Amidst the sloganeering and theatrics of hundreds of protesters at the Women’s March protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi today, was a wheel-chair bound octogenarian, Mrs Kapoor. Adamant not to reveal her first name, she spoke with SheThePeople.TV about her reason to be at the Women’s March that had gathered hordes of women, queer and trans folks in opposition of the citizenship amendment act (CAA) and the national register of citizen (NRC) along with national population register (NPR) now.
“Our country is going haywire. We have never expected this to happen in our country. We are all one and we live like we are one. How can we differentiate now? It is not right,” she says about the current scenario where NRC across the country would mean every person in the country would have to prove their citizenship. On the increasing narrative being built up that this differentiation is happening on the basis of religion, she says, “There is no doubt about the fact that there have been arbitrary and apparent discrimination happening on the basis of religion. We have all lived together from the very beginning and I used to tie rakhi to my Muslim brothers who were the sons of my father’s friends.
“Let’s hope that through these protests, we are able to build a strong resistance. We must love human beings and not their religion,”
I still have a friend in Pakistan who is my childhood friend and we are still in touch with each other and we write to each other. Her father came all the way from Pakistan to meet my father. People like us who have lived through partition don’t differentiate because we believe that they are as humans as we are.” She recalls how she went to Pakistan after partition and the amount of love and affection the people from Pakistan give to Indians was fabulous. “We never thought that we had gone to a different country,” she notes.
When asked about her need to be physically present at the protest she responds with difficulty in the midst of noise and clamour, she says, “I am very worried. I wanted to come so people know that people my age are also joining the movement. In the last few years, the country seems to be heading in the worst direction. People have no respect for each other and it makes me very sad. Our country can only run on a secular fabric and not when one community fights with the other.”
“I am very worried. I wanted to come so people know that people my age are also joining the movement. Our country can only run on a secular fabric and not when one community fights with the other.”
Mrs Kapoor was at the protest to also, metaphorically, to stand in solidarity with her son-in-law and a noted human rights activist Harsh Mander who has been incessantly protesting against these new laws and the current political regime. On asking if she has seen other such protests in her lifetime, she denies and reveals that her husband was in the army so she wasn’t in close touch with the locals. However, on asking if these protests will result in anything concrete, she says, “Let’s hope that through these protests, we are able to build a strong resistance. It is high time they (government) change. They are not doing any good to the country, I don’t appreciate it at all. We must love human beings and not their religion,” Mrs Kapoor signs off.