I know i’ve always said i have a love-dislike relationship with Kashmir. I’d like to clarify that the dislike is only and solely limited to societal norms of the day. I feel proud when i tell people Im from Kashmir. It makes everyone ask me so many questions which ultimately leads to stories about the recent uprisings, the unfortunate past and the clueless future.
Clueless is probably not the right word. I recently finished my copy of ‘Kashmir in Sickness & in Health’. Honestly, the book has given me the best insight on the political happenings in Kashmir since the Dogra rule. I had a vague picture of the political scenario from what my father had told me - but the simplicity with which the author says ‘& Kashmirs destiny was again at crossroads; fate had cheated it again’, just hits you where it should.
It was when i actually realised how Kashmiris lost a chance to say something - not once, not twice but at every chance they stood up for themselves! Be it the peak of militancy in the 90’s or the recent stone pelters demonstrations. It’s not about who shall bell the cat anymore - its more on the lines of - do the mice even want to bell the cat?, is the cat even interested in eating the mice, is there a bell to start with?
We all move on with life. Time heals everything but the scars always remain. Even shattered glass when fixed has cracks in it. Watching a documentary on the enforced disappearances in Kashmir left me speechless for a bit. So many mothers, so many daughters and so many widows still searching for their sons, for their fathers and for their husbands! The main protagonist ‘Mughal mase’ (Aunty Mughal) who is naratting how her son went to work one morning and never returned ends the documentary by saying, ‘All i want is one glimpse of his face and for him to see me once and I will die in peace!’. She never got to do that and died a few months after the documentary was finished in 2009. This is just one story - there are a million others that are left unsaid or rather go unheard. Kashmiris for years have subjected themselves to the harsh reality on the ground. But for how long can one just stay quiet?
This makes me want to stand up and do something. This makes me want to voice my concern. This makes me want to shout and break hell loose. I am however helplessly sitting at my desk and just writing this - I can only try and empathise with the people of the valley, who have had to go through the inhuman cruelties and continue to do so - for freedom. It is shameful that the one thing that should be free in this world comes at the cost of millions of lives! It is true, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility' but everyone just wants the power and no one wants to take responsibility for anything. Individually we can educate the world about the issue of Kashmir - tell the world about the harsh realities of our nation and hope - just hope than one day - the oppression ends and freedom comes at no charge!