In the age of information , nationalists have failed to build up relationship . It is no surprise that people with ‘separatist ‘ ideology on regular interval find it very easy to find space in leading national newspapers , especially Hindustan Times .
Hindustan Times has quite a ‘flexible’ editorial policy . It goes into a full page online request to Rahul Gandhi to shave his beard [ 1] and when he does , it is again followed by announcement that Rahul has shaved .
The flexibility and access is quite accessible and more to ideas where separatism seems to be either ‘justified or encouraged.’
It was a chance that I was directed to an article by Ms Sabah Haji in HT , dated September 11th . Since the article may appeal to many so called ‘liberals’ , I wanted to share few thoughts about this article .
Sabah Haji starts with why does it justify to be called a Kashmiri for those living in the state of Jammu & Kashmir . She writes
We call ourselves Kashmiris because we can’t say ‘Jammu and Kashmiris’ without sounding silly. Also, we speak Kashmiri. So that’s our identity.
Now one must know that the culture , language , food etc of many region in the state are different . How can a person from say Ladakh , who may not even be able to say “hello” in Kashmiri call himself a Kashmiri ? How can a Dogra from Udhampur , Jammu , Kathu , Samba call himself a Kashmiri when he hardly knows the language or doesn’t even live in . How can a a Gujjar Muslim from Poonch or a Shia from Kargil call himself a Kashmiri , when they speak a different language ?
The fact remains that the state is of diversified culture , language and imposing of a name or a brand does not serve any good. Respecting each region is a must and ignoring it in choice of words is not a job done well.
Sabah , further writes
No one in Kashmir drills their children with ‘Azaadi’ mantras and anti-establishment behaviour
In all fairness , I would be delighted to know how does a 5 or a 6 year old child know what different nations are ? What “Azaadi” means ? Why India should be hated ? Does this not get picked up while watching how the elders behave or act . This is purely a behavior a child from any community in Kashmir or elsewhere is likely to pick up from the parents or elders he/she witnesses each day .
Sabah Ji has very intelligently tried to balance and clear the issue of exodus and atrocities upon Kashmiri Pandits . She writes
And the Kashmiri Pandit exodus — what a shameful tragedy. India and Pakistan played a huge, unforgivable part in this horrific episode as did those Kashmiris (Muslims and Pandits) who supported communalising the movement, either actively or under threat or coercion.
Now isn’t that interesting , nowhere a courage to call spade a spade ! She doesnt mention or write that Kashmiri Pandits have been victims of Islamist agenda . Instead she goes to extent of even blaming , yes you have read it right , she has ‘blamed’ some Kashmiri pandits of ‘communalising’ the ‘movement’ as well. A community which was trying hard to save themselves from marauders is being blamed .
Sabah Ji further writes
What irks us is that while your Bhagat Singh is a ‘shaheed’ (martyr), while Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is a fierce nationalist, Kashmiris are to be typecast as violent troublemakers and written off for the same ideals and aspiration.
While as this argument may be appreciated by ‘ liberals’ or those who hold limited knowledge of history , but can Sabah Ji pls let us know if Subhas Chander had killed innocents and raped women ? Did Bhagat Singh go out and plunder places of worship of others ? Subhas Chander and Bhagar Singh were nationalists who fought for independence of India from foreign occupation . Kashmir is different . Kashmir has been part of India since time immemorial . It is mentioned in MahaBharata and Raj Tarngini. One needs to read history with an open mind to clear whatsoever doubts are there .
I agree with Sabah Ji that no one can make her think of an Indian. And I am sure no one but she herself can help her to think like one . As for someone asking “Aap Hindustan se hai ” to people in Kashmir , all I can say is that the argument is a bit to stretched by Sabah Ji . Unlike her, I am from the valley while she is from Doda district . I have interacted with many tourists and all I can say is that most of people in valley are extremely intelligent , and too while dealing with tourists. Most of them would be able to make a distinction between a Tamil , Kannadiga or a Telgu by just havinga look at the face and they even speak ” broken ” south Indian Language” .
Sabah Ji ends with a request for plebiscite , and I could not help but smile . She should know that conditions for a plebiscite were not fulfilled by Pakistan to start with . By it’s invasion of state , Pakistan lost out the reason to further the ’cause ‘ of plebiscite . If there is anyone to be blamed for this , it has to be Pakistan . Now plebiscite issue has become obsolete . Ex UN Sec Gen , Kofi Anan , during his stint in Pakistan itself said….. “ UN resolutions on Kashmir did not come under Chapter 7 of the UN charter and were, therefore, not self-enforcing. Unlike the resolutions on East Timor and Iraq, which come under that particular chapter, the Kashmir resolutions require the cooperation of both parties for implementation……[ March 2001 During his brief interaction with the media at Pakistan’s Chakala military ].
I personally admire Sabah Ji for being a thoughtful person . I would wish Sabah Ji works for other issues , including finding out reasons why her home region of ‘Doda’ has such a different male / female sex ration . In Doda male to female population is 63:37. I am sure for that cause , she would find many ” Hindustanis” chipping in their support , as I see many ” Hindustani” already extending support to her charity schools up in hills of Doda.
Also Read This article by @primary_red