Notes from the Global Day of Rage: Delhi
Jantar Mantar. The inevitable, fitting physical space enfolding and amplifying rage.
I am standing there holding placards counting the number of people – running in the hundreds of thousands – who have signed a global petition against the verdict.
Many of the volunteers holding these placards are people I’ve never met before, and will probably not see again until Pride.
I am offered water, and when people cheer a speaker with rainbow flags in the air, some of the loneliness of being in a new city dissipates.
Gautam Bhan, a leader of the movement(s), talks about the importance of asking for support when you need it. Something inside me softens. Once more, I marvel at the resilience – and the diversity – of this rage.
There was a much smaller protest held by trans*communities before this one. Many of the participants followed up their presence there with their rage here.
The speakers reflect this diversity – from employing the language of nationalism (towards affirming queer citizenship) to laughingly reflecting the ironies of living in the ‘world’s largest democracy.’
From complicating body-shaming by complimenting one’s own trans* body as being ‘more beautiful’ than the bodies of ‘women’, to reiterating that marital rape continues to be legal.
From singing Lady Gaga to a rousing Hindi protest song asking who it is – exactly – that can possibly be threatened by people asking for freedom. From warning the participants not to betray their queer communities by voting for a party that has expressly supported the Supreme Court verdict, to dancing to the wonderfully apt ‘Pyar kiya toh darna kya?’
My favourite aspect of these iterations of queer rage – adding to personal enjoyment and fueling political anger – is the lampooning of various personalities on their hypocritical stance on queer human rights. There is a lot of poetry saucily interrogating the likes of Baba Ramdev and the BJP head, Rajnath Singh.
The resilience of the people on the streets that day – alone, with a friend, with partners – found its laughing rage in the face of the patently absurd claims to the ‘natural’ made in the first instance by the Supreme Court, and subsequently by these public personalities.
This was 15th December. Something strong came back to us all from last year. We all remember. We remember the same things these godmen and priests and politicians have to say about the fatal attack on the body of one who is now remembered as Fearless. We don’t miss these things. Yeh public hai sab janti hai.
And it was in these humorous retellings of the spite and bigotry routinely practiced by these characters that the ridiculousness of gender-based violence fully revealed itself. Its fascist lack-of-logic. Its intolerance of diversity and freedom. Its absurdity.
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