‘A spark has been lit. #NotInMyName broke silence’
Filmmaker Saba Dewan’s Facebook post condemning the lynching of a 16-year-old Muslim boy in Ballabhgarh triggered a massive protest across India on Wednesday. Thousands gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar braving incessant rain to join the #NotInMyName campaign. In Mumbai, Carter Road was full of celebrities and locals who wanted the country to stand united. Residents in Patna too joined the campaign through a silent protest at Kargil Chowk near Gandhi Maidan.
When HT spoke to her a day after the protest, Dewan, an alumnus of St Stephen’s College, said it was just the beginning and the movement will only grow bigger. Here are the excerpts:
What next for #NotInMyName campaign?
We are planning to have a meeting in a day or two to reflect upon how it went. We will also decide the future course of action. The one yesterday grew out of an organic process. I am very certain that like me, others too feel that it has to be carried forward.
A spark has been lit. One protest, significant as it was, can’t fundamentally change anything though it broke the silence, fear. People felt emboldened to come out and hit the streets.
Who were involved in organising the campaign?
When the idea was floated, I had given a call to all those interested to come for a meeting. In Delhi, a core group of 15-odd people from all walks of life was formed. Later, we gave out another call for more people to be part of the organising group and a meeting was called on the eve of the protest . Around 45-50 people turned up and they did everything. Now we all need to sit down in a couple of days for another meeting to decide on the future course of action.
How many cities took part in the protest on Wednesday?
We are still counting. The number was 16 till Wednesday night. Now I am seeing new pictures from other places. From UP. There was a protest even in Varanasi where BHU students demonstrated at Assi Ghat. That is hugely significant as it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. I saw pictures from Patna, Dharamshala, Jaipur... all were spontaneous citizens protests. People are taking ownership.
What about the one in Pakistan?
There seems to be one happening in Karachi too. I read about it. The organisers have sent us a link to the event page. It may carry all kinds of meaning as it is being organised in Pakistan.
You can’t stop people from organising such an event. What they are doing, in Karachi, is protesting against violence unleashed on minorities in Pakistan and South Asia. That is exactly the cause we all are talking about. Such protests were held even in London, Boston and Toronto.
Saba Dewan at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.