File photo | Natasha Narwal with her father Mahavir Narwal | By special arrangement
File photo | Natasha Narwal with her father Mahavir Narwal | By special arrangement
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As stories of the Delhi riots and the CAA-NRC protests from earlier this year resurface, the tales of fathers of two daughters stand out. One disowned his daughter and the other stood by his.

In February, student activist Amulya Leona Noronha went on the stage where Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi was speaking minutes earlier, and said, “Hindustan Zindabad, Pakistan Zindabad…” Amulya was cut off by Owaisi and other people on the stage, booked for sedition almost immediately — and India found a new ‘enemy’ in a 19-year-old woman.

In May, Pinjra Tod activist Natasha Narwal was arrested by the Delhi Police under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, for her alleged role in the ‘communal violence’ in the national capital earlier in the year. She has been lodged in Tihar Jail ever since.

Also read: Before going to anti-CAA agitation, a protest begins at home — against parents

‘Radical not anti-national’

Amulya’s disappointed father Oswald Noronha said that she should rot in jail because she hurt the feelings of Indians. He disowned her publicly and said the police should “break her legs”.

During a phone conversation, he said his house was under attack and that’s why he gave those statements. He now blames the media for this. “Arnab Goswami (the anchor on Republic TV) can say anything and get away with it but my daughter cannot. She should have thought about it,” Oswald said.

A large number of Indians are racist, casteist, anti-women and hate minorities. No wonder, it seeps into fathers who place borders before daughters. Standing up for a shared humanity, which you would have known had Leona been allowed to finish her speech, is not an ‘anti-national’ act.

As Natasha’s 70-year-old retired scientist father Mahavir Narwal puts it, during a conversation over the phone, “If Amulya’s views are humanist and don’t come from hatred for anyone, then her family should support her. It is not right to dismiss every woman’s independent views as radical. Most importantly, radical is not anti-national.”

Even former India cricketer and current BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly doesn’t know the difference. Remember when he censored his adult daughter Sana’s anti-CAA post on Instagram and said, “She is too young… to know about anything in politics”?

Quite like Oswald, who says he has asked Amulya not to address Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah by their names because she is “too young” to do so.

In a patriarchal society, women are always “too young”, “too old” or “too naive” to think about any issue. As Mahavir says, “You can agree or disagree with your daughter. Natasha and I disagree on one issue. I believe that change should be bigger and whole. She thinks that change should come from small steps.”

He jokingly adds, “She, in fact, takes my class on certain issues.”

Mahavir is the head of Haryana Vigyan Manch, which promotes science and scientific temper. The father humbly accepts that he learns from his daughter and that there can’t possibly be any shame in learning from women around you. He is standing by his jailed daughter, not admonishing her.

Oswald, a member of the BJP until 2014 when he parted ways after “some BJP goons attacked a church” in his locality, says that Amulya, his only daughter, is a bright student. When she was protesting against the CAA-NRC, he had asked her not to indulge in this. “But she said that she will do whatever she want,” Oswald said.

Also read: Student who shouted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ on Owaisi stage had praised Modi hours before

Not into Uncle Communalism

Unlike his other Indian counterparts, Mahavir Narwal doesn’t think he knows everything or that he needs to ‘correct’ his children. Especially his daughter. We often find middle-aged Indian ‘uncles’ instigating the young to be hateful towards minorities and women. I call these men ‘Uncle Communalism’ — the lot who think making jokes about their wives is okay, and so is casual Islamophobia. They think letting their daughters go to college and wear jeans is ‘liberal’ enough, but why have opinions?

Oswald Noronha would rather disown Amulya for what he would call ‘anti-national’ stance than talk to her. Such is the mentality towards daughters that even in a situation like hers, Leona’s agency was taken away. Oswald had said, “She was joined by some Muslims and wasn’t listening to me.” 

When asked if he was ever going to stand by her publicly, Oswald said, “I can’t.”

Contrary to this, Mahavir Narwal derives his strength from his daughter. He has met Natasha a few times in jail and discovered a different side of her. She now teaches yoga to the other inmates. Police personnel are impressed too. One of them told him, “She doesn’t get intimidated easily.”

Also read: Indian citizens and media have been terrorised enough with sedition. SC must end it now

Let our daughters evolve

In recent years, we have seen a different kind of hatred towards feminism, scientific temper and progressiveness in India. Mahavir Narwal says that the arrest of activists by the Delhi Police are out of fear. They never liked Pinjra Tod.

