I am a Kashmiri. I belong to a land which they
say is not mine. I have been made a stranger
to my own people acr!loss the borders. You know
me by names – Indian and Pakistani. I am
neither. My divided land between two hostile
neighbours – India and Pakistan – is a
territory of war, death, destruction and
occupation. Democracies have turned military
dictatorships here. Laws here are meant to
protect murderers and turn victims into ghosts.
I am a resident of the world’s largest
militarized zone. Don’t ask why.
Freedom comes at a cost. I
am still paying for it. AFSPA, AK 47, killings, attacks, tortures,
rapes, protests, disappeared people, Aazadi,
crackdown, Mukhbirs , grenades, stone-
pelting, fake-encounters, Ikhwanis etc.
comprise my language as regular vocabulary.
Politics of Control
Line of Control might be a combination of
concertina wire and 12-feet high fences along
India-Pakistan border, but it has hacked my
country in two parts – like a body
dismembered, scattered pieces of the same flesh.
Nobody gives us a chance to say who we are?
Recently, we were called a “third party”.
Somebody calls us its “integral part”, the other
side says Kashmir is its “jugular vein.”
Kashmiris often ask
themselves: if we are so
important for them then how
can they allow the suffering
to carry on for so long.
Shouldn’t both of them leave
everything aside and ask
Kashmiris what they want.
You don’t dictate “conditions” or put things on
“backburner” when people of the very land you
claim to be your ‘own’ are being systematically
slaughtered. Who has given you the right to
pound my valleys with shells and mortars to
quench your hunger for revenge and
ownership Owing to almost seven decades of conflict,
you’ll see many Kashmiris, in candid chats,
yearning for a full and final war. The choices
are limited but Kashmiris know the results very
well – either live an occupied life or taste
death as freedom.Our memory of loss and death is too bloody to
be marked on calendars and memorials. Go
and quiz any Kashmiri, any, from anywhere in
the world and ask him, has he lost anyone
whom he knew in the last 26 years. A ‘no’ will
be rare.Of course not many citizens of India and
Every one knows that Kashmiris have long ago
crossed threshold of sensitivity and empathy
towards daily violence and blood on the
streets. They don’t even feel strange about it. As a Kashmiri, I fight
India by rejecting it.
I’m not clear about Pakistan either. But it
would be grossly incorrect to assess the two on
a similar plane.
India has and continues to use its every
structure to quell Kashmiris. Presence of
7,00,000 paramilitary troops, thousands of
policemen and agencies, black laws and
installation of puppet rulers from New Delhi to
give a “democratic” colour to its authority in
the state represents India in Kashmir.Thousands have been disappeared. Kashmir is
littered with unmarked graves, orphans,
widows, half-widows, amputees, handicapped,
tortured and maimed. Speak a word about
types of brutality, and Kashmir has an
example.Kashmir has never been exclusive. Throughout
ages, history shows how different religions and
cultures from every direction got absorbed in
the valley. There’s a perception that
only Muslims live in Jammu
and Kashmir. It’s wrong.
Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and
Christians also live in
Kashmir. There might be
varying political aspirations
in the Muslim-dominated
J&K;, but nothing can deny
them from being Kashmiris.
They have suffered too. We
are collective victims.