‘Disenfranchisement is the First Step to Genocide’

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Indian Americans protest against CAA in Washington.

INTERVIEW | DR SHAIK UBAID

‘Caravan Daily’ interviewed eminent Indian American activist and community leader Dr. Shaik Ubaid of New York on the eve of the international campaign to observe January 26th, the day India’s Constitution was adopted in 1950, as “A day of resolve and action”.  Excerpts:

Q: How did this campaign start?

A: The campaign to resist the fascist takeover of India and to disenfranchise the Indian Muslims, which is led by young women and young men , students at universities, has inspired the Indian diaspora in America too. We are also worried that the Hindu supremacist government of India might try to crush the youth and women-led movement by force.

A group of activists in Albany and Boston thought of holding a big protest rally in Washington or New York and approached me for guidance and help. I suggested to them to use the past experiences of working under a coalition and have rallies in front of every Indian consulate in the US as well as other countries in the West.

Dr Shaik Ubaid. 

I also told them to make it a day of resolve and action. The rallies must involve American clergy from the Jewish and Christian faith as well as civil rights and human rights leaders.

Why is it important to have interfaith and other American presence?

Well, we live in the US which happens to be the most influential country in the world. History teaches us that to defeat fascism it always required an international effort. Besides, the RSS has been infiltrating both the American Hindu community and the US power centres for a long time. An informed coalition of American clergy and human rights leaders is the best way to marginalise Hindutva in the US and to put pressure on the RSS-backed governments in India

Why do you call it the ‘Stop Genocide‘ movement?

Disenfranchisement is the first step to genocide. We saw it in Nazi Germany with the Jews. The Indian government has already built concentration camps which it calls detention centers in many cities. It is easy to stop a genocide before it goes into full swing than to stop it later. I have been running the WhatsApp group call ‘Prevent Genocide in India’ for almost 2 years now.

How hopeful are you of success?

We always have to be hopeful. Fascism has always been defeated but the worry is that before it is defeated it might wreck havoc on millions.

You must be more hopeful after the recent verdict at Hague asking the Rohingya to be protected from genocide. You are the cofounder of Burma Task Force which has been actively campaigning for this outcome.

Yes, we are very thankful to God and then to our supporters. It is still a long way to go to bring the perpetrators of genocide to justice and to rehabilitate the Rohingya.

You have developed expertise in analysing psychological tactics used by governments and fascist movement to crush dissent and advise against the “Azadi” song- why?

You are right. The civil rights and human rights movements must not ignore how the psychology of fear is used by the hatemongers. We too must psychological tactics and not make blunders which we may not be even aware of such as using the word Azadi which was made popular by the Kashmiris struggling to gain freedom from India. Therefore, the fascist RSS very easily evokes the visual images of Kashmiris in the minds of millions of naive people.  Just because it is legal or moral or sentimental, we must not use a tactic which helps the enemies of peace and justice. I am suggesting that we use the word Chutkara (liberation or riddance) in place of Azadi (freedom). Instead we should use slogans like:

Nafrat say Chutkara
Ghurbat say Chutkara
DangoN say Chutkara
Corruption say Chutkara
Fascism say Chutkara

Lekar Rahengay Haqq Hamara

Bhook say Chutkara
Balatkaar say Chutkara
Lynching say Chutkara
BhaktouN say Chutkara

Lekar Rahengay Haqq Hamara

RSS say Chutkara
BJP say Chutkara
NDA say Chutkara
CAA say Chutkara
NPR say Chutkara
NRC say Chutkara

Lay kar rahengay haqq Hamara

Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule so close to the rallies.

Thank you for the opportunity ‘Caravan Daily‘ is doing a great job of upholding the noble values of journalism.

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