‘Not in My Name’ is a phrase which has a powerful meaning to it. It is defined solely by the different interpretations that people give it through their perspectives. 28th June, 2017 saw the gathering of about thousands of people from all walks of life at Madhusudhan Mancha, Dakshinapan, Kolkata for the solitary purpose of supporting #NotInMyName. One of the primary Human Rights that we usually boast of, is the Right to Live. Theoretically, at no cost can that be taken away from anyone in the world. But the reality is far from the written principles where day after day, we read in newspapers and watch in television channels that another life has been put to an end.
I would define #NotInMyName as an artistic gathering of people and standing in solidarity for a social cause. The evening progressed with an amalgamation of performances including- poetry, songs and speeches. It witnessed the presence of social activists, well- known celebrities like Aparna Sen and Dhritiman Banerjee; and the local people.
The crowd was a very enthusiastic one consisting of the young and the old; known media professionals from channels like NDTV, Times Now, ABP Ananda and others; many entrepreneurs and school and college going students. Such was their enthusiasm that even the monsoon showers could not dampen their spirits. What caught my eyes the most was when the Namaaz was read beside the slogans of #NotInMyName.
‘Not In My Name’ as said earlier can be perceived in various ways. It can be seen as a person being aloof to the current situations; someone who does not want anything good or bad to happen in his or her name. On the other hand, it can also mean that what is happening in the name of society, which consists us, is actually happening in our name and it is time to stop that- by standing shoulder to shoulder against the heinous atrocities.
India is an ancient country with its principles and community life aging back to years best spelt out by historians. However, it has from the very beginning shown co-existence among people of all race, culture, caste, creed, sex and religion. Thus, now is definitely not the time to undo the rich heritage of the country. In fact, if people do witness it being undone, it is time to come together and rebuild it on stronger lines so that no one can ever breach it in future. Thus #NotInMyName is not only a slogan but also immense power given to each one of us to support what is right and raise our voice against the wrong. In the words of Andrei Sakharo, “Our country, like every modern state, needs profound democratic reforms. It needs political and ideological pluralism. . . and protection of human rights and the opening up of society.”
I would love to know what it means to you and what it stands for you. Do leave a comment so that through dialogue and debate we can take it further and not restrict it to just another evening gathering.
Lastly, I would leave you with some photographs from the gathering.