Why #NotInMyName Campaign is Problematic?

A Facebook post by filmmaker Saba Dewen against the lynching of a Muslim teenager on the Delhi-Mathura train has spawned an online campaign called #NotInMyName, leading to protests organised across the country. The protests were conducted in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru simultaneously on June 28.

Why #NotInMyName camapign is problematic ? A compilation of facebook posts ;

‘ The point is, only you can say ‘not in my name’ or whatever.. the thousands of unrepresented occupational and other jatis don’t have the luxury of saying so. i hope people take note of this, this is fundamental to the problem of india.’
– Kuffir Nalgundwar

‘If you really want to show that you care, you should go to the Muslim ghettoes with your crowd. Yes to an actual ghetto, in a slum, where you will become acutely and uncomfortably conscious of your privileges. That is where you should go and meet the Muslims. See how they live. See what they have. Hold their weathered hands. Hug their frail bodies. Enter their one room abodes. There is nothing exotic there. Only debilitating ghareebi. They will go out of their way to make you comfortable, and the juxtaposition of your own xenophobic homes and families with this heartfelt hospitality will make you feel small. Sit on the floor and share their frugal meals which they will offer you out of the little they have. Eat it. It won’t be your favourite beef dish. But you eat it.

Then tell them you came because you care. Ask for forgiveness. Weep, if you must. Tell them it was in your name. Tell them that you have failed them. Tell them you are sorry. That you mean it. Leave your phone numbers and addresses where they can reach you. Tell them you will be there for them if they should ever need you. They have too much ghayrat to ask for madad. But offer madad anyway. They will always remember this gesture, and show you love that will overwhelm you. Then and only then, we will believe you are not what we think you are.’
– Afreen Firdaus Idrees

”Very heart warming to know that many want to save Hinduism from hindutva by claiming that Hinduism stood for tolerance etc.

Unfortunately ‘tolerant’ Hinduism was itself a myth created in 19th century to vilify Islam . Hinduism was said to be ‘tolerant’ but in comparison with whom? It was in comparison with ‘ intolerant’ and ‘aggressive’ Islam.

The myth in which both Western orientalist scholars and upper caste nationalists invested heavily. The myth which is largely responsible for ‘Hindu fundamentalism’.

The myth which actually is the beginning point of any RSS propaganda. Read their texts, listen to their speeches, go to their shakhas, this is what they start with.

Good luck fighting hindutva and saving hinduism !”
– Anoop Kumar

‘ Hashtag of those who got murdered by…. #killedbecauseofmyname# ‘
– Ajith Kumar AS

‘Not in my name?’
How about ‘Not in my Surname?’
– Amit Kumar

‘If you are honest, at least a little bit, the #NotInMyName would have been changed into #ItWasInMyName. the actually existing hash tag is the cunningness to replace the shame with a collective pride.’
– Afthab Ellath

‘The #NotInMyName hashtag emerged out of Muslim articulations in the west to speak out against the crimes of ISIS. It is a plea by a minority community not to be vilified by the majority community, on the basis of claims being made by an extremist group claiming to be one of them. It is a cry against Islamophobia, and regardless of my opinions on its politics, it is led honestly by Muslims making themselves heard.

Now how does a claim made by a minority group get appropriated by a majority group against its own community? Yes, these are our OWN people, because unlike ISIS, there is no distant geopolitical terrorist group emerging from a warzone for these murders in India today. There is a historically well-organized, well-oiled Brahminical ideology that rules a democracy, that all of us upper-castes are born into, that is the foundation of all our homes, social structures and institutions, and that then systematically indoctrinates people into violence.

So again I ask, how did a hashtag by minority Muslim groups get appropriated by upper-caste Hindus? Who is your audience? I mean tere naam ko kiski padi hai?’
– Pallavi Rao

“The response from Vij is sickeningly unethical and morally inappropriate. the problem isn’t “too much or too romantic” an idealism from the left-liberals; the problem is too little, too late, and still beating-around-the-bush an activist & intellectual response from the Indian left-liberals, steeped as they themselves are mostly in implicit Islamophobia and colonialism, though possibly not of the direct lynching variety. i.e. #NotInMyName completely skirts the issue, which remains their uncritical support to the deeply Brahmanical & colonial project that is the formation and the continuance of the nation and the state of India.

