How long are u gonna leave me on read

Artist Statement

            This Project is made up of two parts. In the first part, I address a letter to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, expressing dissent regarding the current political and religious climate in India, that has been exacerbated due to the government’s decision to pass the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The Act grants instant citizenship to any person who is Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, or Parsi who has come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Bangladesh before 31st December 2014, and currently resides in India. This makes religion a fundamental criterion in citizenship and thus goes against the very nature of India as a secular state. Furthermore, it excludes Muslims and other ethnic or religious minority groups from neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The NRC demands each person residing in this country to show proof of their citizenship, requiring documents that are obscure and difficult to attain for people who face stigmatization in society, like the trans, poor, homeless, female, etc. Thus, these policies are discriminatory in nature and across the country, students and women are reacting by leading peaceful protests and media takeovers, causing the government to crackdown on them with police violence, intimidation, internet shutdowns, and a basic abuse of power. 

            I want to be a part of this mass mobilization that is organized mainly through media, so I published my letter as a public petition on Change.org, hoping to collect multiple signatures and have a stronger opposition to the government. My petition occupies a humanitarian, emotional, critical, and historical stance. I quote Rabindranath Tagore’s (a national, historic, and important literary figure’s) poem about being Indian and pose my argument as logical and emotive. To gather public support, I shared my petition on my personal social media accounts, and also sent it to political and discursive accounts that can share the link with their huge followings like artwhoring, fuckbjp, fuck_bjp, and shaheenbaghprotests. I also commented the link on recent posts of Narendra Modi, the Indian Navy, the Indian Airforce, the Indian Army, various Bollywood celebrities, Indian cricketers and news media publications, since they normally have a massive online user flow. As part of the petition I offered a solution to make the government backdown from its pro CAA/ NRC position. I urged people to bombard and spam the Prime Minister and his party with emails, letters, fax messages, tweets, and comments, expressing disagreement with his policies. I think this could work because it weaponizes media allowing both individual and mass resistance in the relative safety of your home and allows for quick and effective mobilization. For this reason, I collected various contacts of the Prime Minister including his multiple emails, phone numbers, address, and other social media accounts, and shared it at the end of my petition. 

            This leads to the second part of my project in which I send a mass of emails to Narendra Modi. The email address I use is myheartisindian@gmail.com with the username Indian Citizen because I think that it gives me a universality that is powerful.  In all of the emails I send, I only write my text in the subject, most of which are fragments of sentences and form a cohesive argument if you read them as one body and chronologically. As of now I have sent him over Two Hundred and Eighteen emails in which I blame him for the violence in the country, the massive economic crisis, rising unemployment and poverty, the dislocation of Muslims, police brutality, lack of freedom of speech and faith, and the deep religious divide. I also send him the preamble of the Indian constitution daily to remind him that India is a democratic and secular state. My tone is predominantly conversational because I want it to be an easy and ongoing communication. 

website (petition): chttps://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-narendra-modi-reject-caa-nrc

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