June 2017 News

It Is The Kashmiri Who Has Turned Anti-Kashmir

28 June 2017
DailyO
Manu Khajuria

Srinagar: Blessed with the greatest gift - that of human life - we are capable of leaving a legacy behind. This was nowhere more important than in Jammu and Kashmir, which is asking us to do so. A legacy of hope and peace built by positive approach and actions. Kashmir, along with its prefix Jammu, makes for the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been known for the breathtaking beauty of its land, people and a comfortable co-existence of diverse faiths, languages and ethnicities. Kashmir, many believe, was named after Rishi Kashyap. Kashmir's famous 'Kashmiriyat' goes back to the pursuit of knowledge, peace and spirituality as practiced by this great sage, on this very land. The epithets adorning Kashmir, such as jannat, heaven on Earth, the most precious gem of India's crown, are all probably the karmic fruits of sages who practiced and preached here. As a Dogra, the people who are believed to have founded the large state of Jammu and Kashmir, we have taken pride in Kashmir being a part of us. Then again as a Dogra, the people who served Kashmir for 101 years, keeping it peaceful and connecting it to the world through developmental work, it is painful to see the annihilation of the very reasons Kashmir was beautiful - the seat of true knowledge and spirituality. If the 'spirit' of Kashmir looks into the mirror today, it would not recognise the apparition that would stare back at it. The once protective and pluralistic shroud which covered the state, lies over Kashmir tattered, laying bare the contradictions and self-destruction beneath. The soft cadence which was once its voice has turned into a cacophony hard to decipher. Kashmiriyat might be breathing feebly its last in individuals, but collectively it has died a gory death. The burden of Kashmir lays calamitous on everybody in the state, but most heavily on Kashmiris themselves. Fed on historical distortions and misinformation, the stone-pelting, militant-protecting, Kashmiri today, is misguided in purpose and suffering from a severe identity crisis. It has turned him blind to the external hand that changed Kashmir. Many a Kashmiri, including the politician from the Valley alleges that Delhi and the armed forces 'ko Kashmir chahiye, Kashmiri nahi'. This allegation, as hollow as it is, is applicable to the Kashmiri himself who is refusing to see the external hand. Starting from the Mughals - who were believed to be responsible for forceful conversions - to Pakistan, which was behind the tribal raids in 1947, facts have been fudged and forgotten. The man allegedly bursting crackers on the streets of Srinagar to mark Pakistan's victory in the recent cricket Champions Trophy is both brainwashed into being consumed by hate, and is uneducated in his own land's history. As a proud Dogra would say that anyone who truly loved both Kashmiri and Kashmir would not be celebrating a nation which has looted its land, is killing its people and is altering its identity. The irony is that the Kashmiris will also never be truly accepted by Pakistan. The case in point being, people living in Pak-administered Kashmir who suffer human rights abuse and have very few rights and little freedom. The word 'Azad' in Azad Kashmir is a mockery. All these years it's the Kashmiris who have governed Kashmir. The opportunism by Kashmiris at the helm of affairs, has done great disservice to their own people. Those who could have contained the problems are steeped in dirty and self-serving politics. In fact, they have created a vacuum allowing the monsters to grow bigger and stronger. Sheikh Abdullah, who rose against the Dogras, paradoxically brought dynastic politics to the state. He sowed the seeds of indifference and dislike towards Jammu and the Dogras in the Kashmiri mind. Since then, this sentiment has consistently been fed by Kashmiri politicians, media and intellectuals. The discontent against the Abdullahs, saw the rise of Muslim United Front, which contested elections and were poised to win in the Kashmir Valley, defeating a NC-Congress combine in 1987. The widespread rigging of elections that followed was the watershed moment in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. The faith placed in democracy by the nearly 80 per cent people in the Valley who voted in 1987 was rudely shaken. It evoked a response that was sharp and ugly. The vacuum thus created was filled with insurgency and different shades of separatism, which every Kashmiri outfit with any power or influence went on toying with. The fangs of Islamisation and terrorism bared themselves, when the macabre dance of violence and extremism in the guise of freedom was played out in the 1990s. It saw the loot, rape and killings of Kashmiri Hindus. Mass exodus of the Hindus from the Valley took place. This was well-aided by Pakistan in terms of militants, money and rabid, brain-washing rhetoric. Pakistan has been fooling gullible Kashmiris, deeming itself their protector, as it continues to abuse and kill minorities in its own country while training and sending militants to ours. 