And as our beautiful flag is unfurled this Republic Day, let your voice and mine, stilled through fear or indifference, flow free, understanding our absolute right to protest, given by a Constitution, whose making we celebrate today!
“Use Your Voice!” “Use Your Voice!”
The residents of Upper East Side, Manhattan, many of them millionaires and billionaires, looked out of their fancy windows yesterday and saw protesters, waving placards and marching down pavements, shouting, “Use Your Voice!”
But the residents smiled.
Those below protesting, were not activists, as we in India call anyone who protests, or seditionists as we call anyone who talks against the government, or anti-nationalists, as we term anyone who disagrees with us. Those below with the placards in their outstretched arms, little arms, were four-year old children from the local school, some of them children of the same residents who looked out of their windows; little boys and girls, being taught by their school their absolute right to protest!
They were being taught at a young age that this was one of democracy’s fundamental rights!
One of the ‘protesting’ children was my grandson. I heard his little voice in the video my daughter shot from her window, and saw his little face, sincere and determined as he shouted, “Use your voice!”
“Yes, my little boy,” I whisper, even as I realise in our country, the words are slowly turning to “Lose your voice!” “Yes, I will tell my people this today!”
“Today on Republic Day, clamber, climb or claw on to the old dusty book called the Constitution of India, that the unfurled flag speaks about and once you are steady on that book, protest against all you feel is wrong! “Use your voice!” shout the four-year old’s and do I see you nod?
It doesn’t matter whether you belong to the 80% or the 20%, because in Hitler’s Germany after 6 million Jews were slaughtered, yes I call them slaughtered, not the placid term, ‘gassed’, the Aryans who’d watched in silence suddenly found Hitler dividing them as either Nazis or the ‘others’!
If it hadn’t been for the intervention of the Allied forces the gas chambers would have continued burning, as German ‘others’ would have found themselves making the inside rounds of crematoriums created especially for them.
“Use your voice!” shouts my little fellow. They say he looks a lot like his granddad, ah well, I hope I have some of the courage his school teaches him to display, even as I know my country like his, is also one of the biggest democracies in the world, which allows you and me the right to protest, the right to, “Use my voice!”
“Happy Republic Day!” I shout, even as I hear a tiny four-year old shouting with the courage, conviction and confidence a democracy gives him, and should give us, “Use Your Voice..!”
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