To him, Pinjra Tod is an expression. It is a volunteer group of women. It is evolving. It doesn’t have a written ideology. Mahavir says, “Our daughters will evolve too. When we were protesting against the Emergency, people viewed us as radical too. But how is that section of our history written now? Those who went to jails at that time are not seen as radicals today. I went to jail during aapatkal and my daughter went to jail during another aapatkal.”

The world is horrified by the idea of independent women. Mahavir Narwal says that he can’t wait for Natasha to get bail and talk to her about the experience of spending time in jail.

Views are personal.

This article has been updated.

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  1. Ah! Jyoti has done it again!

    She has written yet another article that is primarily about Islamophobia. Quitely slipped that in but no one noticed.

    Dear Jyoti, the very term is an oxymoron.

    What exactly is this Islamophobia? If someone, anyone, dislikes what is being done by Islamic people, then they are bad just because they protest the harm that is being done to them?

    Ah! Don’t blame the whole for the actions of the parts? Yes. True. But only when the parts are very small, and the whole actually does something about 5gese small troublesome parts that go around killing Hindus. Let them turn around and condemn islamic terrorism first. All of them. Then, and only then, can there be any reason for saying “Islamophobia”.

    I am the father of a 21 year old daughter who is the apple of my eye. Does she know everything? No. Do I? No. We learn from each other. And it is because we respect each other that we can learn from each other.

  2. This is not reporting.this is tutoring others what is right.didnt this particular jyoti Yadav go to a proper journalism school?

  3. All those who are saying the father who thinks his daughter is anti-national and the police should break her leg, has the right to have an opinion, should immediately leave my country and go to Afghanistan and join Taliban.

  4. This is a terrible article in terrible taste. I don’t think that such comparisons are warranted. You have no idea what pressures operate in these times. These are family members who have children in jail. There must be a great deal of caution and compassion exercised while writing. Neither of which this opinion piece has.

  5. Okay, let me list out my points to the author as follows:-
    1. I do not know whether the author is a journalist, but your article has clearly asked for one father’s opinions but not the other and then, imposed this father’s opinion on that of the other. Shows clear bias on the author’s part.
    2. Since you have not interviewed Leona’s father, your information is based on heresay. Has it occurred to you ask the relevant questions to the father in order to understand what he is objecting to? Are you sure his objection is to his daughter raising such slogans or to the fact that she did so sharing a stage with a known anti-national, Islamic fundamentalist & human traffickers such as Owaisi?
    3. I do not agree to filing sedition cases just for the heck of it. I do not think CAA is a practical plan. But, what I see is that those who oppose it have clearly taken it too far and considering that COVID 19 began, they continued to seed the disease in Delhi. I am a physician myself and have experience in these matters. Just consider the Amaravati protest in AP & the anti-CAA protests in Delhi. None in Amaravati have used Children as shields, nor made seditious slogans nor made defamatory false comments against national leaders nor have inconvenienced the general public or stopped others from doing their work. Which of these was followed by anti-CAA protesters
    4. Many of you pseudo-liberals compare these ANTI -CAA protests with reservation protests. As far as general public like me know, no caste reservation protests in free India went on for 4 months, did not use children & women as shields, did not make seditious comments, did not make false defamatory comments on elected leaders, & finally were met with full force of the police after a few days. Most important of all, none of the protests actually propagated a pandemic like COVID19.
    My final point to the author is this – calling others racist & biased is hypocritical when you yourself are racist & biased. Look into yourself and since your education in objectivity has been dismal, you need to re educate yourself.
    Sekhar Guptaji, I respect your intelligence, experience & objectivity. You have been asking for people to donate or subscribe in the name of a young talented team. I was about to get a subscription but I see a young team but without any experience or objectivity. Please make a public announcement on how much you are paying them, what their qualifications are, where they studied and why you bring in NRIs so much when they do not live and experience what happens in India. I have finally decided to wait and watch whether you actually become better as an independent journalistic endeavour. Independent also means objectivity.

  6. The author has done exactly what she should be doing – showing a mirror to society. Certainly most Indian fathers – including educated fathers (and mothers may I add) do not let their adult children develop or respect contrarian opinions regarding life choices, marriage partners, careers, political views. Some of it is due to fear, some due to their own innate inferiority complexes and inability to stand up to authority and some due to age old biases – religious, caste, class etc. The author has just tried to bring out the contrast between a father who does not agree but is supportive and empathetic nonetheless and another who has consigned his own daughter to the wolves. Well done to the author.

    The article also has another lesson – yesterday’s authoritarian govt has become today’s maligned opposition facing the same treatment that they subjected others to. Today’s govt ironically is unable to recognize that it has become the same monster it once looked to fight. Today’s authoritarians will face the same treatment from another set of unsympathetic characters in the future.

