Why Shaheen Bagh Protest is a New Kind of Satyagrah

by Shatakshi Gupta
shaheen bagh

India is going through an ideological crisis for last few months, one can clearly see the polarisation on social media, news debates and even on tea kiosks. This might be the First instance for millennials of India to see this type of unrest throughout the nation. When the government used its brute majority to pass the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) many factions united together and started protesting against the Act. But the government maintained its stance on the act and clearly denied any further changes. This negligent attitude of the government attracted mass protests throughout the country. Various political parties called for Bundh, people flocked in groups at many places, students organized a protest on university campuses. Many of these protests turned violent which were suppressed by the use of force, also many people lost their lives and huge public property damage was evident. A protest turned violent government got a strong point to use force against the protesters so slowly this protest was losing its importance. Due to ensued violence protestors were also losing the sympathy of general mass. But at many places, this protest remained peaceful and set examples for other protestors.

One such protest which made the news headlines not only in India but internationally also was organized at Shaheen Bagh area of New Delhi. A protest against CAA and NRC was started on 15th December 2019 at Shaheen Bagh the southernmost area of Okhla on the banks of Yamuna, there were huge gatherings and people from all religions gathered here for 24/7 sit-in protest till their demands are fulfilled. When asked, most of them answered that they are fighting for the Indian Constitution ethos, they blamed the government for hurting the secular values of the Constitution.

This protest is very different in nature from others in many ways like this was mainly a women-led protest and there is no leader who gives directions to everyone. Many people are comparing it with Satyagraha . Notably, this protest is joined by every religion Just like the Satyagraha which was organised many times by Gandhi ji to make Britishers bow in front of demands of Indians. Voices raised from here are not only against the CAA, NPR, and NRC but these people also criticized the recent attacks on universities and they showed solidarity with Kashmiri Pandits and observer 2 min silence for their pain. They organized a meeting for this purpose on 19th December 2019 and invited some Kashmiri Pandits to support their cause. Some other things make this protest comparable to Satyagrah like participation of every age group, one can easily see the children, Students, adults, and persons in their senescence. And its multi religion support is the backbone of this protest. Also in this protest one can see the regular reading of Preamble of Indian Constitution, and the raising of slogans for protection of the Constitution. Though many leaders try to take over this protest for their political interests the reluctance of people made it popular.


Another side is people are branding this protest as paid and sponsored by political parties and some leaders of ruling parties declared these people as anti-nationals. Another concern is of misinformation, a video of the small girl went viral on social media in which she is expressing her fear and saying that all Muslims in this country will be put in detention centers and they will get food only once in a day. Such misinformation is also not healthy for people. Some tried to make this protest as Muslim protest and urged Muslim gathering to unite against Hindus, these kind of things are very dangerous for the tranquillity of the country because a successful Satyagrah was always based of pluralism. If people of Shaheen Bagh are doing Satyagrah for the sake of secularism then the protest must be secular itself.

Also Read:Who are the Crusaders at Shaheen Bagh protests? What Twitter says about it?