Tens of thousands of people participated in one of the biggest protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Hyderabad on Saturday. The protest, dubbed ‘Million March’, took place in the heart of the city, and saw the participation of over one lakh people. Hyderabadis brought their friends and families, neighbours and colleagues – and also, their ubiquitous humour.
Sample this: One of the protesters held up a banner that said, “Pichle saal ki thand ki topi nahi mil rahi, baigan 1971 ke documents kahan se laana.” Translated to English: Can't find last year’s winter cap, where to go find 1971 documents now.
And baigan. Brinjal. Eggplant. Whatever name you call it, in Hyderabad, baigan is everywhere. It’s a word that conveys several emotions in everyday Dakhni – and baigan was served in large quantities at the protest in Hyderabad. Like this poster, that says, “Sarkaar 6 Saal Me Press Conference Nahi De Saki, Hum 40 Saal ke Documents kya Baigan Dinge.”
Meaning: This government hasn’t been able to give a press conference in six years (referring to Prime Minister Modi), how will we give 40 years of documents?
As another protester said, “Arey Hata re Bhai Baigan Ka NRC.”
Of course, the biryani wasn’t far behind. One protester helpfully said, “Kagaz nahi dikhaenge magar biryani zaroor khilaenge.” That is, we won’t show you any papers (for the proposed nationwide NRC), but we’ll definitely feed you biryani! Trust Hyderabadis to be good hosts.
Some protesters put the baigan and the biryani together – we’re not sure what #TeamVegPulao thinks of that!
Meaning: “We can’t find onions in our biryani, how do we find documents from 50 years ago.” All we can say is, well played bro, well played.
There were lots of other posters too, invoking the eggplant.
The protest, organised by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising 40 Muslim and Dalit organisations brought traffic to a halt on the main roads at Indira Park and Hussain Sagar lake. The busy Tank Bund and Lower Tank Bund, Telugu Talli Flyover, RTC X Roads and other major thoroughfares in Liberty, Himayatnagar, Basheerbagh were filled with people. The protesters converged at Dharna Chowk.
The protest was originally planned last week, but the police had denied permission. The JAC had approached the High court, which asked the police to consider fresh application by the organisers.
The Hyderabad police on Sunday booked Mushtaq Malik, the convenor of the JAC for violating the conditions laid down for the protest. The permission for Saturday’s protest was for 1,000 people, but a lakh people showed up, which led to the police even opening up the gates of NTR stadium to accommodate protesters.