It was one more invite to become a part of a movement. One gets inboxed these days with varied categories of causes, irrespective of what one’s position is. This sounds suspiciously like what marketing agencies would do when they want to test the reach of a product - target everybody and hope to find the right one.
I'm usually a sucker for good marketing. Sometimes I make foolish purchases, but often I have no regrets even if the product is of not much use.
But I'd not be able to buy a cause; I'd have to believe in it and the people espousing it.
Which reminds me...
As someone who is opposed to the government - any government - why was I not involved, then, with the protests against the lynchings in India? Because the Indian elite does not have it in them to fight a sustained battle.
Among those who made a public display of being at the #NotInMyName rally many don't ever categorically state their position, if they have any. In fact, there was the belief that these protests would convey India’s ganga-jamuni tehzeeb, pluralistic culture. It was obvious they were shying away from saying it was against majoritarian supremacism.
At the rallies across cities were telling each other to “stay safe” knowing well that those who are the victims don't have that choice. The self-congratulatory tone for ‘braving’ the rains to be there shows how removed they are from the reality of India. People brave the elements. Every day of their life.
They were perhaps using this as a platform to assuage intellectual guilt. But how can you make up for your silence by being out with friends, in your comfort zone? The "this is the least we can do" argument is a cop-out. It's feeding their sense of complacency: "I don't wanna do more".
The term #NotInMyName itself conveys a distancing. Like, bro, this shit isn't about me. I don't have to take responsibility.
Terming those who don't agree entirely with #NotInMyName as cynics and contrarians still does not explain their often unstated position.
Why don't we hear about the poor from the slums at such protests? How many have bothered to include the families of the victims? Where are their voices? They'd be more valid than offkey singing and aphorism-laced speeches.
How many Opposition politicians attended the protests? Aren't they the ones who can pressurise the government best?
Let's get real. Would soldiers show up in, say, #NotInMyName protests against killing of civilians by their colleagues in Kashmir?
That's my worry - it being overtly non political. This provides too many escape routes to those who might not be interested in taking a stand anyway.
Everybody wants to be an online martyr for ten different causes at the same time. It often happens over the bodies of the real dead.