  7. Avatar Dr. Urvashi Sahni ( Educationist, Social Entrepreneur, Womens Rights Activist - Asoka Fellow) Lucknow, India

    I’m shocked at the comments above!!

    I like your article Jyoti! Keep going! We want more women asserting their autonomy, which is our birthright – “Swaraj mera janma siddh adhikar hai aur mein le kar rahoongi” And yes – fathers should hear their daughters out and respect their right to their opinions. Frankly I am bewildered – what was so wrong about what she Amulya said? Shouldn’t we want all countries to thrive, just as we want others to wish us well? Duniya Zindabad! Insaaniyat Zindabad! She was advocating universal, human flourishing. India’s best hope lies in the flourishing of all our neighbours. We need peace in order to focus on our own development and we will never have that, if our neighbours, including Pakistan don’t flourish. So we should pray for their flourishing just out of pure self-interest! And she never said that minorities are not racist, casteist or sexist btw! So cheers to you Jyoti!

    • How are we so sure that Ms. Amulya stood for a shared humanity? Ms. Jyoti Yadav has brazenly resorted to lies to further her case/agenda. One can check the clip over and over again. Ms. Leona had only shouted “Pakistan Zindabad” – twice. Not even once did she utter “Hindustan Zindabad”. Ms. Yadav conjured this up out of thin air. She is a rising star and is learning the “tricks” of the trade really fast from her liberal/secular gurus.
      I personally have no problem with anyone shouting Pakistan Zindabad. And I refuse to believe that Ms. Leona dis any crime by doing so.
      However, to spin the story in this manner by incorporating blatant is a shame indeed.
      Also, the part regarding Ms. Leona’s father wanting to “break her legs” is without any corroboration. Could not find any other news outlet claiming so.

      • Yes, she had said hindustan zindabad also.
        You need to really come out of this parochial mindset.
        The point is not whether the girld is right or wrong. It is about how society decides that a woman is always too young, old, or naive to have any opinion.

      • Amulya has not understood this nation. She must be having some grudge and overacted and played with the emotion of Indians. She might get a light punish ment it a court warning. But Natasha, instigating violence, if true, she will be in prison for long time and she desrve ut

  8. Amulya’s parents were threatened by right wing suffron fringe elements. They were let off only on the promise of disowning their daughter. What would the poor farmer in the village do other than obeying the – law unto themselves suffron gang who are let loose in Karnataka. The police have either no power or hand in glove with the elements.

  9. Any Indian who does not agree with Ms. Jyoti Yadav’s views, opinions and thoughts is “racist, casteist, anti-women and hates minorities”. For example, Mr. Vojald Leona – the father of Amulya Leona.
    Ms. Leona was not allowed to finish her “speech”, and quite rightfully so. However, Ms. Yadav knows the entire length of the speech and its contents and is absolutely sure of the “fact” that Ms. Leona stood for a shared humanism rising above manmade borders.
    Distinguished cricketer Mr. Sourav Ganguly does not understand the “difference” but our very own Ms. Yadav does.
    And lastly, Mr. Mahavir Narwal is the gold standard for Indian fathers and men. Why so? Because his beliefs, views and opinions are shared by Ms. Yadav.

  10. So hindu parent is liberal , tolerant but look at muslim parents who were instigating, brainwashing their children against modi,amit shah, literally abusing and scolding.
    This is difference between islam and sanatan.

  11. These secularism following Indian commu-neech, minority appeazer AUTHORS & COLUMN WRITERS forget one KEY issue, which is full of rumor mongering and lie-propaganda driven anti-CAA agitation, organised by COMMUNAL commu-neeches, COMMUNAL izlamists and supported by appeaser COMMUNAL Congress, basically denies and refuses humanitarian nature of CAA of providing quick relief-shelter to non-muzlim religious persecution victims (mostly Hindu’s) in papistan, b’desh in the hands of Wahabi-Salafic-Talibani izlamic hardliners, and that is the reason, which makes these inhuman appeazer commu-neeches partisan opinion unacceptable.

