16 Reclaiming Citizenship: Geographies of Resistance of Muslim Women in Aligarh, India
There is a global trend and rise in the politics of dehumanization, fear and division. When Donald Trump imposed the travel ban, it was an unrelenting attack on Muslims. The rhetoric of the ban is manifesting against Muslims in India in the form of rising communal riots, mob lynchings, detention centers and finally structured erosion of the formal concept of citizenship through the passing of Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019. Hindu nationalism is a majoritarian political ideology that evokes a Hindu identity, in opposition to the threatening Muslim, and believes that India belongs to Hindus. On the verge of statelessness, protest sit-ins led by Muslim women in Shaheen Bagh (Delhi) led to a wave of country-wide protests, especially sit-ins led by Muslim women across the country in December 2019. In this context, this study intends to examine everyday strategies that Muslim women employ to resist violent geographies and reclaim citizenship by accessing Aligarh city in India as the intersection of Hindu nationalism, Muslim Identity formations and communal structuring of the city. Aligarh is famously known as ‘mini-Pakistan’ with Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) seen by Hindu nationalists as a center for both national infidelity and Muslim nationalism. Aligarh is also one of the cities highly prone to communal violence in India. Despite these trends’ strong correlation, Muslim women’s spatial experiences in Aligarh remain under researched.