Road to Aryavarta

Those who perceive the hugely controversial NRC as a quintessential BJP/ RSS ploy to create a communal rift and further polarize the country are committing a cardinal mistake, for which history and our posterity will never forgive them.

For the incumbent BJP government at the centre, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) suffices to achieve their well-known agenda. Brute majority in the Parliament has been used to get this ugly act passed. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a different ballgame altogether wherein millions of “unwanted” poor in India, with no identity, will be thrown out of the national mainstream with the country’s doors permanently closed on their face.

In fact, it was the ill-intended NRC initiated in Assam that compelled Amit Shah to introduce Citizenship Amendment Bill hurriedly and get it passed as Citizenship Amendment Act. His plan to get Bangladeshi Muslims out of the list of citizens in Assam went for a toss when, out of 19 lakh potential illegal migrants discovered in Assam, 13 lakh turned out to be Hindus. His aim to appease the RSS top brass would have failed had he declared these Hindus illegal. Indeed the gun backfired as it happens with any sinister conspiracy.
He could have invited the wrath of the RSS and been made to pay a heavy political price for this blunder.

The scheming mind that he has, he invented CAA wherein he designed a phrase “persecuted minorities” from Muslim-majority neighbors like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to be granted Indian citizenship. The act is full of flaws and discriminatory clauses. For example, aren’t Hindu Tamils from Sinhala-majority Sri Lanka minorities in that country? How does one prove that someone migrated to India illegally, say twenty years ago, because of religious persecution? But Modi & Shah won’t bother to reply to such logical questions.

Why did Assam go up in flames against CAA? Just like every other state in India, Assam too has its regional pride, its own culture, language. It doesn’t care if the illegal migrants are Hindus or Muslims from Bangladesh. They are not Assamese for them. The people of Assam are right when they ask why should they take the economic burden of these foreigners (Hindus or Muslims) at their own economic peril. I wish to underline here that the stiffest opposition to the CAA has come from the border states like Assam, Bengal, and Punjab. It clearly means they are not comfortable accommodating any illegal migrants, no matter to which religion they belong.

Why did Modi & Shah start the NRC to make RSS happy? It is to fulfill the deep-rooted desire of the RSS to regenerate the caste-based social pyramid, something we successfully demolished Constitutionally 70 years ago. The system that never allowed the weak and the poor to prosper, and forced them into slavery with no chance to rise up the pyramid, that was dominance of the rich and the powerful over the rest. These rest are forced to live in their ghettos at the mercy of the rich or be thrown out of the country altogether.

Let me elaborate a little. I come from a nomadic tribe called the Vanjari. Over 50% of the people from my tribe have no regular domicile. Year after year we travel for hundreds of kilometres in search of jobs primarily as farm labour. We toil in the scorching heat and somehow manage a meal for our children and ourselves. We live in makeshift shanties which do not provide any protection from cold, heat, rains, snakes, scorpions, and wild animals. Our women deliver their babies in such horrid living conditions. There are no doctors or medical help, let alone any maternity benefits from the landlord. Schools do not admit our boys and girls as we have no fixed residential address, no birth certificates, no land or property in our name and we have no caste certificates.

There are 6,700 such castes and tribes in India who live, rather survive, such an agonizing life generation after generation.

A simple question: what damned documents can these castes and tribes produce to prove their citizenship before the ruthless government officials whose demeanour rivals Hitler’s Gestapo.

The BJP government is building detention camps in different parts of the country with a zeal and speed that would put even Hitler’s concentration camps for Jews to shame. Is there be any hope for such a populace to even dream of making something out of their existence, have any prosperity once locked behind heavily guarded iron gates and declared non-Indians?

Modi & Shah are creating gated communities wherein India will belong only to the haves and the have-nots will be pushed behind the walls of detention camps. Nobody will ever know what miseries they may face inside and what eventually happens to them. A huge chunk of poor, destitute people from India’s plural civilization will be wiped out. Among them there will be not Muslims alone. There will be weaker sections from every religion. The misguided urban lower middle class cheerleaders of this inhuman exercise called NRC, , high on Hindutva venom, better realize now that they can become the target at any time. A hungry dinosaur does not check your religion before swallowing you. You are supporting a dinosaur.

Few months ago I watched a serial titled “Leila” by critically acclaimed director Deepa Mehta. An “Aryavarta” created in the serial had such gated communities where the poor had no entry, no equality, no opportunities, no interaction with those living in plush colonies. The limited access was subjected to a “permit”.

After I refuse to give any of the documents required for #CAA, to which detention camp they will send me?

Dr. Jitendra Awhad
  • Dr. Jitendra Awhad
  • Jitendra Awhad is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra, India. He represents the Mumbra-Kalwa constituency of Thane city as a Nationalist Congress Party member in the Vidhan Sabha. He has previously served as Cabinet Minister of Medical Education and Horticulture in the Maharashtra state cabinet.

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