  12. Read the article that tried explain position of two fathers in two different situations.
    What I find situations weren’t different. Ms. Natasha n Amulya Leona represent the new generation educated women. Their acts were nothing against the the society but surely against some wrong acts of the Govt itself. All most 90% indigenous people of Assam n NE participated in anti CAA movements including myself. If Natasha, Devangana , Akhil Gogoi n few others could be pushed behind the bars why not rest of us ? Govt is very selective n cunning.
    Ms. Amulya’s case is also same. What did she do ? If Hindustan can be Zindabad, Pakistan too can be Zindabad. Why do the Govt wants Pakistan to be Murdabad ? Both the countries have the right to live long n prosper.
    Hence arresting n putting them behind bars are illegal. The other father should display enough courage to support his daughter for having that much of courage against the ills of the Govt.
    It’s nothing but vendetta politics to oppress n suppress the opposition voices. But the Govt can’t continue these for long, a term of 5 year aren’t very long to last. For their every wrong acts will be questioned by voters once the definite period of 5 years end.

    • Pakistan means a Islamic state killing its minority on regular basis. Pakistan has also hand in creating terrorists who frequently attack India. Why should Pakistan be zindabad?
      Author is trying to make it issue of woman vs man which it isn’t. recently Vikas Dubey’s mother said that police should kill her son. Now you can find some women who want to support their sons despite criminal record. doesn’t prove anything.

  13. Its in our culture. Remember that the wise and great king Janaka did not come to his daughter’s defense when she was asked to do agnipariksha or sent to the jungles in the last days of pregnancy. Its our culture.

  14. Author is confused and tying herself in knots. Very poor article and pathetic journalism

  15. Are you deaf ? She did not say Hindustan Jindabad at all….just said Pakistan Jindabad…what nonsense. Manipulative newsitem…

    • Absolutely. Its just a propaganda piece.
      Ms. Leona only uttered “Pakistan Zindabad” – that too twice. Anyone who has seen the clip on various news channels knows it. Seems only Ms. Jyoti Yadav has heard the “Hindustan Zindabad” part. Its a clear indication of how flagrantly data and facts are invented and manipulated to suit a particular narrative.
      Besides, Mr. Oswald Noronha is the father of Ms. Amulya Leina Noronha. Don’t really know who Mr. Vojald is.

    • Can the comment section just get over their parochial view of politics. Regardless of who is ‘right’, the point is that society continues to lecture women on what views they are allowed to have. A man from Haryana, a state infamous for its stance in women, supports his daughter. He is learning from her.
      That is the point.
      Next time a women speaks, listen. Do not preach. Don’t make this about yourself.

  16. This uncle ideology is not limited to minorities and women… It’s much bigger. This uncle idealogy also affects the bachelors living in societies (like bachelors have to follow unconstitutional rules) , it also affects transgenders or dare I should say… This uncle ideology affects our society in large.

  17. Apni bacho ko desi droh dikhaya hai aur wahi promote kar rahe hai woh… Pakistan mai Hindustan zindabad bolega to wahan maut milegi … desi drohi … they did be put behind bars till the time they are alive
    .. they never protestedwhen thousands of kashmiri pandits were massacred in Kashmir.. haramkhor aurat kr naam pe kalank

  18. This article is in very bad taste. The author is taking two fathers who have been traumatized by their daughters’ jail terms and judging their reaction. And then she talks about feminism and other big stuff. This comes across as indifferent and rude and unethical as it clearly shows how she is ready to manipulate the feelings of those poor fathers to propel her biases.

  19. Is this the kind of “Quality” and “Real” journalism that Mr Shekhar Gupta requests us to support- i see a lot of quality unbiased content but then this type of articles which try to form a “Leftist” narrative is what stops me from supporting The Print….
    While i do see a lot of Leftist views and articles- i am unable to see any right wing views. If you really want to be unbiased- let it be a debate rather than an opinion forming article… And if you cant find a good right wing author- i can help you out by writing against such moronic articles…..

    Ps- I support and appreciate good unbiased reporting in this polarised times but i also have a strong opposition against one sided left wing articles by self proclaimed experts…

    • Mr Malhar Shah: If the left-wing views of The Print disgust you, you are free to find right-wing platforms and paid media channels that are a dime a dozen in Modistan these days. You could start by inhaling the hot air that emanates from Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, a BJP funded channel. Or you could go to OpIndia, another right-wing channel that spews hate by the reams. OpIndia’s hate speech has resulted in it being shunned by many advertisers though. Then you have another rag, Swarajyamag which dishes out BJP friendly right-wing rubbish.

      If Marathi is your language of choice, then you can hear plenty of Shiv Sena wisdom in Saamana. And then you have the RSS Organiser. You will be spoilt for choice if you want to wallow in right-wing shit Mr Malhar Singh.

      In the interim, I think The Print should take you up on your offer to write against its “moronic articles”. Whether that will diminish or increase the polarisation in Modistan remains to be seen. After all, when PM Modi himself realises the strategic and electoral advantages of polarising the country, I don’t know whether your attempts to be non-moronic will make a difference.

