Mumbai

Sea of humanity at maidan was a mix of communities, classes, religions

United we stand: People from all religions, castes, colours and sections of society were seen protesting the CAA at August Kranti Maidan on Thursday.

United we stand: People from all religions, castes, colours and sections of society were seen protesting the CAA at August Kranti Maidan on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PUNIT PARANJPE

The city showed its cosmopolitan spirit; volunteers steered peaceful protesters into lines as azaadi chants, speeches, drums took the energy up many notches

While college students dominated the protest rally at August Kranti Maidan on Thursday, the sea of humanity was representative of Mumbai’s cosmopolitanism. The demographic present was a melting pot: men in white kurta pyjamas, LGBTQI+ community members, women in jeans, sarees, purdah and hijab. Mumbaikars of all hues, colours, classes, religions and communities joined in the chorus against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Tricolour was proudly waved at the very ground where the clarion call for the Quit India Movement was given in 1942. Of particular note were the banners and posters, mostly handmade and cleverly worded. From the witty, “It’s so bad even the privileged are here” to “Hindu Muslim hai raazi, to kya karega Nazi (where a Hindu and Muslim concur, what can a Nazi do)?” Mumbai showed up to protest with vim and vigour.

The mood was electric, yet peaceful. While the speeches were on, there was plenty of ringside action: a small group doing the azaadi chant, another playing drums in the corner. Tucked away in a corner of the maidan was a group of Muslim men offering namaaz.

Despite the crowd, there was a steady of flow of peaceful protesters, aided by volunteer groups who were helpfully guiding people into manageable lines and keeping an eye out for all the women present on the ground.

Spotted in the crowd perched near the railings, listening to speeches, was senior journalist P. Sainath with filmmaker Ruchi Narain. Actor Jim Sarbh was seen holding white flowers with a bunch of friends, while Farhan Akhtar made a quick entry and exit.

While several speakers on stage thanked the Mumbai police’s exemplary conduct and arrangement, it was amusing to note how some of them joined in for a few of the anti-government chants, albeit in a discreet fashion.

After the rally, many attendees fanned out into the neighbourhood looking for sustenance. The enduring sight, right outside a popular farsan mart at Kemp’s Corner was the motley crowd — hipsters, college students and an elderly gent with a skull cap — wolfing down fresh, hot samosas; a true Mumbai moment.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:34:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sea-of-humanity-at-maidan-was-a-mix-of-communities-classes-religions/article30353097.ece

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