Kashmir: Enemies Overwhelmed By Irrational Love
By Imran Khan
19 February, 2015
On the afternoon of February 11, a friend of mine informed me that a “Public meeting” was going to be held in Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi, titled “ The Undying spirit of Kashmir: The question of self-determination” at 9.30pm. “A public meeting, in JNU on our right to self determination, I don’t believe you” was my initial reaction and I further went asking him “who is organizing it?” He answered “some Kashmiri students with the help of Democratic Students Union”, he further added “few Kashmiri students/scholars and S.A.R Geelani (S.A.R Geelani is the same person who was implicated in the Parliament Attack Case in 2001, however was acquitted of all charges by the Delhi High Court in 2004) were the speakers. I replied that I would love to hear them out and see if JNU was truly democratic and liberal.
Both of us took an auto and reached JNU at 8.30pm, we both rushed towards Tapti hostel where the said public meeting was scheduled to be held. Upon reaching there I was desperate to see any Kashmiri student whom I could ask details of that meeting but I was not able to find any. However there were many non Kashmiri students and scholars present. I thought may be we have reached very early but it was 9 pm. I got skeptical after seeing such a scenario, “hardly any kashmiri student here, the meeting is on right of Kashmiris for self determination, that too in the heart of India, that India who’s democratic face we all Kashmiris have seen over the years” was buzzing in my head at that time. But as the time got close to 9.30pm I was able to see certain things happening in that regard. Some non Kashmiri students or scholars started were arranging benches in Tapti hostel, and I started to believe that the meeting was really on. In the mean time I found an angry person (probably a student or scholar) along with warden and few security personals saying with clear anger in his tone “this is anti national, they are enemies of India, we would not let it happen”. On seeing many non Kashmiri students and scholars in support of this meeting that angry guy and warden went out of the hall and students and scholars continue filling the hall and it was then that few Kashmiri students (hardly 10-15) appeared on the scene. I was shocked to see the large number of non Kashmiri and probably non Muslim students and scholars coming in support of such a meeting, willing to listen about the undying spirit of Kashmir and to understand the truth about self determination. This was the first experience of this kind in my life.
The meeting started with a non Kashmiri girl stating that they support freedom of expression and right of Kashmiris for self determination and further added that they had earlier informed the JNU authorities and sought permission for such a meeting, however after knowing that S.A.R Geelani was one of the speaker in the meeting, the permission was withdrawn at the last moment, the lady went further saying that they condemn such curbs on freedom of expression and that it was shame for JNU authorizes. The moment she uttered the word “shame”, hundreds of students mostly non Kashmiris joined her and the hall buzzed with the slogans of “shame… shame...” I looked around and again tried to count the number of Kashmiris there and found not more than 18. I was puzzled to see this however at the same time my heart started filling with honor and respect for those non Kashmiri students, who had come there in support of true democracy, freedom of expression and right of Kashmiris for self determination. And also JNU authorities deserved all the respect and honor for at least not declaring curfew in JNU campus, not locking Tapti Hostel and not calling police to drag us out of there. I guarantee from my experience in Kashmir that if such a even would had been organized in Kashmir University or in Jammu University, curfew might had been declared in both the universities or at least police might had been called to foil such a program. Any way I thought let me thank the non Kashmiri students and scholars who had gathered in support of kashmiries right for self determination. I was desperate to get up and say few words of thanks for these brave non Kashmiri souls, but then I thought how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine to thank such souls who have the guts to speak the truth even if it is against their own country, to listen the truth even if it hurts them and to show solidarity, tolerance and support for the same. It takes guts, and they definitely possessed all those guts and courage.
While the meeting was going on, S.A.R Geelani arrived and I was able to see chaos outside the hall. Some students of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad had gathered there and they were shouting anti Kashmir slogans and tried to stop S.A.R Geelani from entering the hall, however some Kashmiri students and many non Kashmir students of JNU formed a human chain and managed to bring S.A.R Geelani in. The meeting started again but the members of ABVP kept shouting anti Kashmir and anti self determination slogans outside.
