#NotInMyName: Let’s reclaim India

Who are these people, who protest against so-called beef-eaters, killing helpless human beings? There is not enough outrage, or rather none at all, when it comes to the powers that be. It’s like Junaid’s death and that of others in past lynchings, never happened.

Written by Anuradha Varma | Published:June 30, 2017 3:43 pm
Not In My Name, Mob Lynching, Junaid Khan, BJP New Delhi : Citizens hold placards during a silent protest ” Not in My Name ” against the targeted lynching, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

“This is the real India,” declares Ibaad Rahman, as he waves the Indian tricolour he carried with him behind Jantar Mantar to protest the series of mob lynchings, mostly targeting the minority community. The result of a Facebook event created by Delhi-based filmmaker Saba Dewan that went viral, the protest titled #NotInMyName found resonance throughout the country, with outraged Indians setting up protests in cities within and outside India.

A map tracing the number of lynchings since 2015 covered India in a bloodied trail as poetry readings and performances on stage spoke about the trend. The tipping point came, for me as well, with the killing of 16-year-old Junaid Khan in a Mathura-bound moving train, as his mother waited at home for him to return with his brother to start Eid celebrations. Who are these people, who protest against so-called beef-eaters, killing helpless human beings? There is not enough outrage, or rather none at all, when it comes to the powers that be. It’s like Junaid’s death and that of others in past lynchings, never happened. This inspired me, and so many others, to show up at the protest, aptly titled #NotInMyName.

Ibaad Rahman, a businessman who shut his shop in Old Delhi for the day to be present at the protest, was shaken at the recent lynching. He says, “I spent my childhood in Delhi and this has never happened before. We don’t feel the pain until it happens to us. I have a brother; what if it happened to him? This was done deliberately. I could be a target tomorrow. I’m here for humanity and not for any particular religion. This protest shows me that we’re on the right track.”

Twenty-year-old Kamya Sud had her own reasons for showing up. “My mother is Muslim and father a Hindu, who married in 1992 (at the height of the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi agitation). It scares me that this can happen in my own country. There is so much nationalist rhetoric around the world, including Hindu nationalists here. We had made so much progress as a country and it’s terrifying that something like a mob lynching can happen in 2017. Recently, a friend advised someone visiting Delhi to be careful how they interact with people; I don’t want people talking about India this way.”

Since her name doesn’t let on her Muslim heritage, she is also privy to a lot of comments that play on stereotypes. “Calling somebody terrorist as a joke or talking about how goats are slaughtered during Eid are things one hears. I try not to subdue my Muslim identity, but it happens at a subconscious level. As Indians, we should not be afraid of voicing our concerns.”

Another woman, who didn’t want to be named, reveals how she and her 18-year-old son have begun censoring each other on things that may be misunderstood if voiced in public. Her coming out for the protest was also an effort to reclaim public spaces. She says, “I feel the entire country should be safe for women and children to roam freely. We should fight for constitutional democracy and not let a majoritarian mindset prevail. Mob mentality can’t govern law and order. The fear has to go.”

A dispassionate review of the Modi government in the Economist magazine recently had this to say, “The fear is that, if the economy falters, Mr Modi will try to maintain his popularity by stirring up communal tensions. That, after all, is how his Bharatiya Janata Party first propelled itself to government in the 1990s.” Well, the #NotInMyName should show politicians, from all sections, that there is a sizeable chunk of India that doesn’t endorse minority-bashing. It’s time for all right-thinking people to stand up and be counted to reclaim the idea of India that we call ours.

The writer is an editorial consultant and co-founder of The Goodwill Project. She tweets @anuvee. Views expressed are personal.

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  1. S
    sk
    Jul 7, 2017 at 11:22 am
    Dumb heads of noinmyname stand silent at the Bashirhat violence. Their duplicity and double standards stand exposed. SHAME!
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    1. S
      Sushanth
      Jul 3, 2017 at 11:17 pm
      Not in my name# Mumbai blasts and Kashmir stone throwers...train burners Gokul chat bombers... Parliament attackers....beheaders of India army shoulders not in my name to Maoist brothers for killing and maiming CRPF jawans not in my name ...my name is Indian
      Reply
      1. I
        Indian
        Jul 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm
        The loss of innocent lives should be condemned in all forms. The Muslims brothers and sisters also need to integrate in society not build areas where there are non Muslims at all. The need of "dawah" religious conversion in 21St should also be questioned in all so called 65 Muslim countries there are hardly any non Muslims left and those who left face pressure to convert You won't find any Muslims saying NOT IN MY NAME.
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          S. S. Tiwary
          Jul 1, 2017 at 8:23 pm
          Crowd lynching, on false pretext, of peace loving and citizenery norms followed citizens of the country is gaining on the rise, is never to be accepted, what its worth. It is a condemned act which requires being dealt with iron fist to stop henceforth. A group of handful perverted people take to such cowardly act with a single and sole aim to create troubles in the smooth going of the society's constructive activities. They are the people who just look forward for the opportunity to draw from the tide, they often create ruckus and turmoil in the society whereas they don't have anything to do with the development process of the country Recent deaths caused to innocent people by the berserk crowd deserves condemned to zero tolerance and the people ignites such flaring to the devastation of governance must need be severely punished in the way that no one follows them.
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          1. E
            Employ Ment
            Jul 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm
            योजना ✔मोदी जी द्वारा चलाए गए डिजिटल इन्डिया से जुड़े और 15,000 - 50,000 रुपए ✔अब कोई नही रहेगा बेरोज़गार और नही करेगा कोई बेरोज़गार आत्महत्या ✔क्योंकि अब आ गई है 21वीं सदी की सबसे बड़ी रोज़गार क्रांति ✔हमारा सपना पूरे भारत को ही नही पूरी दुनिया को डिजिटल इंडिया से जोड़ना सबका साथ सबका विकास ➡शुरुवात कैसे करे ✔C.h.a.m.p`C.a.s.h को प्ले स्टोर से इन्स्टल करे, और साइन अप करे, $1 डॉलर बोनस : 6140686 ➡चैलेंज को पूरा करे ➡और इंकम करनी शुरू करे 👇🏻इसे जरूर नोट कर ले👇🏻 : 6140686 ........................ Hgdgdhhdhhdhudidjdi
            Reply
            1. S
              Satheesh
              Jul 1, 2017 at 11:32 am
              This is yet another 'Bahana' by the people with vested interests trying to 'reclaim' their lost ground. They tried 'award wapsee', they tried ' intolerance', they tried 'Azaadi', they tried 'Vemula', they tried 'Church attacks', they tried 'raping of nuns', they tried with 'anti-demonitization', they tried 'Pakistan bachao' Andolan, they tried 'Udupi Chalo', they tried 'Voting machines', they tried 'public display of beef eating', .............. 'Not in My Name' is one such. Neither this first or the lost. Democracy allows everyone to have their say and protest. People have the right to will respond appropriately and they deserve what they get eventually.
              Reply
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                ansuman
                Jul 1, 2017 at 9:08 am
                You have no name .You can say rather--IN the name of corrupt,inept,anti national and self proclaim secular and that will be better taken by public. Stop the drama s -you have been exposed and your misdeed are well known.
                Reply
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                  Harry
                  Jun 30, 2017 at 10:15 pm
                  These SECUS should modify their tweet :” #NotInMyName:Let’s reclaim India Let us protect Muslims, but not dalits. There have been hundreds of cases of dalits being lynched during long Congress rule. At that time Secus were not concerned about lynching.
                  Reply
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