  20. Now they want every father to support their daughter whether they agree to their point of view or not. They should support daughters because they are of a different gender.
    I am a boy and my father/mother would have done the same thing with me had I done anything like that, and I will respect their opinion because this is what democracy is all about.
    The writer of this article tried to give to a feminist angle but failed miserably.

  21. All views are welcome as long as they mirror mine….Communist propaganda does not stop. Shekhar Gupta’s Print just like his head, very reflective of nothing.

  22. If you are going to have a rejoinder in the end of the article ‘ views are personal ‘ then please don’t publish it on public forum !

  23. Ok first of all when are journalist are suppose to give opinion your work is to report the news .

    “A large number of Indians are racist, casteist, anti-women and hate minorities. No wonder, it seeps into fathers who place borders before daughters. Standing up for a shared humanity, which you would have known had Leona been allowed to finish her speech, is not an ‘anti-national’ act” you know this words are expressed and are “The Print” own opinion
    News organization are suppose to report news that it.
    And your opinion are bias .
    Remember there are two sides in every coin

  24. So, now they want every father to support their daughter whether they agree to their point of view or not. They should support daughters because they are of a different gender.
    I am a boy and my father/mother would have done the same thing with me had I done anything like that, and I will respect their opinion because this is what democracy is all about.
    The writer of this article tried to give to a feminist angle but failed miserably.

  25. Great article, with time the boomers will fall and we will make them repent each atrocity they have committed

  26. Majority of Indians are racist and hate minorities ? Really? Does it apply to kashmiri muslims who threw out Pandits from the valley.
    If we are so intolerant why did Muslim population become 20 crores now? If we are intolerant why did Salman Khan ,Sharukh khan and Aamir khan become so hugely popular in India? ? One father is right because it aligns with your twisted ideology ? Jyoti Yadav is a disgrace to journalism .
    Dear Print ,there is a limit to freedom of speech ,can your journalists dare write an article about Islamic intolerance towards other religions which is clearly visible in Pakistan ,Kashmir and Bangladesh where Muslims are majority ?

  27. Why do you feel that only one father is right,just because it aligns with your thoughts, typically leftover psuedo intellectuals, only one way,that’s why you just get space on Twitter and media,not any resonance with billions of the nation, Pakistan Zindabad is OK only when reciprocated, not when they do what they do, to hell with Pakistan I say, and to your mindset of thinking that you know better🤪

  28. “Majority of Indians are racist, casteist, anti-women and hate minorities.” Really!? So minorities are ” NOT racist, NOT casteist , UPHOLD women’s rights and LOVE the majority is it ?
    Here is the irony, it took a right wing party to give gays and muslim women dignity when a secular and liberal party failed to do so for 60 years.
    Right wing extremism won because left wing liberalism failed us.
    IF you are a true liberal you will look at the extremism that exists among both, the Majority and the Minorities and attack both, instead of choosing the extremism and bigotry of the right while turning a blind eye to the same that exists among the minorities. And by doing this you have turned “liberal” into a bad word. A word that now represents an ” imbalanced view” a ” prejudiced view”. And thanks to writers and lopsided articles like the one above, we are losing our battle against extremism of the right and the left.

    • I know right. These liberals are so lost, they are I turn anyone who doesn’t agree with them into racist and bigots.
      No wonder there is a conservative takeover across the world.

  29. I am writing this comment because ThePrint doesn’t let me view other comments without writing one myself.

  30. This article is silly.. it wants women or daughters to have opinions but does not want father’s to have any opinion. Also anyone who says Pakistan zindabad is not doing anything out of love for humanity but just to either say they love the system in that country or to irritate the majority of this country and definitely not out of love. This lady amulya went to say that in a rally by Owaisi whose credentials are well known, basically an islamic supremacist party. So I don’t understand these authors or theprint on what they intend to say…do they want father’s to be docile and accept anything that daughters or sons do?? It’s silly to say that Amulyas father should not have an opinion and that he should whole-heartedly support any silliness ( in his view) of hia children. Totally ridiculous article.

    • You are correct….normalizing the “breaking of daughter’s legs” over a difference of opinion is completely normal…..NOT. Only in extremist societies is that kind of thing justified and defended.

      • Toimur, you seem to have a child’s opinion, reacting to a out of context frustration.

      • If her father really wanted to break her leg, he would have done so ages ago given she has an extremist ideology. Given that he hasn’t , it is clear he is angry and said stuff in the heat of the moment. So just using words that were either said in anger or disgust or disappointment is silly.

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