This reminded me of the typical attitude and behavior which we have experienced and witnessed from India security forces in Kashmir. And this was nothing new for me. Frankly and honestly I would love to empathize with the members of ABVP and other anti Self determination and anti Azadi people of India, as their hatred towards the word self determination or Azadi reflects nothing but love for India and may be for Kashmir too. This is their love only for their motherland and Kashmir that they don’t want to listen anything against their India and they don’t want Kashmir to be separated from rest of India. But how logical and rational that love is when one has to puts a gun on the forehead of her/his beloved to make her/him utter “I love you too”. Same seems the case with many in India; they seem to have gone a bit far than just blind in their love for India and Kashmir. Their love has now turned irrational. They are not able to see the undemocratic and brutal face of their India, their love for India has reached to such a level they have started to believe in the divine nature of every statement from their government without ever thinking of questioning it. They don’t believe that human rights violations are committed by Indian army in Kashmir, they have forgotten all the promises made by India and international community to kashmiries, they also don’t consider the rights of kashmiries for dignity, life, self determination and freedom. As everything is considered fair in love and war, they too justify every act of their government and army in Kashmir as pro national and any voice (how genuine or truth full it may be) against it as anti national. For them every Kashmiri who wants to breathe free in his own land is a criminal and enemy of India. Though irrational, illogical and blind but all this is out of their love for motherland and Kashmir too and we must empathize with them.
We kashmiries, for raising our voice, have always been considered as the enemies of India, and our innocence, always ignored. We remained silent on 1953, when Sheikh Abdullah then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was dismissed as Prime Minister, arrested and put behind bars and our autonomy looted. We even tolerated the erosions in our special status over the years, we accepted even when our resources were looted, and we were denied the genuine share of that. It was only that when we were pushed against wall and cheated in the democratic process in 1987 that we took arms against the oppressor. It should be noted though that we remained peaceful from 1947 to 1990s and gave India every chance to be a true democracy and win our hearts but what we got in return was more oppression and deceit. Yes we took arms against the oppressor and we are proud of our sacrifices given for truth, dignity and freedom. We even protested unarmed on the roads and streets of Kashmir, and got murdered in cold blood by those who claim to be called security forces, because for them every voice from Kashmir is anti national when only we raised our voice to remind them of the promises made to us, when only we wanted nothing but to breathe freely, fully and with dignity in our own land.
The fact however is that we kashmiries are not enemies of India at all; we don’t swear death to India, we don’t want India to be destroyed, we have no problem with common Indians. We are known as hosts and we would love to have them as guests in our homes. I truly believe that we kashmiries want India to progress, prosper and grow, but the harsh reality is that India cannot progress and prosper unless and until it does not stop the military occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, unless and until it does not recognize the rights of kashmiries to breathe in a free space, unless and until it does not give kashmiries the much promised right to self determination. I truly believe that even after self determination and freedom we kashmiries would love to have good relations with India. I personally don’t want any conflicting relations with India after freedom and independence of Kashmir. Kashmir, Pakistan and India can co-exit, can be reliable and dependent neighbors and can be complementary to each other and not contradictory. If Europe can form European Union why can’t we have South Asian Union? If boarders have divided us why don’t we make boarders irrelevant? Giving Kashmiries the right to self determination and solving the lingering humane issue of Kashmir and having friendly relations with Pakistan is in India’s own interest. It can facilitate India’s growth, welfare and development and it can also bring the much needed peace in this part of the world. How long India and Pakistan can keep fighting each other on the battleground of Kashmir? Without recognizing the fact that they once were a single country and lived together as united for centuries and as neighbors 68 years or so to say enemies only for few years. Peace is much needed in the whole world and in this part of the world too and the right to self determination for Kashmiries can and should only be seen as a much needed step in that regard.
Imran Khan is a Kashmir based Psychologist
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