Not in my name
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Jawad Falak |

On June 22, with Rs 1,500 in his pocket, Junaid Khan, the fifth of Saira and Jalaluddin’s seven children, left home in Khandawali village of Haryana’s Ballabhgarh district with elder brother Hashim, 19, and friends Moin and Mohsin. Eid was days away and they had to buy new clothes, shoes, and ittar. Some gifts for sister Rabiya too, and her three children.

Junaid was stabbed to death by a group of men after an argument over seats turned ugly. The men allegedly mocked the boys, tugged at their beards and accused them of being beef eaters.

On their way back in a Mathura-bound train, Junaid was stabbed to death by a group of men after an argument over seats turned ugly. The men allegedly mocked the boys, tugged at their beards and accused them of being beef eaters. This was before they threw the boys out of the train at Asaoti station, where the 15-year-old bled to death on his brother Hashim’s lap.

Read more: Is lynching the new normal in India?

#NotInMyName

The protest is being helmed by Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan who gave out the rallying cry. Although it was originally planned to be held just at Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi, the idea has swept up a great deal of response online enough to be replicated across several cities. Some of these protest points are Dakhinapan premises in Kolkata, Civil Lines in Allahabad, Sector 17 in Chandigarh, Gandhi Nagar in Jaipur, Kargil Chowk in Patna

The #NotInMyName protest was held in Delhi and several other cities across the country on July 28 (Wednesday) by citizens against incidents of a lynching of Muslims and Dalits. The protest is being helmed by Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan who gave out the rallying cry. Although it was originally planned to be held just at Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi, the idea has swept up a great deal of response online enough to be replicated across several cities. Some of these protest points are Dakhinapan premises in Kolkata, Civil Lines in Allahabad, Sector 17 in Chandigarh, Gandhi Nagar in Jaipur, Kargil Chowk in Patna, Tank Bund in Hyderabad, Bangalore Town Hall in Bengaluru, Promenade on the Carter Road in Mumbai, Gandhi Park in GPO in Lucknow, High Court Junction in Kochi and near the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.

Read more: ‘Muslim Women Should be Taken from their Graves and Raped’: Where is Uttar Pradesh Headed Now?
The movement

Event organizers said they sought to question the pattern of the attacks on the minorities in the country and the silence of the government over the killings and cases of the lynching of Muslims and Dalits. Participants have been asked to bring banners saying ‘Not in my name’. After the initial protests, many follow up protests have been held across India and the world in cities like Toronto, Washington, and London.

A main common factor in these protest was the opposition to Indian right wing especially the Hindu Nationalist thought known as Hindutva.

These protests are reminiscent of earlier acts by the civil society albeit in different social strata like the JNU protests mainly led by student activists and the Dalit movement led by the Bhim Army. A main common factor in these protest was the opposition to Indian right wing especially the Hindu Nationalist thought known as Hindutva. The JNU protests started against the imposition of right wing intellectual thoughts into Indian universities while the Bhim Army rose up against the upper caste maltreatment of Dalits.

Read more: Killing people in the name of meat-politics in India?

Events that pushed movement

Ever since the rise of Narendra Modi to the premiership of India, the shadow of Hindutva has darkened across the land. Forces of Hindutva manifesting in the form of Cow protectors (Gau Rakshaks), Anti Love Jihad enforcers, Anti Romeo vigilantes, Upper caste thugs, Right wing students and others, have wreaked a trail of havoc and destruction across India.

However, the escapades of the Right wing have not gone unanswered by those in the Liberal spectrum of society. While the mainstream opposition has been unable to put up much of a challenge to the forces of Hindutva, those in the civil society have taken up the mantle of fighting Hindutva thought in India.

Read more: Pakistan, India amongst top countries of the world in religious restrictions

Oppositions

The JNU protestors were arrested, beaten and threatened with expulsion by the state, the Bhim’s army founder has been arrested on charges of spreading violence while the Not In My Name protest has been slandered as “a foreign conspiracy”

Expectedly, such protests have been met with great antagonism by Hindutva forces. The JNU protestors were arrested, beaten and threatened with expulsion by the state, the Bhim’s army founder has been arrested on charges of spreading violence while the Not In My Name protest has been slandered as “a foreign conspiracy” with the foreign demon of Pakistan thrown in the mix.

The narrative used by the agents of Hindutva against the protests draws a parallel with those which it always had used against its adversaries. This is evident in the media strategy of depicting every opponent as a threat to national security, implicit supporter of Pakistan, backer of the Kashmiri liberation movement and having a soft corner for militants and Naxalites.

Another major factor is that Hindutva is a NorthWestern Indian phenomenon which is being imposed by the Centre on the rest of India. The culture even the interpretation of Hinduism in South India and Northeastern India is vastly different than those found in the Hindutva homeland. Therefore, the cultural difference has aided in augmenting opposition to Hindutva.

However, in this case, the narrative is facing a greater resistance than before. This is due to the widespread use of social media and Information technology that exposes loopholes within the Hindutva narrative. Another major factor is that Hindutva is a NorthWestern Indian phenomenon which is being imposed by the Centre on the rest of India. The culture even the interpretation of Hinduism in South India and Northeastern India is vastly different than those found in the Hindutva homeland. Therefore, the cultural difference has aided in augmenting opposition to Hindutva. This is evident in the rise of Chief Ministers like Mamta Banerjee and Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan as opponents of the Centre’s policies.

Read more: “Okay! We Won’t Eat Beef” Indian Muslims

The flaws

The JNU protests were started by the forced suicide of Ph.D. student  Rohith Vemula, a Dalit who had been dismissed along with four others for being “casteist, extremist and anti-national” while the Bhim  Army came to the fore against the Saharanpur anti-Dalit violence.

However, such protests are not without flaws. Instead of a more proactive campaign, the protest is a reactive measure to Hindutva outrages, The Not in My Name protests were initiated by the murders of Muslims like Pehlu Khan and Junaid. The JNU protests were started by the forced suicide of Ph.D. student  Rohith Vemula, a Dalit who had been dismissed along with four others for being “casteist, extremist and anti-national” while the Bhim  Army came to the fore against the Saharanpur anti-Dalit violence.

Another major flaw is the disjointed response to Hindutva by different segments of Indian society. The Not In My Name protest was largely seen as a response to the oppression of Muslims while the Bhim Army is largely a Dalit phenomenon. The JNU protests were signified as a Leftist student protest. This disunity plays in the hands of Hindutva who often plays one side against the other through its agent provocateurs in the media and society.

Read more: Gujarat Law Minister: ”anyone who doesn’t spare cow, the government will not spare him”

Therefore, while the Not In My Name Protest can be seen as a continuation of Liberal rage against the creeping saffronization of India, it cannot be the end unless it overcomes its flaws by becoming an all encompassing, inclusive and proactive campaign.

Jawad Falak is a Research Associate at Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research, Islamabad. He is an M.Phil scholar at National Defence University, Islamabad and writes on events taking shape in the South Asian region. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Jawad Falak is a Research Associate at Center for Strategic and Contemporary Research, Islamabad. He is an M.Phil scholar at National Defence University, Islamabad and writes on events taking shape in the South Asian region.

Comments & Discussion