Kashmir, The Bruised Heaven
Here I go again, received a link from my best friend of experiences of violence faced by women in Kashmir from the armed forces and patriarchy within their own community. While I found it a conflate, I was struck by a conniption. I spent some time in sedentary until I got unanimous from soul, body and a bipartisan from heart and mind to write about my land, Kashmir.
It was in the words of a Persian poet Jami who once said: “Gar Firdausi Bar-rōy-e zamin ast, hamin ast-o- hamin ast-o- hamin ast” (If there is paradise on earth, it is this, it is this) It is also reported that when Jahangir was asked on his deathbed about his cherished desire, he is credited to have said: “Kashmir, the rest is worthless.” Asking them the same question in their graves today, if nature allowed me, I would have listened to their answer eagerly.
In no way is the antiquity of heaven the same. Endless oppressions, barbaric and horrifying tales of Kunan-Pushpora, ruthless and merciless murders in fake encounters, rapes, draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA, barbaric forces, hypocrite despots, atrocious civilian killings, frightening experiences of being blinded with pellets or of being tied to an army gypsy, bruised hearts and minds, tortured souls and bodies, grave human right violations all the indescribable cruel and heinous crimes augmented, have left Kashmir in no way the same. The beauty tore, faces upset, souls dead, smiles killed and joy murdered, a homicide being organized, planted and implemented, all these have ripped and shredded the land of mine. What is the Kashmir? I asked a friend of mine. He replied, “Aazadi”. The answer was echoing in my conscious and conscience for quite a while. Finding myself in desultory, I, after an exhaustive fight with myself, thought of raising a question, something no one has asked yet.
I have got nothing to do with what history says us, what the agreements tell, I know, even that also shows we are right and you wrong. I, today have questions for all, especially for those who just ramble and argue foolishly on the national channel debates about Kashmir dispute and its solutions, people who are filled with vitriolic against Kashmiris (not Kashmir) because the land is precious to them.
1:- It seems preposterous and insane to me that a population of nearly 70 lakh people, all in one slogan, ask you something of their right and you don’t act on it. I mean if almost whole of the population is demanding their right, why not to grant them that? Now there are the people who will ask, “Not all of you demand that”. Brother, primarily, exceptions don’t make the rule. Next, once you raise the slogan, tell them they are free, have the guts to show me a single person who would say NO. Back to the question, if the people of Kashmir don’t want to be with you, let them free, let them decide what to do. What is the point in keeping a population of this much under oppression? And tying them to yourself while all they do is to cut the rope. Do you think they won’t survive without you? Let them free, if they fail you will have Kashmir permanently.
2:- The debates of several intellectuals of India made me abstruse. “Kashmir depends financially on India” said one of them. How? I ask, maybe a part of it does, but not that we cannot survive alone. We are, Alhamdullilah, a self-sufficient nation.
a) As per JK Tourism report, the tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir generates more than Rs. 300 crore revenue and provides employment to about 5 lakh people. Now do not tell me I have brought Jammu up here, it is about tourism in Kashmir only.
b) J&K being a power surplus State that lights up homes and powers industries across northern India while its own people face severe power outages day after day. Punjab is the biggest buyer of the power generated in J&K followed by Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh Between 2001-2015 (14 years), by its own calculation. NHPC earned more than Rs. 194 billion (Rs. 19,431.92 crores to be exact) from the sale of power generated in J&K.
c) The fruit industry in Kashmir is generating Rs. 6000 crore revenue and providing employment to more than 33 lakh people directly or indirectly in the state.
d) In H1 2017-18, export of carpets, woollen shawls and paper-mâché stood at US$ 30.42 million, US$ 19.58 million and US$ 1.05 million respectively.
e) Horticulture is one of the most dominant sector and backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s economy with a yearly turnover of Rs.1200 Crores. It provides direct and indirect employment to about 23 lakh people and has the potential for further growth
There are many other sources of revenue but I have just listed a few for you to get a glimpse. Kashmir is a revenue surplus state. This shuts the financial argument, I hope.
