Answering Political Debates with #Code: India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019
Social media has made us all a little too toxic. How did we get here? When was the last time we appreciated the public policy designed by the political parties that we didn’t support?
Quite a long time ago. Right?
But all is not well at the moment.
Thus, it is now us, the citizens of the world, that are in that state of dynamic equilibrium, instead of the political elites. As we consume more social media and are targeted and retargeted by political ads run by vested interest groups, our descent towards xenophobia or anarchy continues unabated.
(Source: NowThis News)
That is why we need to examine these social media-driven narratives with non-partisan code. A non-partisan code is nothing but a program that addresses the concerns of both camps.
How about I show you how it works instead of writing a 5000-word treatise?
India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill: Summary
The Indian Government (Rightist), in December 2019 proposed a citizenship amendment bill that, if passed by the Indian Parliament, will expedite the process of granting Indian citizenship to those belonging to 6 religious denominations from its neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Since the current Indian Government is Rightist, the leftists oppose it. The rationale for their opposition is rooted in the fact that the majority religious denomination in India’s neighbors is a minority religious denomination in India.
Therefore, the goals for a non-partisan code are clear. It must be able to achieve the goals of the bill, in its entirety, without asking for the religion of the applicant. If it can do so, a case can be made that the bill does not contain mischievous intent to discriminate against ANY religious denomination.
Before I present the code, it is a good time to disclose that I’ve just started learning to code so some formatting notations might not be present.
Also pertinent to note is that the author self-identifies as a rightist but agrees with several features of the leftist beliefs.
indian_neighbours = ["afghanistan","pakistan","bangladesh"] nationality = input("Which Country Are You A Citizen Of ? --> ") def citizenship_amendment_bill(): if nationality.lower() == "india": print ("You're Already an Indian Citizen. #Jai_Hind") elif nationality.lower() in indian_neighbours: print ("Welcome to the Citizenship Amendment Bill") for neighbour in indian_neighbours: if neighbour == nationality.lower(): print ("Are You Victimized on the Basis of Your Religion in " +nationality.title()+ " ?") status = input("Type Yes or No --> ") if status.lower() == "yes": print ("India will expedite your process of becoming an Indian citizen.") elif status.lower() == "no": print ("Apply for Indian Citizenship as per Existing Laws") else: print ("The Citizenship Amendment Bill is not Applicable in your Case") return citizenship_amendment_bill()
In case you’re even newer to programming than I or are completely unfamiliar with coding, here’s a flowchart depicting the same code in a pictorial format that is easier to visualize.
Learnings from the Non-Partisan Code
While a case can be made that the bill does not discriminate on the basis of religion, it does discriminate on the basis of nationality. This is evident from the list in Line 1 of the code.
indian_neighbours = ["afghanistan","pakistan","bangladesh"]
#In a Future Amendment to this Amendment indian_neighbours = ["afghanistan","pakistan","bangladesh", "china", "sri lanka"...]
Here too, the belief is that one day, the Indian citizenship amendment bill/act would provide for expedited citizenship to all marginalized people and not just those that profess a faith similar to its majority community.
#In a future amendment to the amendment for neighbour in indian_neighbours: if neighbour == nationality.lower(): print ("Are You Victimized in " +nationality.title()+ " ?") status = input("Type Yes or No --> ") if status.lower() == "yes": print ("India will expedite your process of becoming an Indian citizen.") elif status.lower() == "no": print ("Apply for Indian Citizenship as per Existing Laws")
- Regionalism is parochial and does not conform with the globalistic principles that we need to stem xenophobia
- My coding skills are rudimentary and I didn’t want the code to go over 20 lines
It is sufficiently clear that the citizenship amendment bill, in its current form, is a step in the right direction. But, it has a long way to go before it can address the leftists’ allegations of its communal nature.
It is religion-agnostic but discriminates on the basis of geography which, throughout history, has had strong correlations with people’s religion.
After all, a community is nothing but a group of people living in close proximity and possessing similar habits and customs.
Do you like such pieces of sanitized content? Should I do more? I hope you say yes – It’s a good way for me to learn programming. Which bill/law should I try to emulate as a non-partisan code next? Let me know in the comments section and look out for it next week.