Keeping them engaged: Children at Shaheen Bagh protest
Many children, who accompany their parents at Shaheen Bagh protest, are also learning various skills at an open library at the site.
Sitting on a green-coloured carpet laid in front of a stage where a teenage girl was passionately giving a political speech at Shaheen Bagh in Jamia, Razia alters her attention between the speech and a five-month-old baby on her lap.
The child, in a red sweater, has a tri-colour band with words “I love India” tied around his head.
It’s Razia’s 30th day at the protest. Everyday, she is flanked by other female members of her family. And the baby has been a daily attender too.
“I am here to support the women of our neighbourhood. There are mothers who have brought their babies who are less than 5 months old,” she says.
Razia (who did not reveal her second name) is not alone. Hundreds of parents turn up at Shaheen Bagh, where women from the Muslim community are leading the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, which they call discriminatory and against the Constitution.
“I bring my children to the protest because I want them to know about what is happening in the country,” says Asif, wearing a white skull cap and holding the hands of his two girls.
“I want them to know the history of India. I want them to understand why people are protesting,” he says.”
Keeping the children engaged: The protest creche
In the protest site, several volunteers have started an open library for children -- called the Revolution Library. Parents can leave their children here before they join the protest. They can pick their children when they return.
The volunteers have roped in poets, authors, theatre artists, singers, dancers and sketch artists to engage the kids. The artists teach their skills to the children at the open library..
In the open library, the kids learn drawing, among other skills. For example, they are asked to mirror an image from a history book, using their own interpretation. According to the volunteers, they impart theme-based learning, with which the children not only learn the art but also history.
Here’s a glimpse of what happens to the children who accompany their parents at the Shaheen Bagh protest: