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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 25 March 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Shaheen Bagh Achieved What the Seasoned Politicians and Opportunist, YouTube-Mullahs Could Not

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

25 March 2020

This Shahin Bagh protests have been forcefully ended. We are sad but at the same time we are proud of the women who peacefully ran the movement for 100 days in very adverse and hostile circumstances. They were vilified, they were attacked, they were hounded by the Choudharys and Chourasias but they stood their ground. The media continuously tried to demoralise them and tried to create the impression among the masses that they we're committing a crime against the nation by protesting against the laws that majority of the country considered unconstitutional. The media tried to create the impression among the masses that only some Muslims were protesting against these laws. But the fact was that the legislative assemblies of 13 states opposed the laws. Majority of the members of these assemblies are Hindus. And the members represented the majority Hindus of their constituencies. The media can't also explain if only Muslims of Shahin Bagh were against the laws, why Dalits were calling Nationwide strikes and getting general acceptance.

The fact is that though the Centre has been successful in forcefully ending Shahin Bagh protests, Shahin Bagh has succeeded in achieving certain goals. It has awakened the woman force in the country and showed to the world that women can contribute to the process of nation building, to the fight against injustice, corruption and repression. These women also made Muslim men realise that if they trusted the mullahs they would also end up with the fate of the Assamese Muslims. So they should fight themselves with the Dalits and other minorities for their own rights and survival and not under the opportunistic mullahs who are vulnerable and lack political foresight. The Shahin Bagh protests also taught Muslim youth to assimilate into the mainstream and look at the national issues from a national, not communal point of view. The protests helped them come out of the ghetto mentality and think for the whole community.

 The women also showed to the world that Muslim women were aware of the political developments of the country and the world and had their own opinion on problems facing them. They also showed to the world that they were brave and could face all the hardships and personal losses to save the Constitution. The government, on the other hand, lost the moral and legal battle against these brave women. The women obeyed all the rules of the country. They obeyed the Janta curfew, took all the precautionary measures against Covid-19, showed restraint against provocations in the form of firing and bombing by miscreants. Still, the government forcefully, illegally and unconstitutionally ended the protests which the Supreme Court had declared legal and constitutional. No cases of Corona was found in Shahin Bagh, still the police and the government insisted that Shahin Bagh may become a breeding ground for Covid-19 while people playing 'thali' were allowed to assemble in the street. The riot hit people taking shelter in Eidgah in Delhi were not removed though they too are lodged in thousands there. People are gathering in hundreds in vegetable markets. People are dying in crowded detention centres. VIPs and politicians attended parties to come close to a lady singer who spread Covid-19 to hundreds of people. But the police has not arrested her. The government has put restrictions on common people but has not been suspended domestic flights to facilitate air travel of politicians to and fro Delhi despite appeal from Kejriwal and Mamata Banerji because the process of government formation needed quick travel of politicians to Delhi and back. Corona infected people were allowed to fly from London, China and Italy to India but five women at Shahin Bagh were considered to be the greatest danger to the country.

However, there is no regret because they have achieved what the seasoned politicians and opportunist, YouTube-mullahs could not. They have awakened the collective conscience of Indian people, they have ignited the fire of protests across the country, and they were instrumental in the formation of Dalit Muslim alliance which will have wide political and social ramifications in the country. They have won. The government has lost. Long live Shahin Bagh.

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for


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