peacefully’. My home is so much ash in my mouth.
But if I consider your free government mansion with its twenty servants and the Delhi police patrolling the roads and Z-level security manning the doors with their sub-machine guns, it occurs to me that there is only one home out there to which I can honestly go to ‘peacefully’.