3:- What is the purpose of keeping yourself with a rebel nation? When you think we are rebels, terrorists, infidels, etc. then why don’t you throw us away? What is the need of occupying the land? I think it is better to be a crownless country rather be with terrorists, don’t you agree on that? Let you leave them alone, save your money and militia. Why make the most militarized zone on this planet and for what?
4:- Why is it that in Kashmir even a small child reading in an expensive private public school is more likely to support the Pakistan cricket team than the Indian team? What has caused that? Is it only religion? Surely not because in that case India has a much larger Muslim population, had it been the Muslim sentiment, Kashmiris would have always loved to be with India. I don’t say Kashmiris want to be with Pakistan, just let them free, they have the right to decide for themselves.
5:- India works on a democratic system of governance, which means majority decides, well with it? Now, the voter turnout for all the elections held in Kashmir has always been very minute. In Srinagar, in 2017, the overall percentage in the entire constituency stood at 7.13% and same is the case on all sides of Kashmir. What it means is that more than 90% of the population did not want to accept a government of yours. They did not want you to rule here. So, why do not you follow majority here? Accept it that had they seen the incompetent or unfit choices/candidates, they would have voted NOTA. Even that was not acceptable to them. Accept it, your democracy failed here, didn’t you?
Kashmir has a history of resistance, we have been called by several names, never ever did someone calls us cowards, we are not and we have laid down lives for our nation. Ours is the blood said to be cheaper than the water. We have the memories of Kunan-Pushpora, The Gawkadal Massacre, The Machil Fake Encounter, The Sopore Massacre, and Massacre of Islamia College Srinagar. I just tried to google the massacres in Kashmir. My heart cried out and drenched in pain as it gave me 1990- 2018. Killings everywhere heard from the olds. Kashmir has witnessed more than lakhs of deaths till now. Add some more as the killings in Shopian and Pulwama go on today. The marching of people towards the encounter sites shows that the people in Kashmir don’t see them as terrorists, but are seen kissing their boots. Youth lay down their own lives to save theirs. This is where you should find a clear and definite about what Kashmir demands. The erstwhile princely state has been enough maimed, killed, raped and oppressed. History is the witness, oppression never survived, never had it been that the oppressor won, maybe he for a time being remained there but time toppled the tables and he was beneath. The policy that is trying to cripple our economy, paralyze us on education and attempt to change demography is never going to work. Did it work for last 60 or 70 years? Kashmir, as I see it, is going on a rebellion again. This time more vigorously and violently. The cycle of violence continues.
The lethal pellets, war crimes taking place makes me frightening on the side of world community who keep being the mute spectators of this bloodbath. They know what is right, still, they do not act to get things right. As Desmond Tutu has rightly said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
The world community is equally accountable for what is happening in Kashmir and other occupied states. The slaughter that is being legalized is in no way good for any of us. There would be a time when the pressure builds high and this dormant volcano razes you. The fight is against the oppression, not the oppressor. Being able to go out and walk freely, without the fear of being killed, shot with pellets, taken into custody, harassed in our own land is illegal, we demand it no matter what. If taking your family out with the background fear of clashes and police raid is insane, we demand insane, if liberation from the cycles of violence, chronic CASOs, killings, rapes, fake encounters, tortures is any evil, we will still ask for it.
I don’t understand why the Kashmir issue has become so complex. It isn’t that. It is just a population demanding their right and I think they should be granted that. Making it a logical and religious problem is not going to work. Bringing in more complexities, inducing a moral revulsion is not the solution. The Land is on the verge again. It is better to bid them a graceful bye, then being kicked off with humiliation.
To my dear Indian brothers and sisters, try to answer the questions I raised. Go in front of the mirror, ask yourself these questions, ask yourself, isn’t it wrong happening in Kashmir? Doesn’t it need to be corrected? If your conscience is not prejudiced. You will get the right answer.
Author is pursuing B-Tech in Electronics, and Communications at Sri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu. He can be mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.