‘I, Noor Aisha, am an Indian citizen. Did you ask our ancestors for identity proof when they were fighting for Indian independence? So, why do I have to prove my citizenship now?’ This is what’s on one of the many postcards being mailed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence: 7, Race Course Road, New Delhi. Another reads: ‘Mr. Modi, why do you think we will be scared of storms? We are habituated to peddle boats in typhoons.’
Shaheen Bagh—one of the most important protest sites that has come up to object the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and where women have been at the forefront of an indefinite sit-in that started a month ago—saw the protesters send thousands of letters to Modi on Saturday, January 18. Through these, the women invited the PM to join them for tea, listen to their ‘Mann ki Baat’ (contextually translates as ‘straight from the heart’ but is also the name of Modi’s radio programme) and indulge in ‘chai pe charcha’ (‘conversations over tea’ but also the name of Modi’s 2014 election campaign). Modi, who had participated in several Chai Pe Charcha events during the 2014 election campaign to underline his humble beginnings as a tea seller, has been largely silent on the protests that have been raging across the country since over a month.
As part of the campaign #TumKabAaoge (‘when will you come’) run by Friends of Shaheen Bagh— an informal group of young activists and artists—the men, women and children of the area on New Delhi’s border with Noida pushed for a dialogue between the government and anti-CAA protestors with these postcards written in English, Hindi and Urdu.
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