Main Bhi Muslim’s last episode of the year is with the spirited and incredible human being, Sabika Abbas, aka @boltiaurat on Instagram.
Sabika is a poet, organiser, SEL educator and story-teller. Her work revolves around issues of gender, minority rights and justice. She performs in public spaces, edits anthologies, translates and is constantly working on at least five dreamy or nonsensical side projects. If not for her work, she would be a full time stand-up comic or leading a cult of ‘doing nothing’. After working with change.org and Fearless Collective, Sabika, is currently the Organising and Campaigns Lead at Noor.*
In this episode, Sabika takes us down her memory lane growing up in a mosque complex in Lucknow, how her Muslim upbringing has shaped her view of life and helped in using her voice against injustice and oppression. We discuss her journey being a poet performing on the streets and how her poems belong to the people and streets she shares them with. Sabika also talks about the current realities for Indian Muslims and the constant reconciliations one does when the country one is born in and belongs to, denies it acceptance and protection. Finally, we talk about love of all kinds, how kindred friendships keep our hearts and souls warm, and ending with a beautiful poem by Sabika talking about what being a lover means to her in current times.
This episode is recorded to commemorate and celebrate the anniversary** of the 2019 Shaheen Bagh protests led by Indian Muslim women. Do give this episode a listen, share it within your circles and recognise your part in standing up for justice and liberation for all.
*Bio republished with permission by the guest.
**The episode host mistakenly says third anniversary of the Shaheen Bagh protests in the conversation. This year marks the fourth anniversary. The error is regretted.
How Pro-BJP WhatsApp, Facebook Groups Are Using the Israel-Hamas War to Stoke Islamophobia (Kunal Purohit, The Wire, October, 2023)
India terror law haunts Muslims jailed since 2020 for Delhi riots (Hanan Zaffar and Danish Pandit, Al Jazeera, February, 2023)
US Commission on International Religious Freedom (names of political prisoners mentioned in the episode)
Siddique Kappan: India journalist walks out of jail after 2 years (Al Jazeera, February, 2023)
Why Shaheen Bagh protests are an important moment in India’s history (Elizabeth Puranam, Al Jazeera, February, 2020)
Building allyship & solidarity through shared tiffins - a childhood memory, present-day friendships and action-filled hope to tide over hate and othering (Mariyam Haider, Substack, August, 2023)
Sabika Abbas Naqvi: Reclaiming public spaces through poetry (INKtalks, February, 2020)
‘Bulli Bai’, 'Sulli Deals': On Being Put Up for ‘Auction’ as an Indian Muslim Woman (Mariya Salim, The Wire, January, 2022)
‘Auction’ of India’s Muslim women shows tech weaponised for abuse (Al Jazeera, January, 2022)