What is a mighty nation made of?
Is it proud of a broad chest, powerful arms, majoritarian stronghold, or the wisdom of its glorious past that surely surpassed the modern even before the world hit the interlude to modernity?
A nation, if one is to go by the ideals at least ours was formed with, becomes mighty when it accepts and instils compassion in its policies and perspective. One that knows how to have eyes for its most unfortunate and ears for its most troubled is one that’s a mighty nation.
On February 13, 21-year-old Bangalore-based climate activist Disha Ravi, a recent Mount Carmel College-graduate and one of the founders of the ‘Fridays for Future’ campaign in India, was arrested by the Delhi police from Bengaluru in connection with what they are calling the “Greta Thunberg ‘toolkit’ case”. India Today informs that Disha Ravi has been remanded to police custody for five days.
In a tweet, Delhi Police said, “Disha Ravi, arrested by CyPAD Delhi Police, is an Editor of the Toolkit Google Doc & key conspirator in document’s formulation & dissemination. She started WhatsApp Group & collaborated to make the Toolkit doc. She worked closely with them to draft the Doc.”
About the ‘toolkit’ itself, The Wire informs, “The toolkit was shared by many including teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg to aid those who wanted to help protesting farmers from afar, by organising their own peaceful solidarity actions. ... The police have so far not explained what laws the Toolkit and its contents broke or why formulating and disseminating is not just a crime but an act of sedition.”
Disha Ravi, a young climate activist, who, as her friends say, lives in a low-lying area in a Bengaluru suburb and her house gets inundated with water every time it rains. “She has experienced the impact of the climate crisis first-hand”, her friends add. They also mention that she dreams of working with turtles and marine life and hopes to pursue a career in ecological conservation and restoration.
The Wire further tells that during the court hearing, upon being accused of being a part of a “Khalistani conspiracy”, Disha said, “I was just supporting farmers,” breaking down. “I supported farmers because they are our future and we all need to eat.” She also maintained that she hadn’t authored the toolkit, but simply made two edits to it.
The arrest of Disha Ravi has given way to instances of massive rebuttal in the Indian public sphere.
Rajya Sabha member P.Chidambaram tweeted, “A ‘took kit’ to support the farmers’ protest is more dangerous than the intrusion by Chinese troops into Indian territory! India is becoming the theatre of the absurd and it is sad that the Delhi Police has become a tool of the oppressors”
Several student activists held a protest in Bengaluru while the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India demanded her release.
Others like US lawyer Meena Harris, actor Siddharth, and other members of the INC have also raised their voice in support of Disha.
In the meanwhile, the Delhi police have also issued a non-bailable warrant against Mumbai-based lawyer-activist, Nikita Jacob and an activist named Shantanu in connection with the same case.
What remains of a democracy when the freedom of voice is bridled? Disha’s arrest is part of a larger societal pattern which will inevitably unfortunately only work towards creating more fear in the minds of citizens, especially parents who will be compelled to teach the same fear to their children.
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