Think of Refugee Mariam & Her Revolutionary Son Today!

Think of Mariam today. At this moment, she is a young woman who has travelled for many days and nights to Bethlehem (her husband’s native town), so that the birth can be registered in a Census ordered by Caesar Augustus. There is no room in the inn for a pregnant woman, so she brings her baby into the world alone in a manger. As she holds this infant in her arms, she whispers to him the insensitivity of a state that does not recognise birth to be the ultimate testament of inclusion, of how terrifying and vulnerable it is to be undocumented, to be denied a home…

Think of Mariam again later, when one day, her son disappears on a visit to Jerusalem. Think of her relief, when he is found at last, sitting in a temple and questioning and answering his teachers. As she hugs him in relief, she scolds him for vanishing without an explanation, but then forgives him too, because he was after all, questioning those who have knowledge, answering those who want to pursue it.

Think of Mariam again, even later, as she stands with others, watching the crucifixion of her son for the revolutions against injustice and authoritarianism he led. Think of Mariam, thinking back to the day he was born, think of her cradling her son’s dead body in her arms.

Think of the mothers in Kashmir running after the armymen dragging their child away in the dead of the night. Think of the women of UP and Kashmir and Mangalore and in every BJP-ruled state in this country, as they cradle their dead sons in their arms. Think of the students in the streets shouting Fuck you Modi and Amit Shah and getting beaten in Jamia, Aligarh, JNU, BHU.

Think of Azadi and enjoy this Christmas Day because of it.


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Ayesha Kidwai Written by:

Ayesha Kidwai teaches linguistics at JNU.

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