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One year!

Impossible to not look back and see what was going through my mind then.

And more importantly whether my acts since then has justified my own decision.

Have to thank twitter here. August 2019 TL gives me a glimpse to my own thoughts back then. Long thread. 1/n
September was a month of taking questions and finding answers. Key learning was that dismissing questions that we found senseless is how we reached here.

Ranging from what about Kashmiri Pandits to didn't you resign because you were about to be fired for misconduct. 2/n
September was also the first month of what was to be an incessant travel. Had a belief that it is important to have a conversation on what we are doing in Kashmir not with just those in Delhi, but to people of the country at large. It was also a month of feeling helpless. 3/n
Travelled to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore. Got opportunity to talk to students from various colleges. Was denied entry at Pune university library. And students protested. Pune visit was particularly inspiring. Some 5 hour talk at a jam packed hall. 4/n
But I was confronted with a key question in Chennai. That question still reverberates.

"I am a 23 year old girl. Born here. Have been here all my life. And you say I am not an Indian."

As I was smarting my way through various tough questions, this one stayed with me. #NRC 5/n
For me it was important that we express our protest if we dissent.

This habit of keeping our dissent to bedroom talks, party gossips or self-destructing telegram/signal messages was harmful to democracy.

Called for a tape your mouth protest in solidarity with Kashmiris. 6/n
October was again travel. IIT-Bombay and Lucknow stand out.

I had been to IIT-Bombay some 12 years before to participate in Techfest with my image processing robot. Couldn't win.

This time was different. That question of are we waiting for concentration camps did connect. 7/n
Lucknow, they cancelled the venue at the last moment. I did speak though. :) 8/n
During my visit to Kerala, a junior from the service gifted me a book.

'Maus' by Art Spiegelman.

I made fun of it by asking why are you giving cartoons.

She said 'You go through it sir'.

"There's no cause for alarm - it's only a matter of inspecting your documents" 9/n
You would understand why the next day's ToI front-page in Lucknow was frightening for me. It was a Jew who asked fellow jews to be ready with documents. And they believed it.

It was important to raise voice. It was imperative that we protest. 10/n
I had learned that you need to travel and meet people and convey your position. People listen if you take the effort to go and talk. And if they agree they support. Just twitter posts won't work.

So November was even more hectic travel. Across the country. 11/n
From BBSR to Mysore to Latur to Hyderabad, it was crazy travel.

Remember, the CAA-NRC movement had not started. 12/n
Biggest strength came from NAPM. Met with so many people who have been fighting so tirelessly for the rights of citizens all their life. People who inspired you.

I requested if a resolution against CAA-NRC can be adopted. After a good decision it was adopted. 13/n
Ah! In Sep, I had met a young Muslim working with MH Govt. He shared that his family is looking for some 60 year old document & cried that they are unable to find it.

I cannot forget those tear drops as it fell on his beard. That pain of being asked to prove you are an Indian.
In october I was also of the opinion that "Kagaz nahi dikhayenge" was the right strategy. :)
But a month later, by November 1st, I was clear that a Kaagaz nahi dikhayenge won't do.

We have to exercise our fundamental rights. And peaceful protests is what our forefathers have always used to tell unpleasant truth to those in power.
I remember screaming, 'Aandolan karna hoga' from various public platforms. if there is an undeclared emergency, let there be an undeclared resistance.
So when I said this to @amitshah that there won't be a nationwide NRC ever, in November, I was not speaking out of thin air. Nor was I speaking for myself. But for all those citizens whom I had met during the past two months of travel.
Visits to more than 10 districts in Bihar during that period helped me understand how close democratic values are to the people of Bihar. Every place an enlightened group with profound understanding of history. Learned more to be honest.
And we did hit the street. #Araria on Dec 8th.
West Bengal was already having a strong movement against the proposed NRC. Dec 9th was to see a massive protest sitting in Kolkata.
And other cities joined in, in what was to be the beginning of one of the massive national movements our country has seen.
During this short journey, I met many activists, young students, met many artists, writers, thinkers, professors, celebrities, and realised the innate strength of this country.

No one person or one Govt can destroy our country or what it stands for. If we decide, that is!
So I look back not with regret or disappointment. But with tremendous hope and strength.

A phase shouldn't define a cycle.
A generation shouldn't define a nation.

When every Indian finds her rightful place in India,
That is when India will find her rightful place in the world.
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