Track: Howard Hanson, Symphony No. 2 "The Romantic." (1930)
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For over seventy years after World War II, the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu hardline group which sought inspiration from Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, played little role in post-colonial India. That changed in 2014 with the election of Narendra Modi to the office of Prime Minister. Handed into a second term of office in 2019 with a clear majority, Modi, an RSS acolyte and his ministers have professed interest in altering the secular nature of India and turning it into a Hindu religious state, much along lines of the Islamic religious state of Pakistan.
To the public, two key pieces of legislation betray this intent: the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which aspires to grant citizenship to Hindu and non-Muslim refugees victimized for their faith in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), which mandates that all individuals residing in the country prove their Indian citizenship to the government.
Fury over the government’s passing of the CAA into law in mid-December has seen protests spill over into streets across all cities in the country. But whereas in other places, police brutality has assumed a new norm, the southern Indian city of Bangalore has stood apart. The police commissioner here has expressed his determination to preserve the city’s reputation as a bastion of peace, civility and economic opportunity.
As a print reporter, I have had the privilege of covering the city-wide protests since they began on December 17 - and interact with hundreds of people. Here are some of the people I've come across.