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A mere month ago, Shaheen Bagh was just another common part of Delhi, but now it is etched on every Indian’s news feed, mind and heart because of its revolutionary women.
People will now always recall the name of Shaheen Bagh by recounting the unrepentant zeal of its women.
The women of Shaheen Bagh swarmed the public streets on the 15th of December 2019 and are still on an indefinite protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The cold Delhi Winter or even the wrath of the political leaders has not deterred their spirit. They welcome people with disarming warmth, smiles, tea, water and food. It is almost as if you’re their esteemed guest. These women are homemakers, educators, leaders, healers and aware citizens of India who are standing up for what they believe in.
The police attack on Jamia Millia Islamia University catalysed their anger further with the injustice and angst. A teary-eyed mother whose daughter is a student of Jamia University says that her conscience couldn’t take it anymore after she witnessed students, even girls being brutally beaten and attacked at Jamia and JNU. She says, “A daughter is a daughter regardless of her being a Hindu or a Muslim.”
A mother protects her children with all her being which is clearly displayed by these women here. “If you attack a mother’s heart then she will not keep quiet. All mothers here are out for justice because every wronged child of India is their own child. It is our duty to keep our children safe. We are here to uphold the safety of our children, the law and the constitution,” adds another woman who says that her name is “Hindustani”.
People from all over Delhi and India have joined hands in support with these women who are the paragon of resilience. 21-year-old student of Hyderabad Central University, Shikha Kaushik acknowledges the double subjugation of women by stating, “Women get more affected by what’s happening in the current scenario. The new laws and bill become a big issue because they are doubly in the minority. Because not only you’re a woman but also a Muslim.” She calls this a “life changing movement led by women” and further adds “What these women have done here is that they have created a community of their own, they get their children as well with them. There is no fear. They have come out so much stronger. They inspire everyone around them.”
Azra Shaheen, a 39-year-old homemaker professes, “My religion taught me patience and ignorance towards the things that are not worthy of attention. A lot of things happened in the past and we made peace with it through patience and ignorance, thinking this is the way of life. But not anymore. We have to draw a line somewhere.” She implores people to not ridicule their movement for justice with prejudice.
Swati Maliwal, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women once said, “When a woman decides, she can shake up the entire system.” Women who often think twice before stepping out of the house in the evening, are here creating history on the streets of Shaheen Bagh by standing up for what they believe in.