India is one of the most gut-busting country to be at. Its a little home for ironies, paradoxes, and euphemisms. You can find an assortment of people, doing assorted stuff with as many assorted reasons. Everybody here is so seasoned with the local culture, and there are more than one to choose from. Isn’t that very much the thick character of India? The Diversity. Among features such as Cultural diversity, linguistic range, and the religious medley , the laws are contracted to bind the Indians together; to save them from the blasphemous chaos that would incur otherwise. However, what happens when these laws itself become the reason for discontent and injustice in the minds of people ?
Anyway, What is resistance after all? It’s the refusal to accept or comply with something.
And what is culture? The collective behavior of some people or a shared pattern of something.
And what happens when people enroll in a culture of resistance? It can bring down the entire system or it can simply take your life.
More than often, it has resulted in substantial changes in the system. Looking back at the days, Be it the Boston Tea party in the United States of America where the people went on to disguise themselves as American Indians, and destroyed the entire shipments sent by East India company to protest against the Tea act. This simple demonstration was a major catalyst for the American Revolution!
Or be it the Gandhi led Non-cooperation movement in India, which started after the Jallianwala bagh massacre. This movement was led through some rather non violent means. Protesters would refuse to buy British Goods, adopt local handicrafts, or picket liquor shops. This movement was picked up by almost a thousand people and kept spreading on. It was a perseverant protest which aimed at challenging the colonial economic and power structure.
Such instances have been happening all over the world even in the modern times. Bahrain uprising , which followed the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, the series of protests in which almost 300,000 people took part to take down on the discrimination against shias and tyranny of the government. This uprising intimidated the monarchical rulers as much that they had to call for troops from saudi Arabia and UAE. It bloodied the image of Bahrain in the eyes of international community and many protestors lost their lives , who were titled as martyrs.
Or the march in Washington for basic Civil rights, lead by Dr.Martin Luther king where he delivered his historic speech “I have a dream”. Around 200,000 people participated in this March. And this march was responsible for the Civil Rights Act 1964 to be passed and indirectly the Voting rights act 1965. This march took place when African Americans were free from slavery.
Or the Tiananmen Square protests, which were fierce in nature took place due to many reasons . The famous tank man photo, which was believed to be the world’s 20 most influential photo depicting resistance was during these protests.
Coming back home, we had the salt march which was one of the catalysts for Purna swaraj in India, The swadeshi Movement which boycotted or picked foreign goods, creating a rise in demand for indigenous goods, The Jail bharo Andolan practiced during the Independence struggle, The akali movement which was led by sikhs who demanded being in account for their holy shrines, the samyukta Maharashtra Movement which led to formation of the state of Maharashtra, The long ongoing Telangana Movement which finally led to the formation of the state of Telangana.
In modern times, we have new sorts of protests and resistance such as throwing shoes at politicians, slapping the politician, P chidambaram, LK Advani, manmohan singh were all victims of this.
The slut walk was the first of its kind in India where the girls protested against the condition of women in India in terms of safety, dowry and other issues. We had The kiss of love movement which was started in southern India against the moral policing and We have had gay parades which support homosexuality and condemn section 377 of the Indian penal code.
As we see, there have many wide ranging protests for as many reasons. They can be any social, political or economical reason and when it gets personal and emotional, people come down to protests. It has really been a culture now to go against something regressive.
However,Do these protests really change anything? Sometimes they do, and more than often they substantially do. The least that can change is the mindset;
of the government – the shift of sense from power to fear.
of the people – the shift of sense of repression to power.
Here’s a way to broaden the culture of resistance which also expands us and enhances our cognitive and emotional level.
One wise man had said, “When you blame others, you give up your power to change” . And that being said, I would like to say that GO AHEAD and protest. Not to blame, but to change! Which can be done at a personal level by not acknowledging its existence,
by Believing that you are not bound to any regressive law or event that does not suit you,
by realising that we haven’t signed up for any contract which bounds you to follow the so called laws. Suicide is illegal, sex is illegal, booze is illegal and so is abortion and so many things. This is clearly tyranny, as we know it. Only you can decide what you want to do. Take charge of your actions.
These laws, we may think, protect us from the so called social evils. And in a modest way it does. But more than that, it makes us dependent on an external factor (laws/Government) for your own decisions, behavior and everything else. This is not what a country should be like. You aren’t free from the state. Democracy is a sweet illusion… and another wise man had said “be the change you want to see in this world”. If everyone of us change our own way of thinking and behaving it is going to be another cognitive revolution of resistance, and the manifestations of which will be shown ahead of time.