The Country of I(nc)llusion

By Smrithi Amarendran

On 15 December, days after India passed the “anti-Muslim” citizenship law, now widely referred to as India’s Nuremberg laws, major protest erupted at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university campus. The protest was brutally crushed by the Delhi Police with a night-long police action, in which dozens of students were beaten with batons amid the firing of tear gas shells. Since then, there have been over 250 organic anti-NRC, CAA protests throughout the country amidst growing state-sanctioned violence. Just as these protest rage, a generation of young Indians taking to the street are also making sense of this moment in history through art, poetry and performance. What shapes can resistance take? How are these students, artist and activists responding?

At The Polis Project, we will be publishing a series of artworks emerging from the protests. First in our series is the graphic essay “Country of Inclusion” by Smrithi Amarendran, who asks: “Are we going to be a country of Inclusion or just a country of Illusion? No great nation can sustain on one ideology.” Amarendran says she had “a ton of questions and wanted answers to understand what we are going through. […] I may be wrong on some points, but this is based on what I have seen, read and understood. In trying times, it feels empowering to express views and opinions in art forms that we relate to.”

Smrithi Amarendran is a full-time visual designer running an ad agency (THE) in Chennai and a part-time writer and doodler. 

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