It was second day of the Hizbul-Mujahideen commander Burhan WaniKilling and I have to return to my work. So to ensure that I catch the flight I reached Srinagar airport 8 hours before the scheduled departure of my flight.While waiting with a person who happened to work for JK police we noticed a group of tourists which included Yatries ( Hindu religious pilgrims) discussing Kashmir issue blaming Kashmirisfor all mess around, all of them agreeing that Kashmir’s do not pay any tax at all and are living on the Indiantax payers money without contributing anything back also all of them agreeing that they should visit Kashmir more often as Yatris to ensure that Kashmir remain a part of India and most of their discussions remain around the Hardline Hindunationalistic disclosure of India. My friend and myself decided to intervene and a healthy discussion started with these gentlemen which include army men, Indian tourists, Yatries( Hindu religious pilgrims) and businessmen from Delhi and other parts of India. All of them seem curious to know about Kashmir conflict and what a common Kashmir’s think about India but at same time were misinformed about the Kashmir conflict most probably by the mainstream Indian jingoistic media.
We noticed they were looking Kashmir conflict from prism of Hindu Muslim religious divide and have very less information about the Kashmir freedom struggle which is not just 30 years old but it started right form when the local Kashmiri king Yousef Shah chack was imprisoned by the Akbar.
We agreed that a real Indian Daesh Bakt (patriot/ Nationalist) is the one who thinks and tries to improve the life of 50% of the Indian population living below poverty line without basic necessities of life like clean drinking water, Toilets, better healthcare also suffering from severe malnutrition .Unfortunately majority of this group belong to Minorities, Dalits, lower caste Hindus and Adivasis. We argued that a real patriot is one who will like to divert the billions of rupees being used to sustain military occupation of by maintaining hundreds of thousands of armed men in the Kashmiri streets to be used to improve lives of Indian poor whose condition is worse than sub Saharan Africa.
Most of the gentlemen where unaware that It was Hindu maharaja of Kashmir who along with Pundit prime minister implemented article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir however we still credit this article for maintaining social justice in Kashmir where there is not ahuge difference between poor and rich and almost all people have something to live in and food to eat. Where as in main land India whereas around 50% of Indian wealth controlled by just 50 families. We discussed how Indian elites who largely happened to be upper caste Hindus constituting less than 10% of Indian population control economy, media, bureaucracy, judiciary and Military and also indirectly control power in Delhi. We discussed India cannot be defined as single nation as per the European definition of nationalism but it is a mix of around 14 nationalities and we are not sure if majority of people are happy with the setup however Indian authorities keep diverting people’s attention from asking basic necessities of life, large scams, looting of public resources towards Hindu Muslim conflict, scaremongering about Pakistan and hyper nationalism. We agreed that India is largest importer of the arms in the world but we could not find how an Indian pani poori wala ( road side vendor) or a rickshaw puller is going to be benefited from the long range ballistic missiles however they may be benefited for securing the wealth of Adani or Ambani.
We discussed how a lower caste CRPF person recently killed in the Militant attack on national highway was refused crimation back in his village by upper caste Hindus suspecting that it will harm their religion as reported by Times of India. We discussed how people from Jharkhand affected by Miost problem are being recruited in army and then send to Kashmir and people from Kashmir recruited in army being sent to Jharkhand.
We discussed how Indian media is being controlled by the large business houses which have deep connection with political parties and how these news channels are being used to spread misinformation and demonize specific communities. We discussed about Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and PSA. Weimagined if AFSPA implemented in Delhi and an armed Delhi police officer given power to shoot anyone he just suspects and there will be no one to question him how the thing in Delhi will change a single night? We discussed that under PSA anyone assumed a thread to public order can be detained for years together. We also discussed about the 8000 people in Kashmir disappeared in custody.
At the end of our discussion we observed that most of these gentlemen are good human beings but have been misinformed and we all agreed that a political process should start from all sides of the conflict. In fact vast majority of the Indian population has been completely misinformed by Indian jingoistic media controlled by big business about the Kashmir conflict presenting Kashmir as Hindu vs Muslim issue. However at the end we failed to understand who actually gets benefited form the current setup of Indian state however we are sure it’s not 3 Lakh Indian poor farmers who have done suicide from last several years or poorest of poor of India who actually constitutive majority of Indian population.
Tavoos Hassan Bhat, A Kashmiri lives and works in UAE Email: firstname.lastname@example.org