Disclaimer: If you are offended by my views, you should know that you have just as much right to be offended as I have to express my views.
It’s 1.22 a.m. and I get beeped by twitter about the trending hashtag, #NotInMyName. Vaguely recalling the glimpses of “news” channels covering the protests across the nation of the lynching of a Muslim man by four right wing Hindus, I associated the hashtag to the same issue. It is obviously a political issue and opportunists all over have jumped into the fire. But it is at the ultimate level, an issue of citizenship, an issue of what constitutes being an Indian.
So where did the hashtag come from. Well, we didn’t come up with the hashtag, that’s for sure. It’s origins lie in the protests against the Iraqi War of 2003 in the US, where citizens were certainly not happy with the Bush administration’s decision to go on war with Iraq, ultimately giving birth to the ISIS. The slogan used then was “Not In Our Name”. It was first used as hashtags in 2014, during the rise of ISIS and was used as a means of protest for the global moderate Muslim community, at least those who were allowed Twitter access. It was later rehashed by the Brits during the Brexit and post Brexit periods and the Americans to oppose Trump’s Presidency. And then it comes to us, India.
I had an important question for myself… Do I support the hashtag? Over the past few months, I had not voiced an opinion on this subject to even friends, in person or otherwise, even though the same friends did have a stance. To me supporting the protests against the “Beef Ban” was a moral conundrum. While I am opposed to the government dictating what you can eat and what you cannot, I am certainly not in support of the forms of protests taken up by the ill-informed protesters. Unnecessary killing of cows and cattle to just mark your protest is neither non-violent, nor is it civilised. It in fact puts you off in a worse light. And I decided to circumvent my opinions around the issue.
So naturally I wanted to see the spectrum of protesters out there this time. Twitter was filled with tweets in support of #NotInMyName and against it. As usual most of the protest banners were dumb. For instance, one banner read “Cow is not mother, cow is food and I shall eat it”. I am sorry, but that is retarded. Cow is a domesticated animal like a dog or a cat or whatever rodent you choose to call a pet. Beef is food, just like dog meat, human flesh, chicken wings, etc. Then I came across a hilarious tweet by Ramachandra Guha.
Finally this post came up my feed, that finally broke my silence.
If today you stay mute
Silence will shroud Tomorrow
Every colony will be ablaze
Every rock burnt
From behind the silences
Will emanate eternally
No one is here, no one is here
No one is here no one is here
It is in this poem that I undsertood the gravity of #NotInMyName. No longer will I stand a quiet to people using the religion that represents me to cover their heinous crimes. No longer will I sit by while the morality of religion amalgamates with the governance of our society. And no longer should you. Raise your voice while you still can to protect it! Do not surrender your rights to dutifully protest! Do not stay audience to the unmaking of your society!