India’s protests could be a tipping point against authoritarianism

Fahad’s rebellion was marked by red paint on his face and a black band on his head. On Monday, facing a statue of B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian constitution, Fahad read aloud as a crowd of close to 500 students sat in a circle, swaying to revolutionary songs of freedom. He read from the preamble of the constitution: “We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens Justice … Liberty … Equality … and Fraternity.”

A woman standing next to me searched Google for the preamble and started reading along. When I told Fahad this, he smiled and said, “This is what we wanted: for the citizens of this country to revisit the constitution that has been long forgotten. We need to remember the secularism enshrined [in it] because those in power would rather bring in a Hindu rashtra [Hindu nation].”

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