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Losing My Identity In Kashmir

By Masood Ali Mir

23 April, 2015
Countercurrents.org

My name is Naunihaal. I am a kashmiri . I consider myself very fortunate to be the resident of that Kashmir which do have a rich civilizational back ground and a mesmerizing geographical location. My land does have a peculiarity to be called the Paradise on Earth by none other than the great Mughal emperor Jahangir. It does have world famous beautiful vallies, high mountains with thick forests , sweet springs and all other features of a perfect tourist destination.
I am 1993 born, hence a child of conflict-the conflict which is older than me and has got birth way back in 1947 when the British India was divided into independent India and Pakistan and our part is the unfinished agenda of that division. From the 1990s or after the eruption of militancy I lost one member of my family to the cause , one has been disappeared after leaving the home to earn the livelihood, next one jointed the counter insurgency movement known as Ikhwan , other one is in Hurriyat camp and the final one is in mainstream politics.

I got my early education in a government school . My school was without any infrastructure and instead of class room I got lecturers under the shadow of a Chinar tree. In my whole student life upto graduation I never had any modern facility in my school, Higher secondary and the College. Although my higher secondary school was twelve miles and College twenty miles away from my home I have travelled most of the distance by foot , as there were no bridges and the traffic too was were minimal. I was taught by that government teacher who’ s own children were reading in a private school with all the sophisticated infrastructure and in a high tech smart class room. I may have attended only half of the schooling days, the other half were marred by the hartals, protests, crackdown, encounters,election rallies, polling, flood , rain, snow and other holidays. I have recentlygraduated from the University of Kashmir and got luckily admission for the masters degree in the same University.

As a citizen and student of 21st century, I am having different concerns for my life and the betterment of its different walks be it social, economic, religious and political. Being a concerned and civilized member of my society , I am very much confused for my position and place and the relationship between me and my society. It becomes very tough at most of times for me to have a clear understanding of the common man’s position , stand and place of things, situations and issues as it is very usual in Kashmir to change the loyalties but myself finds it very strange to be like that.

The social life of my Kashmir is full of unethical dogmas, rituals and fabricated values, where there is hardly any respectable life for an honest common man. Every social evil is present in my society still every one pretends to be morally high. My Doctor never have a smile on his face in his government hospital which forces my poor countrymen to visit his private clinic although at high costs. My police man who is there for security makes most people nervous by his presence. My politician promises me every thing during his election campaign even bridges to those places where there are no rivers but never fulfills them after getting the perks of power in a typical Machiavellian way. My Government official is never cordial to the masses at his work place and it seems he is being forced to attend his office despite getting a thick salary at the proper time for his minimal services. No body is faithful to his/ her profession and
no oneseems ready for the reformation. Rights are very dear to everyone and duties no one performs.

The religious aspect of my society too is same. Once known as the “ PEER VAIR”, it is loosing its ground for tolerance, accommodation , adjustment and respect in religious field. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is claiming himself the righteous one by giving the religious Fatwa’s against the other. The most perfect religion on the earth( Islam) too has been divided in sects and sub- sects purely on personal individual interests . I am unable to relate myself to anyone, as by joining the one I am distancing from too many.

The economic aspect of my society is most frustrating. Anything related to earn the money is good for my fellow. There is no concern to follow the right mean for the right end. Corruption is at its peak. Every one right from the peon to policemen, teacher, revenue official, legislature, jugde, priest etc are in corruption. There is no force legal or moral to control this rather it is being institutionalized and patronized by the elite classes of the society.

The political aspect is very complex and well known to everybody. Everybody claims himself/ herself the true representative of the people by representing their aspirations and sentiments but history has proved most of this lot hardly honest in their words by their deeds. The age old saying of forty thousand of yours and forty thousand mine out of total forty thousand has been mostly proved by the people of this land right.

My society claims themselves the nation but lacks all the essentials of a nation. The people here are unaware that nationalism is inculcated rather imbibed or borrowed. A nation without nationalism is just a bunch of people living together with some common needs easy to divide and ready to fall. My society lacks the national identity as it has forgotten its past, its identity and its great people. Hardly anyone of my young generation fully know my Sheikh-ul-Alam, Lal Ded, Arbindo, Kashap Reshi,Sul Hajam, Bud Shah, Abdul Ahad Azad, Mehjoor etc. people hardly respect their own culture rather feels awkward in speaking in its own language. We do have borrowed heros as we love the sports of the different countries. The music of our land is dear to a very few instead our young people are mad about music of other lands. They dance on the tones of Enrique, Honey Singh, Pritam and Rahat but gets frustrated by the music of
kashmiri artists.

Living among the people of my land with the above features will socialize me and all of my age and I too may become like them . I too will represent my land in the same manner as my fellows are representing it. When I read my history I read my culture which has been very rich, the social and religious life of my forefathers has been too prosperous and encouraging. Now I am confused what to do? so that we all may be honest and truthful to ourselves and to our land and people. Where from this reformation should start. Should I start it from myself or should I wait to someone else for this . It would be wise to start it from myself. As it is my duty to work for the reformation starting from myself and then request others to work for the same so that we will have once again the Kashmir which may progress and prosper not only in economic front but in other fronts too.

(Masood Ali Mir is a freelancer and can be mailed at masoodalimir@yahoo.co.in)

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