History was made last December when Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) after debate and discussions and today, the whole country is talking about it – the controversial CAA-NRC bill. Now, whether this important chapter of our country’s history will be remembered as a good one or bad, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, I’m sure that the intent, ethos and transparency of our politicians will be tested by the citizens of our country.

If you were to ask me about my opinions regarding this act, I’d say, “Yes, it’s required.” Now, before I explain myself completely, allow me to share an incident that I experienced recently.

I’m a member of a reputed social club in Bangalore, and on this year’s Makar Sankranti, they organised a traditional luncheon for all members. It’s worth mentioning that only 65 seats were available for the luncheon and members had to reserve their seats in advance. However, by the time the lunch started, around 250 members unexpectedly showed up. By rule, the club cannot deny service to any guest, so even though they never made any reservation, the club had an obligation to host them. Now, the club never anticipated these many people to show up, which resulted in makeshift seating arrangements, shortage of food and lots of unhappy guests. Now I won’t blame the management here, but I’m sure they could have planned and executed this event better.

If you haven’t realised it already, this is what CAA-NRC is all about. It’s just an accounting of people living in this country so that we, the citizens, don’t end up getting served a lesser quantity of resources and benefits from the government. This act should ideally help the government plan the five-year plans properly, allocate more funds for projects and address the economy. All in all, this is a much-needed exercise. That said, the way it’s executed, implemented and accepted by the people of this country will decide whether this act will be beneficial for the country in the long run or not.

Now, it’d be hard to talk about CAA-NRC by ignoring the voices being raised against it across various parts of our country. One major criticism against this whole exercise is that it’s not fair to the people of all communities and religion. I wholeheartedly welcome our government’s efforts to give refuge to persecuted minorities in our neighbouring countries. That’s the most Indian thing we could ever do. I also welcome the initiatives piloted to take the headcount of people residing in India while weeding out illegal immigrants. But, I’m completely against throwing religion into this whole mix and targeting a particular religious community. Whenever I travel to different countries, I have always taken immense pride in saying that I hail from the most tolerant, culturally diverse and peace-loving country in the world. But today, I’m not sure I can say that anymore. Our country’s image has taken a serious dent on the global stage, which is going to affect us politically and economically.

You must be knowing that I am a Hindu by birth, who’s happily married to a Christian. I have three Muslim sisters whom I love and respect immensely. And when I set out to help the underprivileged in my society, I don’t care to check their religion or caste. My faith in humanity supersedes all that. In turbulent times like these, it’s extremely important to remind ourselves that we are the biggest democracy in the world and people of almost every religion have lived in this country amicably for millennia – something no other country in the world can claim.

You must be thinking that I’m taking a diplomatic route here; and honestly, I’m not. I want CAA-NRC to be implemented and at the same time, I want it to be fair to all people of all backgrounds without disturbing the peace, harmony and brotherhood of our country. Remember that we humans came first, and we were the ones to create religions, not Gods. Which is why we should not let ourselves be torn apart by something we created in the first place. 

CAA-NRC is definitely the way to go. I hope that they are implemented without adding religion to it. I also hope that our politicians and bureaucrats have our best interests at heart while implementing this controversial Act and I hope they do it without diluting the character, spirit and essence of our beautiful country.