I had totally forgotten about it being independence day last Sunday, and then I was planning on releasing this one a couple of weeks from now, but I thought I would drop it kind of like a bonus track instead. In some ways, I took only a week to knock this ep out, but in some ways, I’ve been thinking about it since India’s devastating COVID 2nd Wave. I am furious, bitter & filled with hatred, resentment & frustration. Episode 5: The Pariah Kite Lodges in the Branches of the Mustard Tree is all me, I'm the only conspirator.
I may not be the most Bible-thumping Christian these days, but in the face of the all-consuming violence that threatens us - my blood is up. I’m furious at the institutional murder of Fr. Stan Swamy - an act of religious persecution along with everything else. The increase in the vitriol was launched towards Disha Ravi when the right-wing IT cells began passing on the falsehood that she was Disha Ravi Joseph.
I’m Riya Talitha Samuel; that cannot be fact-checked away. Are we just supposed to lie down and roll over when these racist bigots are hunting us down? Are we just supposed to continue to be invisible, to have barely any socio-political influence or identity in the national imagination beyond service in medicine & education? I think not.
It wasn’t his actually pretty realistic call for chakka jams that led to Sharjeel Imam being arrested. His historical memory, uncompromising advocacy of his Muslim self, & his sheer magnetic courage that strikes “fear into the marrow of the Hindutva state”.(Thanks and solidarity to Omair Bhat, who let me quote from a piece of his writing on Sharjeel Imam, and whose work always inspires and enrages me)
s/o to Sharjeel Usmani & his fiery politics + ideals & his well-articulated mistrust of the State. If I’VE been warned that I’m reckless with what I say, I can’t imagine what he must be getting from his friends & family. It should come to no surprise that I look up immensely to them & their principled grounded fury on behalf of their communities.
As Christians in this wretched country, we pretty much do exist on the sufferance of the Hindus. But there’s more of us than there are of them & our moral force is undeniable if only we’re able to seek it out & pursue it to its end. To quote my boy Riz Ahmed in his 2019 song ‘Once Kings’, we still “gotta beg borrow steal from these pagans”. Suffice it to say; I’m sick of these Hindoos, man. I’m sick of them making the rest of us sick. I’m sick of being invisibilized in my own country. Christians are invisibilized to a violent extent, as are the levels of othering, mob violence, disenfranchisement & ghettoisation that we are actually subjected to. Look up the stats on this. Look up the stats on the levels of Christian incarceration. Look into your own self. What do you actually even know about us? How often do you even consider us as your fellow citizens?
As Annan Thol Thirumavalavan explained, our time is coming; our assertion is inevitable. And as Babasaheb said on November 4, 1948: “To diehards who have developed a kind of fanaticism against minority protection, I would like to say two things. One is that minorities are an explosive force that, if it erupts, can blow up the whole fabric of the State. Personally speaking, I cannot wait.
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