On a cold February morning earlier this year, I was taken out from jail in a police van for my first peshi (presentation) in court, since my arrest in September last year. Inside the van, the cops were having an animated conversation about the farmers’ protests. But after four months of captivity, the sight outside was more alluring for me. I could see people going to their offices and children to their schools. There were people in cars, buses and on roads. Some were immersed in their phones, while others were talking to each other. There was no one watching over them. They were free to go wherever, talk to whomever.
It was a fascinating sight—the sight of free people. I was reminded of the past when I too, like the people I was staring at, had been free. The words of Iqbal came to me: