At a time when the entire nation is engulfed in protests against the highly contentious legislations like Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC); legislations which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to push down our throats; our cricketers have chosen to stay mum on this issue.
Fear of a backlash from their followers (many of whom may support the present regime), the cricket board (where the son of our Home Minister is its secretary) and the central government may present them from speaking out but it is also true that many of them are apathetic to the concerns of their fellow citizens who will get disenfranchised, and probably killed, once NPR and NRC come into force.
Which is exactly why some citizens decided to take matters into their own hands. So as today’s match between India and Australia was being played out at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, a group of students used that platform to register their protest against CAA, NPR and NRC.
The torchbearers of democracy
These protests are significant not just because these people voiced their concerns during a cricket match. that was seen by millions of people not just in India but around the world. The protest assumed much more importance because it was being led by the students.
It was reported by some news websites that cricket authorities at the stadium were asking people wearing anything black to hide it with the national flag. This was done to ensure that people don’t use the color black to protest against the government. If true, this clearly shows the paranoia that encapsulates the lives of those in power. If the sight of a black flag is powerful enough to scare them into silencing a peaceful dissent, then imagine what would happen if an entire stadium roars with the cries of Aazadi as seen below in Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s rally
No to violence
Another notable thing about this protest was that it was both silent and peaceful. Contrary to the propaganda being spread by the Godi Media, BJP leaders and their supporters that the protests have been marred with violence, majority of those who are against the recent actions of our government have made their point without taking law into their own hands.
In reality, it is the government that has been high handed and insensitive in their bid to crush the protests by hook or by crook. They have used everything that they could including the police and the media but their cruelty has the exact opposite effect on the protests. Never before have the protests been so spontaneous and so vehement in their rejection of the divisive agenda of the saffron regime.
It is true that some protests have turned violent, something that needs to be condemned unequivocally. It is also true that there are instances where those violent protestors have been planted by vested interests who want to use every opportunity to discredit the whole movement. These people having those vested interests belong to a particular political party, something that is an open secret by now.
Will our cricketers speak up now?
It is true that cricketers are seen as demigods in our country and every word or action of theirs carry much weight among their followers. Their words get much more amplified in the media, unlike that of any ordinary protestor. People sit up and notice when they take a stand and their words have the power to give a boost to any cause or movement. Even their presence at an event is enough to generate the kind of buzz that the current agitation against the nefarious agenda of our government will benefit from.
So at a time when the government is trying to forcefully bring laws that will adversely affect a huge percentage of our population, it is frankly shameful to see those demigods hide behind their silence and let the people, who have supported them through thick and thin, face a barbaric, hostile and divisive government on their own and not lend them a helping hand when they need it the most. They would do well to look at Bollywood personalities like Deepika Padukone, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub, Anurag Kashyap and others who face the same risks as the cricketers but who have decided to come out of their comfort zones and stood with the protestors, especially those who have been mercilessly beaten by people who have the tacit support of those in power.
Not that we are begging them to support a cause that we deeply care for. Or that we want to run a campaign that vilifies or boycotts anyone who does not toe our line. They have a right to do as they please. They are free to support CAA, NRC and NPR or stay silent while the government takes away our rights and their supporters eliminate those who make the innocent mistake of standing up to the fascist forces of our generation. But they will never be able to deny the truth that they are siding with the oppressors who are hell-bent on ruining the lives of millions of legitimate Indian citizens just to stay in power. If the conscience of our cricketers can bear the burden of the impending genocide, that awaits the supporters of Team India that they proudly claim to represent, then good luck to them.
Image Source : Google Images