As Delhi's Shaheen Bagh became the epicentre of India's spirit of unity and undeterred commitment to the cause, a bus stop turned into a makeshift library has added to the beauty of the place.
Amid thousands of voices protesting against the government's Citizenship Amendment Act, a group of them has expressed their solidarity at the Fatima Sheikh Savitribai Phule Library, about 50 metres from the protest site in Shaheen Bagh. Named after two strong women who changed history and women's rights forever, this library reminds every protester and every woman of their reason to revolt each day.
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We need more Shaheen Baghs. Across Delhi; across India. More people out on the streets reminding a nation what it means to protest, to dissent in a democracy. To remind people what it is to be patriotic & passionate about our country. The spirit of the protest lives on in Shaheen Bagh, day after day, night after night. Through the harsh winter & the dampening rain; but not once has the harshness hardened their hearts, nor has the rain dampened their souls. They do not rest, they do not pause. They persist, despite the difficulties and against all odds. Peacefully, beautifully. THAT is protest. THAT is spirit. And while the residents of Delhi & other cities marvel the humans of Shaheen Bagh for their grit, for their determination, unless we all feel that way, echo that sentiment, this movement will remain restrictive. Unless more areas across various different cities don't become Shaheen Baghs in their own right, echoing the call of freedom through the silence of the night, night after night, we will remain easy to manipulate. We need to disrupt our routine. We need to disrupt our own order so as to be noticed more & more. Shaheen Bagh is a symbol & will continue to remain one but, the symbol should be the beginning of that change. It should take root & stem in every part of the ground until they have nowhere to step or turn without seeing us fighting for what we believe in. It started with Shaheen Bagh, let it continue through each and everyone of us.And I request you to come, be a part of it and carry the word forward. Contribute. The roads of Kalindi Kunj have been converted into a protest hub. Crowds throng day & night, singing, sloganeering & dissenting. This crowd can be bigger; this voice can be louder. Come join the humans of Shaheen Bagh after the day & night hourly protests are over. Create - a Shaheen Bagh nearby and let the sounds echo through and draw more people in. This is revolution. The spirit of India. We're a population of 1.3 billion. It's time to unite now. #shaheenbagh #indiaagainstcaa_nrc #jnu #delhi #fromwhereistand #revolution #change #ourtimeisnow #inquilabzindabad
The library was started on January 17, 2020, marking the fourth death anniversary of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit research scholar at the University of Hyderabad. People visiting the library claimed that this is a symbol of protest.
Rohith's image is placed in a corner of the library with candle burns, books spread across the floor and portraits of social reformers in the backdrop, with a hope that the movement will sustain if people learn, agitate and organise together.
The library was put together after Mohd Asif, along with with his friends donated 25-30 books from their personal collection of literature books. After a massive contribution, a Facebook campaign also launched to procure more books. From Anne Frank's 'Diary of a Young Girl', J K Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy' to Khushwant Singh's 'End of India', this library has something to offer to every individual
The all-women protest, the horrific JNU incident on January 5 and constant efforts to malign the movement in Shaheen Bagh motivated people to set up the library where people could contribute to the cause.
With dim lights and strong dedication, the library has a spread of books that talk about the history and the foundation of this country. From George Orwell's 1984, Premchand's collective works, Ismat Chugtai's stories to Isaac Assimov and Ghalib's musings, this makeshift library attracts people from all walks of life. The library makes Shaheen Bagh much more than just a site of protest.
A site of struggle and peace, rebellion and determination, Shaheen Bagh reminds every protester of the beautiful relationship between books and revolution.
Also Read: 4-Month-Old Dies After Catching Cold At Shaheen Bagh, Mother To Continue Protest