Morning of 1st January 2020, when the world woke up for a new year which also ushered in a new decade, I woke up early with lot many resolutions for the year ahead and resolving to begin afresh my life and also introspecting the by gone years. The year which wrapped up with innumerable memories, passed by with just one click of the last second in the clock at midnight. The day was unusually cold, cosying under the wraps of my Rajai with another sheet of blanket over me for extra warmth in the bone biting chills of North India winters I rolled back into my past. It was the introspection into everything gone by. My close family members which no more are with me and another closed one which are growing old faster, parents, children including myself and everything which is shaping up besides being fading away with new additions in form of life and memories with each passing moments. All those who left me and are placed firm in my heart and their memories seem more closure this chilly morning as if they did not go anywhere and existed somewhere around the earthly lives. May be it was some sort of divine message or the experience of spiritual moments but was enough to kick start my first day of the new decade with a fresh resolve for life and commitment towards the lives that resolve around me.
Although, I had resolved to kick away my addiction on caffeine, the boiling tea in the freezy morning in the pot with newspaper lying beside on the shelf both stared at me for my irresoluteness. I sort of ignored away the self-reminders for maintaining my new year resolution and went ahead with my daily routine of gulping down the newspapers along with the hot sips of morning tea. I was expecting the usual pictures of new year celebrations or the setting suns on the cities symbolising the setting in of new year, but instead, the two newspapers which I glanced at, instead carried pictures of women protesters along with their small children against the citizenship law and the proposed national register for citizenship, braving the chilly and foggy last December night of the year 2019, ringing in the new year singing and chanting slogans for their rights.
It was I realized a new dawn indeed. Indian democracy which was going through perhaps the bitterest ever test where its basic foundation was under threat due to the new law of citizenship had shown a door for reclaiming it through its very basics feature, the right to protest. The dwindling credentials of the Indian democracy, as is presumed, by way of implementation of the new law, seems to have been protected by the same foundations stones on which the democratic structure of India had been erected. The right to protest, by the People of the India, who have the largest and the biggest right to claim the country. These people of India, have come out in open beating the record breaking December chills to claim what they had inherited from their forefathers and framers of their democratic republic as the only legitimate property, the constitution India, and trying to reclaim the structure which is for the people, by the people, and of the people. The ruling regime, which attempted to tore apart the concept of the ‘people’ by way of divisiveness have been hit hard from these very people of India who want to reclaim their right on the democratic structure of the country which is meant to serve none but the people of India without discriminating their faiths and religion.
While teaching my children, I have always wondered to see the Preamble of India printed on the first page of their text books. Why, I thought, year after year, this pledge needs to be printed on each text book? The youth of India, today, protesting on the streets against the Law which demeans the concept of the very first line of the preamble, “we the people of India” have not forgotten their lessons of their text book, which year after year instilled in them the concept of liberty, fraternity and brotherhood. Now when these young brigade of India, fresh, out of the schools realized their basic teachings, the teaching that conceptualized their understanding of their existence have been under attack, they thronged the streets of their country to claim their legitimate right. The pictures of the protesting people, who entered the dawn of new year and a new decade protesting throughout the night for equality, fraternity and brotherhood have helped the world wake up with hope. Hope, of how nothing is lost till we stand together, nothing will be lost till we fight together and nothing will be taken away if we realise the worth of this great edifice called the Democratic India which is protected by the ever strong protective covers, the constitution of India, which legitimizes the power in the hands of the people of the country.
Sipping my first morning tea of the new decade amidst the morning headlines I could feel the new-year mornings of my childhood days peeping out from the cozy corners of my warm blankets. How the morning haze of winter was warmed up with the glass of freshly boiled milk in my grandmother’s home. This came with lots of stories from the past to keep us stay put in the bed till late to save me and other siblings from morning chills. These stories consisted of how my forefathers had braved the afternoon heat and cold nights to get us to the state called freedom. My father’s uncle, the pride of my family who fought the British government and jailed several times was a frequent reference. The stories were endless and by the time I left the bed in wintry mornings I was always immensely motivated. Pictures in the first edition of 2020 newspapers with women, children and men protesting entire night, in the open to save the constitution and safeguarding its basic character of equality, fraternity and brotherhood links me to my childhood memory which takes me back to the freedom struggle to snatch from the British government the very legitimate right, the right to sovereignty and equality.
Beginning of 2020, instill in me a new hope and belief. The hope from youth of India and belief in the character of the republic of India and its democratic credentials. I have hope and I have belief that we the people of India can keep on building stronger India after every attempt to destabilize its foundation.