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A Tale of Clarity and Perfection

The following photo-essay displays the chaos, uncertainty, and the propagation of ideas during the introduction of the CAA and NRC laws. The photographs have been taken at the anti CAA/NRC protests held in Pune, Maharashtra. These long exposure shots are accidental, they are a result of my anxiousness since it was the first time that I was documenting a protest, yet the series accurately encapsulates my state of mind during that time, which was of uncertainty, but clear about the reasons for the uncertainty. They do not describe the world without, as much as they shed light on the world within. All the photographs have been taking on an analogue camera, and as a result, I did not have a real time preview of the final form of my ideological foundation. As I developed the film roll, I was surprised yet satisfied, I did not see the protests in the photographs as much as I saw my state of mind during the protests.

Students, professors, and social rights activists from across Pune were a part of the protests. Their chants would energize the streets and unite the diverse crowd. I was quite, unable to chant along, not because I did not support the movement, but because I was trying to identify what I was doing to be an agent of change. I started observing the discrepancies between my actions and my claims on what I believed in, and what I stood for. I noticed that I was only talking about the ethicality of the laws to those who would either fully, or partially agree with me. After one heated encounter with a close family member, I decided not to try to change their beliefs, for the sake of our relationship, similarly with my friends. I began to think if I was actually being an agent of change or was I only assuring myself that at least I’m not on the wrong side. There was also a feeling of insecurity, I was cautious in choosing the groups whom I would identify with, but there were instances when I realized that there were leaders and activists who were trying to hijack a chunk of the crowd, and secure those people, as those who would not ask questions. This seemed to me as if the promise of achieving “azaadi” from the state was served by entangling the people into a web of yet another agenda. I could sense the dissonance in the unity. The following series accidentally, yet graphically describes the feelings aroused as a result of the introduction of the highly controversial laws.

1) Change My Mind

2) A Peaceful Protest

3) United we stand, divided we think

4) Harmony

5) Un(t)it(l)ed

6) Give me reasons to believe

7) Aaja Aaja Sadko pe

8) Harmony (ii)

9) Bharat Mata in a Burkha

10) Version 1

11) Mera Desh Jal Raha Hai

12) Outro

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