One Year Later, Delhi Still Burns.
Welcome to the SAALT’s Voices from the Community series, where we feature posts from community members on key issues and their intersections.
Today we mark the one year anniversary of the pogrom in Delhi. In light of this passage, we’re highlighting a piece by Shivani Parikh, an aspiring movement lawyer and advocate in the U.S., which highlights the importance of transnational solidarity when fighting fascism, especially within the South Asian American diaspora.
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It has been one year since Delhi caught fire. Hindu supremacist mobs attacked and vilified their Muslim neighbors, resulting in a pogrom with at least 40 deaths and 200 injuries. For those of us with roots in Gujarat, it is easy to see the parallels to the Naroda Patiya massacres of 2002, where similar extremist violence left thousands injured, traumatized, homeless, displaced, or dead.
Today, Delhi still burns.
The pogroms (noted only as riots in the Wikipedia coverage of the events) were just the beginning of an exponential acceleration of an extremist Hindu political agenda: the Indian government has expanded its settler-colonial project in Kashmir with increased surveillance; falsely blamed Muslim communities for the spread of COVID-19, inciting collective public violence; and justified violent state responses to farmers’ rightful protests against bills that prioritize corporate profits over people. In the name of nationalism and patriotism, those speaking out against injustice have been demonized and criminalized in a blatant rescission of constitutional rights.
For our South Asian American diaspora, today marks yet another moment of reckoning. The fire has burned for a year — how have we attempted to protect those it has burned? To rehabilitate, restore, and repair? To extinguish it and keep it from harming others?
We have fought against hatred in the U.S. for years, and as such, we are intimately familiar with the traumas of state-sanctioned bigotry. With this history, to stand by and watch as our Indian and Kashmiri brethren face similar attacks is inexcusable.
Today, we call on all South Asians in the U.S. to meditate on our obligations as a diaspora and people to be in solidarity with our communities. At the core of South Asian pride is a compassionate commitment to justice, understanding we must hold our ancestral homelands to the same standards as our current homelands — this, of course, goes both ways. Rejecting white supremacy here is a commitment tied firmly to rejecting Brahminical patriarchy and Hindu extremism in India, as well as religious bigotry, colonial occupation, and ethnic violence across South Asia and globally — it is one we must all make if we truly wish to combat fascism.