Home Is Where the Revolution Is

This personal essay explores the competing and complementary semantics of “home” in the context of the recent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.

I was in a cab recently when the middle-aged cab driver Kalyan (name changed)—an avid conversationalist and a “devotee” (his words) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi—commented bitterly that he was sick and tired of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens. “These people are misleading our country. They don’t understand a simple logic—India is our home, and ‘guests’ and ‘visitors’ will have to behave according to the rules of our home, else they will be thrown out,” he crisply stated. I did not respond. Misunderstanding my silence as a failure of comprehension, he launched into an explanation, “See, it is just like when you have guests at home. You will open your doors and welcome them but then, suppose they start occupying all your rooms? What if they start praying loudly to their own god?” He chuckled to himself and concluded, “Maybe these people who are protesting have never had guests. That is why they are not understanding this simple logic!”

Realising that I was now in a discussion with him, I asked who he thought were the “owners” of the country, and who the “guests.” He turned around, eyes wide open, and then laughed with relief. “I thought you were Muslim! I got fully scared. You are wearing a bindi and seem to be from a decent family, then why are you asking me this question? This country is yours and mine. What other country can we call home? We have let others stay. Instead of being grateful, they are accusing good people like Modi and Shah of being evil. We Hindus are a family, and our own family members are betraying us.”

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Updated On : 11th Jan, 2020

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