In an exclusive conversation with The Quint, Article 15 actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub has opened up about his thoughts on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019. On 12 December, President Ramnath Kovind gave the bill his assent, making it an official law.
“Actually I don’t know what to say exactly. That's why I took my time. I also tweeted saying that I do not understand,” said Ayyub.
Talking about how it threatens the foundation of the Indian Constitution he says, “CAB definitely has many problems. The biggest problem I’d say is that one needs to see if it’s a Citizenship Amendment Bill or Constitution Amendment Bill. Because the ‘We the people’ opening of the constitution itself, you have changed, and the fabric of that itself. The idea of secularism mentioned in our constitution has been hit directly. CAB also directly states that people of a particular religion will be treated differently.”
"“Now, we can talk about what is going to happen now or what is going to happen later as much as we want, but we have to remember that NRC also exists. Now, look at what they are doing in Assam by using their power. I mean where have they taken the country... the country is burning. It is a very detailed and a big thing. It is basically identifying people on the basis of religion and forcing people to identify themselves by religion. That you will have to strongly identify yourself by your religion.”" - Zeeshan Ayyub, Actor
According to Ayyub, “CAB has put that idea of one's identity in people’s minds and that is very dangerous.” Calling the situation extremely “disheartening”, he says, “To be honest, I’d again say the same thing. I just don’t have anything to react, it’s really disheartening. But that’s okay. It’s a fight and we’ll fight it. The first day was disheartening. As Faiz sahab has said, “Dil naummeed to nahin, nakaam hi to hai, lambi hai gham ki shaam, magar shaam hi toh hai.””
Ayyub further spoke about what he thinks makes a country successful. He said that to challenge the Constitution is no way to move forward, especially not when it’s done in the name of religion.
"“But my main point is that to force people to identify on the grounds of religion, to cause polarisation in the society, and to alter the basic fabric of our constitution, of our country, is wrong. I can’t think of any nation that has moved forward in the name of religion and has found success and progress, and benefited the people of its country. Every country (that tried to do this) has only suffered.”" - Zeeshan Ayyub, Actor
However, Ayyub has not lost hope. He urges that despite the problems, it’s important to remember that the situation needs to be fought together.
"One of the main reasons why we were always considered to be ahead of other nations, especially in the subcontinent, that achieved freedom at the same time as us, was that we were secular, liberal, progressive, humanitarian, we cared about people. We have seen how it has worked out for other nations who’ve focused so much on religion" - Zeeshan Ayyub, Actor
“So I don’t understand why we are taking inspiration from failed states and making India also a failed state. The people who are celebrating this decision are even more problematic. But we’ll fight it together,” Ayyub signs off.
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