Published: 19th December 2019
Meet Dhanya Madhav, a 'Dalit Ambedkarite' who protested against CAA weeks after giving birth to twins
Dhanya Madhav made her way into the frontlines despite having given birth to twin children just less than a month ago. Her grit and determination to be there for a cause really galvanised people in Ko
On December 18, Dhanya Madhav admits to having thought twice before leaving her newborn twin children behind for the first time. But she forced herself to book a cab from all the way in Aluva to Marine Drive in Kochi where one of the biggest student protests in the city was underway. Less than a month after giving birth, the Ayurvedic doctor put everything aside to march against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.
"I wish to introduce my self as an Ambedkarite rather than anything else," she tells us. "Ambedkar himself has said, 'How ever good a Constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will prove to be bad'. We have undoubtedly found ourselves in a situation where this has become a reality. So I realised that I needed to stand up and raise my voice for those who are struggling because of the CAA, NRC and NPR. I am standing here for the people of Assam and Kashmir and for the students of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia. I may have had to travel for an hour, but it does not even compare to what these people have had to go through and what we will have to go through as a nation if we don't stand up now."
Social media has dubbed December 19 'Emergency 2019'. At a time when students all over the country have been laying out lessons for the rest of us through blood, sweat and tears despite internet shut downs and police brutality, each face that has disappeared into India's unshaken crowds has a story to tell. And in these times when our basic identity is under question, we take a closer look at the ordinary people who have chosen to fight for the right to be Indian.
Having given birth so recently was it safe for her to be there? She says, "I am still undergoing post natal treatment because my delivery was a Caesarian procedure. My family was obviously concerned for my safety because of how the establishment has been dealing with protestors. But I think they understood how important this was. Being an educated Ambedkarite Dalit woman, I strongly believe that the constitution has given me the right to education and that it was not a privilege that anyone granted. This is why I have the designation of 'Dr' in front of my name. So I have this commitment to my society and the state. When the fundamental right of a people are denied by the governing authorities, each one of us should stand for what is right."
Dhanya believes that the government's recent string of policies could be potentially disastrous for our social fabric. "I cannot go without mentioning the Transgender Bill 2019 as well. I strongly oppose all these Hindutva genocidal plans that the Modi government is planning to implement. My greatest joy has been being able to represent the Dalit community today. We cannot support these islamophobic, genocidal bills while we still have the will in us to fight it!"
Dhanya has been an activist for many years, espousing a number of human rights causes. "Being a seasoned protester myself, I appreciate all the organisers for making this protest happen without the support of mainstream organisations.That's why this struggle really stood apart and that's why I chose it to respresent me." She ends by quoting one of Ambedkar's greatest lines, "'We are Indians firstly and lastly'. Yes, we need not prove it to anyone that this is our land."