These prominent folks should’ve taken Modi to ICC ages ago. these well-connected & powerful left-liberals should’ve done their best to dismantle the fascism brewing inside their beloved mother India, a dismantling that necessitates exposing the brahminism and colonialism which are foundational to India. these left-liberals should’ve taken Indira Gandhi and Jagmohan Singh to ICC for crimes against humanity. these people should’ve taken the Rashtriya Rifles to ICC for Kunanposhpora, if they were actually honest about “not in their names” business.

cuz, truth be told, this has always been in their names. they are ALL implicated in the various genocides conducted by their beloved bharat mata, from the one in Kashmir to the one in Nagaland to the one of Dalits to the one of Indian Muslims.”
– Huma Dar

“#NotInMyName campaign takes the focus away from Brahmanism, which is at the core of the Hindu religion, and its scriptures that sanction social inequality and allow for violence to preserve its unequal structure. But the campaign makes great effort to tell us how upper caste liberals are nice, progressive people who have nothing to do with the violence.”
– Rajesh Rajamani

‘ From the time this campaign Notinmyname started I have been grappling with few questions and now I am very clear about it .
Firstly ,When you say not in my name, it already presupposes the fact that something was done in your name of which you are trying to absolve yourself.
Something that was in common with you and them and what is that ??
Secondly, where are the identity markers of these people who Mob lynched ,Are they Hindus if so which caste ??
Thirdly when you use the concept ” Name ” it obscures the fact that the structural position and privilege your name holds is different than mine.
Fourthly why so much of fear in using the word Brahmanism which is the root that perpetuates stigma and stereotypes on Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis and various Opressed identities through distorted Historical writings, Media,Cinemas , House hold conversations ,Text books etc.This later breeds into Hatred ,Violence and lynchings .
Fifthly ,Who in this country own these Sociocultural Institutions be it from Left or right ??
What is the Caste composition of these spaces ??

About poetry sessions ,Music sessions in these protests if incase it happens we know very well who are these ” Names “and which Caste groups will hog the limelight there .
These acts are insignificant when we don’t call out the root cause.
Remember even in your case your structural position in Brahmanism gives you these platforms and connections where we are invisibilized.
Just wait and watch :
Usually in this kind of protests the whole focus and narrative will be shifted to the ones protesting ,their scuffles,the success of the March ,their so called “acts of rebellion ” while the root question of what leads to Lynching ,Stripping naked and beating Muslims and Dalits will still not be addressed.’
– Sumeet Samos

‘The Bangalore ‘not my name’ thing was full of savarnas with Indian flags singing ‘hum honge kamyab’. It was ridiculous. There wasnt a single poster against rss or brahminism. And the slogans… They stopped short of saying bharat mata ki Jai. Also, ramchandra guha showed up and started waving to the protestors.

I owe a apology for my previous post. It was an impulsive thing.’
– Nikhil Cariappa

#NotInMyName aims to flatten people into Hindus/Indians. Its the same old trick that Gandhi played with Ambedkar. I am a Bengali.
– Garga Chatterjee

At this juncture when we must stand in solidarity with our Muslim Sisters and Brothers a protest response: #Notinmyname cannot be adequate. It’s high time that the elite movements, mainstream feminist groups came out of their bubble and see the brutalities faced by the minorities in India for what they are. #Notinmyname sounds like, whatever violence and brutalities that are happening to the vulnerable groups, the stigmatized population, may go on happening, just not in ‘my’ name! For once stop thinking about yourself! Now more than ever one has to understand Orwell’s Politics of Language. Not in my name gets you scot-free of the responsibility to do more to stop the violence. We cannot let the violence be hyper-normalized. We must take up collective responsibility for actions of other fellow citizens against the minorities. Writing on online platforms, creating a dialogue on social media is important but more important is showing a strong solidarity. The more apt stand would be to protest collectively for a regime change. A party that disguises as ‘Indian People’s Party’ is doing nothing for the people; it is not even doing any good for the ‘people’ it is radicalizing. We must call out against the Beef ban policies. More tangibly, I want to request, Muslim, Dalit, Women and other Muslim and minority sympathizes, organizations and grassroots movements to hold to protest in upcoming two weeks. Take to the street peacefully to condemn the violence against Muslim brothers and sisters, to repeal the beef ban policy and to establish a minority sensitive government.
– Swati Kamble

Image credit: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP

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