When home is the mouth of a shark

  • Will Kashmir keep on burning to cinders and keep on gathering its ashes?


Evil has once again returned to the valley. Heaven on earth is, once again, jolted to its core by all things infernal and all scenes hellish. Silence is dead. Mourning is the only sound. Life is precarious. Liberty is a dream. And the only reality is fear, torture, death and doom.

It is said that when wounds continue to fester and heal in a circular fashion, the body gets accustomed to them. Since they come, stay and go and then repeat there is very little novelty and even lesser interest to remedy an ailment that has its highs and lows. Now, apply the above analogy to Kashmir-a land that has seen more than its share of bloodshed, tears and misery. Its whole body is inundated with wounds yet the perpetrators find new places to inflict more while keeping old one’s fresh.

To an objective eye India does not ‘possess’ all of Kashmir. Pakistan too hasn’t emancipated the whole of Kashmir. The Kashmiris live and die for their cause to have their motherland. The fences and barbed wires along the LoC have made the grass turn bloodier on the other side. Familiarity breeds contempt, goes another ancient axiom. However, it too is subject to certain exceptions. Pakistan and its ilk spread over multiple generations have been acutely familiar with Kashmir and endless travails its inhabitants brave day in and day out. The world at large has apparently developed a ‘be that as it may’ attitude and lost interest in the freedom struggle of more than 14 million people. Yet the folks of Pakistan haven’t taken a step back from supporting their brethren under siege. The familiarity to bloodshed, terror and fear in Kashmir has only bred empathy during the past seven decades.

The familiarity to bloodshed, terror and fear in Kashmir has only bred empathy during the past seven decades

As long as the memory serves and as far as one can gaze back in the annals of history, the Kashmiris have shared the fate of ancient bondmen; there has been a change of tyrants at the helm of power and nothing else. The tally of martyrs from just 20 years 1990 to 2019 is around 70,000 Kashmiris. They are those who won’t tell us their story. We are left to listen to the tales and travails of the disappeared and tortured individuals with a sinking heart.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that many of us share the fate of our beloved motherland. We have to put up with misery in all its gory forms because the ‘husbands’ (read leaders) of our land are either posing as mythic Titans or busy in one-upmanship. All of this should end as we have too many ‘weary’ generations before us. Who took to their graves the only lesson- the victims remain victims, while the victors change.

Here at home, Islamic Republic of Pakistan scampers from crisis to crisis, tragedy to tragedy, debacle to debacle. The concerned historians could easily recount a hundred times when our motherland escaped utter ruin and perdition. Many an eyewitness from yore can vouch that the moments of complete success proved to be nothing but pyrrhic victories. Yet to hope against hope is the only thing we could do.

As far as Kashmir is concerned, years of sloganeering has made us sure that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and here goes our official stance. Since time immemorial, we have been demanding that the Kashmir issue must be resolved as per the dictates of UN Security Council resolutions. The death of Burhan Wani in July, 2016 brought back the Kashmir issue on television and broadsheets across Pakistan. The old flame that was on the back burner with sporadic rallies featuring the usual suspects of Kashmir cause, a public holiday on 5th of February, occasional talk shows highlighting the ‘plight of poor Kashmiri brothers’ kept it alive till something new, something bigger, something Burhan Wani eventually fell into our lap.

Now, with Indian State scrapping special status of Kashmir, the Kashmir cause has become all the rage. Even before that, the realisation among the intellectual, literary and enlightened political circles of India has reached the consensus that Kashmir has become a lost cause and if things don’t change the valley will be India’s Waterloo.

Writers like Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, Angana P Chatterji and of late leader of the ruling party BJP Yashwant Singh, former finance minister and present outcast, all concur that people of Jammu and Kashmir have lost their fear of Incredible India that ‘has done everything it could to subvert, suppress, represent, misrepresent, discredit, interpret, intimidate, purchase, and simply snuff out the voice of the Kashmiri people’.

Arundhati Roy, the author of The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, has aptly summed up the dilemma of India who raises the slogan ‘Doodh maango gey toh kheer den gey! Kashmir maango gey toh cheer den gey!, when in reality it ‘needs azadi from Kashmir just as much-if not more-than Kashmir needs azadi from India’.

The beautiful, scenic Kashmir is once again showered in blood and misery. The Sisyphean cycle of its pain and agony knows no escape. The past is gory, the present is gloomy and all hopes are pinned on the future that is uncertain at best, bloodier and gloomier at worst.

Let us hope for the best, as Kashmiris have already lived and are still living in the worst of circumstances.