We, the paradoxical Kashmiris, Junaid Qureshi
We Kashmiris, by nature, are very paradoxical. We often tend to contradict ourselves based on shaky arguments and untrue observations. More than often we behave in such a way while having full knowledge of the actual truth.
Small illustrations of our paradoxical nature can be easily noticed in our day to day life. While attending a grand wedding with lots of food and extravaganza, we -with the utmost certainty- conclude that the hosts have illegal (haram) money which enabled them to pay for such a lavish wedding. If the marriage ceremony is simple and the food is reasonable or just a little less than reasonable compared to our expectations, we -with the utmost arrogance- conclude that the hosts have always been beggars (shikas-lads).
Missing Salah (prayers) is considered a heinous crime, while stealing electricity by the method of hooking, before and after the prayers, is considered our birth-right. Once, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was asked that how many people of J&K were supporting him. He replied, “40 Lakhs minus one (referring to Sheikh Abdullah as the one not supporting him)”. When asked as to how many people were supporting Sheikh Abdullah, he replied, “40 Lakhs, minus one (referring to himself as the one not supporting him)”. Pertinent to note that the total electorate at that time was 40 Lakhs.
To some extent paradoxicalities, like the ones above, can be amusing. But our somewhat amusing and silly behaviour has paradoxically become suicidal as it has transformed into a way of life which totally nullifies the truth and realities of today’s existing world. It continues to shame us as a nation and as human beings. Our rather embarrassing ability to distinguish between right and wrong on the basis of religion, nationality and political affiliations has made us believe that injustice and atrociousness have a face, a name and a God. Depending on that face, the name and the God, we either remain silent or choose to be angry.
Let me make it clear that for me any kind of injustice is unacceptable, irrespective of the party which is culpable. Be it the Indian Army, the Pakistani army, the militants, event-based separatists, mainstream politicians or high level bureaucrats. Not necessarily because I consider myself a man of high morals or impeccable character, but more so because I deny to be oblivious to the truth. I understand that the call for justice cannot be carried on foundations of injustice.
Any dispensation of justice can only be thought of, if there is a broad-based consensus which inevitably requires supporters and like-minded people. At times I get bewildered when I get drowned in deep thoughts; why is it that the common man in India, Pakistan and the rest of the world does not show solidarity with us? Why do we Kashmiris feel that nobody, outside the Valley, shares our pain? Why is it that they do not stand up for us in Mumbai, Lahore or Paris when injustice is mounted upon us? Why are there no candle-light processions for the resolution of the Kashmir problem? Are they not humans or are we not considered humane enough? Are they blind? Deaf perhaps? Agents of CIA and Mossad? Anti-Islam maybe?
Perhaps we must contemplate on why we stand alienated from everyone and everything. Could it be, because we have alienated ourselves from the truth?
We shout slogans of freedom while lifting one fist with determination and simultaneously carrying the flag of an occupying country in the other hand. We, with sheer arrogance, demand the implementation of the UN resolutions while we wave the flags of UN banned terrorists organizations like the Islamic State. An organization which has been rejected by the whole world, including the Muslim World and correctly classified as barbaric. What are we trying to tell the world by waving these flags? That we support suicide attacks on praying Muslims in Mosques during the holy month of Ramadan? That we support brutal decapitations of innocent men? That we support the sale of female children as sex-slaves? Have we totally lost our mind?
We call for the return of the Kashmiri Pandits and assure them of protection, while our failure to protect them and their properties drove them away from their homeland. Still, we exhibit the courage and audacity to dictate them where and when they can return.
Our genuine demands for justice only deserve to be heard and respected by the world when we stop distinguishing between culprits on the basis of religion or sentimental alliances. While rightfully asking for justice in the Kunan Poshpora tragedy and severe punishment to the guilty soldiers of the Indian security forces, we must also -with the same ardency- seek justice regarding the Chittisinghpura tragedy, carried out by terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba. We must collectively reject and stand up against the murderers of Lashkar-e-Taiba and all other mercenaries of hate and destruction.
The floods of last year were not God’s fury because of our so-called disobedience to His word under the influences of Indian Cinema and nor were they caused by any intelligence agency. We caused those floods, as we blocked flood channels by building our homes on them and by polluting our water bodies. Undoubtedly, the Indian state has been culpable of human rights violations in Kashmir, but we must try to understand that we have lost our credibility because of our tendency of blaming India for each and everything that goes wrong in Kashmir.
Many amongst us, many of our own people have been equally guilty of human rights violations. Militants raped our daughters. Many militants used the gun of ‘freedom and religion’ to settle personal scores. Perhaps our eerie silence over these human rights violations, political killings and religious exploitation has caused others to remain numb when we expected them to speak.
The reaction of the people in Kashmir often indicates who is guilty. Whenever Kashmiris get killed by Kashmiris or those foreigners who enjoy our support, we choose to look away. Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammed Farooq was killed by three militants belonging to the HM. The uncle of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Moulvi Mushtaq was also killed by the ‘Mujahideen’ of HM while offering prayers in the Mosque. Dr. Qazi Nisar, Professor Wani, Professsor Ghulam Qadir, Dr. Ahad Guru and innumerable others were also killed by the Hizbul Mujahideen. Moulvi Showkat Shah was murdered by the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen.
On his visit to Pakistan Administered Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Lone dared to defy the ISI. In a public speech there, he told the Pakistani rulers not to send hard-core criminals languishing for crimes like murder and rape in Pakistani jails, to Kashmir for fighting. He also posed a question to them. He asked whether the broken tents and miserable conditions of refugees (Mohajirs) and Mujahideen from Indian Administered Kashmir in Muzaffarabad could justify Pakistan’s claim of calling Kashmir their jugular’s vein. In response to this ‘betrayal’, he was killed by militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Every Kashmiri knows who has been responsible and why these killings took place. All these killings triggered half-hearted protests, hartals, accusations hurled at India, America, Israel and ultimately all was followed by that eerie silence again.
This eerie silence has been a recurring tradition in Kashmir. Recently a few ex-militants were killed in Sopore by unidentified gunmen. There were a few days of hartals, stone-pelting and accusations that the killings were carried out by Indian intelligence agencies. After a few days, we again chose that blanket of silence. Why? Because we all know that the killers of Sopore are of the same breed which killed Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammed Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone. Our silence is nothing else than our silent confession of complicity.
The rape of a girl in Delhi shook the whole of India and the attack on the army-school in Peshawar in which more than 140 innocent children died, brought all of Pakistan together. Not because the honour of their women or innocence of their children surpasses that of our women and children, but because they had the courage to accept that the culprits were people among them. They collectively stood up against injustice without being selective. I salute the brave people of India and Pakistan for their commendable fearlessness. Whether they achieve justice or not, they at least deserve it.
We Kashmiris must introspect and realize that we cannot keep blaming others for our own failures. We cannot expect others to support us while we collectively choose to remain silent. We cannot demand selectiveness from the world. Our silence will only kill our trustworthiness. We must stand up and break our silence.
We must, before it is too late. Before the world ceases to call us, ‘The paradoxical Kashmiris’ and decides to refer to us as, ‘The hypocritical Kashmiris’.
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