'Azadi' has been bloodthirsty, feeding on its own. It is also an accomplished shape-shifter. It has given birth to and nurtured new regional parties, who like to play it on the edge, both flirting with democracy and courting soft-separatism. The PDP came into power riding the same horse, but the relationship is fast turning sour, as Kashmiris reject the agenda of alliance. It has seen the democratically elected representatives milking Kashmir when in power and then petulantly supporting terror and guns when wrested of it. Farooq Abdullah recently said in reference to those who pick the guns that they have 'surrendered themselves in front of God and their only aim is to free Kashmir'. Hatred against India has been spread and allowed to grow, sometimes subtly and at other times blatantly. It is astounding how historical truths have been painstakingly hidden and skewed to sustain a feeling of injustice and victimhood. The many 'experts' on Kashmir, some of them home-grown, have spoken half-truths and projected only that, which suits the side they are on and the ideology they have picked to promote. They have failed to give a fair and holistic view adding to the confusion and misinformation on Kashmir. The media also has refused to pan out and look at the state as a whole. Jammu, the last bastion of pluralism in the state, its border villages standing in the line of fire, and its porous borders being oft-used routes for infiltration making its towns and highways vulnerable remains voiceless. Jammu ignored by both experts and media is home not only to Kashmiri Hindus, but also to thousands of Kashmiri Muslims, fleeing extremism. Will Kashmir stop and ask itself why are these Muslims from Kashmir seeking refuge in Delhi, Jammu or abroad and not in Muzaffarabad or Islamabad. Kashmiris need to take cognisance of the other stakeholders in the state. The fact that the Dogra maharaja Hari Singh called himself the maharaja of Kashmir and the people of Jammu write their addresses as 'Jammu, J&K' unlike their Kashmiri counterparts who are limited to 'Srinagar, Kashmir' should leave no one in doubt that Jammu stakes its claim on the entire state, Valley just being 15 per cent of it. Hiding behind rights, both human and political, Kashmiris have pelted stones, fatally injuring and impeding what could have been a life-saving journey for someone. The young men in Kashmir are being engaged in subversive activities, tracking and reporting on security forces, leading to an increase in terror attacks. The stone-pelting today shields armed terrorists who have blatantly declared jihad to establish an Islamic Caliphate in a Kashmir which 'belongs to Kashyap, Lal Ded and Nund Rishi'. It also grievously injuring the security forces and killing and maiming Kashmiris as young as 10-13 year olds who have been indoctrinated into this war. The hatred is sold most easily under the packaging of 'brutal oppression', which must be fought against at all costs. Feroze Dar and his men of the Achabal police patrol party, all Kashmiris, are the latest victims of the venom coursing through the Kashmiri veins. Not satisfied with death alone, stones were rained down to obstruct the removal of their bodies for funeral and allow the escape of terrorists who not only killed these Kashmiris but disfigured their faces. It is seeing them turn against their own today, ratting on a young Lt Ummer Fayaz, who was home for a family wedding, and lynching deputy SP Md Ayub Pandith on the holiest night of Shah-e-Qadr. The seven decades have been bloody and tumultuous. Kashmir lead by Kashmiri Muslims, turned against the Dogras who 'founded' the state of Jammu Kashmir, then against the Kashmiri Hindus and now against their own Kashmiri Muslims brothers. The blood that has been shed is of a Kashmiri. The one shedding it has been a Kashmiri. Those rendered homeless have been Kashmiris. Those who did it were Kashmiris. The one going to a school somewhere in the Valley is a cherubic Kashmiri child. The one burning down the school and replacing the books in the child's hands with stones and guns is also a Kashmiri. A 10-year-old, a footballer in the making, becoming a mohalla commander is because of a Kashmiri. Organic orchards have been lovingly planted by a visionary and entrepreneurialKashmiri, and the one to destroy it is also a Kashmiri blinded by anger and hate. There is the young Kashmiri, excelling in sports and winning Indian hearts. There are also the promising Kashmiris who year after year top the civil services exams, bureaucrats in the making, choosing to stay and serve their state and nation. In contrast, is the Kashmiri abroad, the journey sponsored by tainted money and the academic life made more glamorous by standing behind a populist narrative on Kashmir, even though it is in direct conflict with the interests of the common Kashmiri living in the Valley. It is the Kashmiri who has turned anti-Kashmiri and anti-Kashmir. While Jammu and Kashmir waits with a bated breath for Delhi to feel its pain and act clearly and decisively, some soul-searching is needed by the Kashmiris, to face up to their own act in this tragic play. Due to the sheer horror and absurdity of the unfolding story of Kashmir, the supposed cause and the reason for the Valley to be soaked in the blood of its own sons, is sounding hollow to most. Dogras value Kashmir because we gave our blood to build it. We are the people of brigadier Rajinder Singh, who 'protected' Kashmir unto the last man and last bullet. We call upon our fellow Kashmiris to come together and to turn this around, rejecting violence, earning back Kashmir's secular credentials, lighting up all its dark places and investing in the future of its children. Cry me a river Kashmir, let those tears cleanse and redeem you. Be born again!

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