Who is a Kashmiri?

Who is a Kashmiri?
*Asha Kachru
have not asked myself this question all my life and I am in mid sixties now. It was never a theme for debating; we used to be all together, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Dogras etc., whenever I used to be at my grandparents and aunts and uncles houses in school vacations in Srinagar-Karannagar. Though I was born in Anantnaag and my mother stayed on in Kashmir for a few years with me, though my father had left Srinagar for both personal as well as job reasons, later on we had to join him and so it came that I spent most of my childhood and youth in Delhi. Every summer vacation we would however visit Kashmir. I have such lovely memories of the beautiful cherry and apple trees in my grandparent's house. The last time I was there in 1988, because I wanted my 15 year old son, with whom I had lived and worked in Germany, to get to know Kashmir a bit closely. He did Trout fishing in a Govt. tourist hut in Kokkernag and I used to meditate on the little island surrounded by the great Himalayan mountains with the pure Jhelum river water flowing in the midst. Also we used to go to Nagin Lake, because my uncle was teaching at the engineering college nearby. Heavenly memories! Not anymore since then have I had the courage to go to Kashmir. I could be recognized as a Hindu Kashmiri, because I would automatically speak in Kashmiri with the people there and I would get exposed, I have feared always.
Now I read and hear from secular friends all over here in south India, where I live and work as a development activist, that Azadi should be given to the Kashmiris. My dear historian friend Gangadharan just coolly told me a few days back, while I was in Kerala, that we, the Kashmiri Pundits should just settle down somewhere else and give these jehadis their Azadi. He then added that these jehadis will never learn, let them suffer at the hands of Pakistan, then in another 10 years they will want to return to India again.
Meanwhile I have gone through the paper written by Arundhati Roy for the Tribune, august 2008. I am surprised that she too wants the Kashmiris to have Azadi. Which kashmiris are they all talking about? Where are the not fanatically religious Kashmiris, the Hindus, the Muslims, the Sikhs, the Dogras, the Ladhakis, the Gujjars etc. etc.?
Why have we allowed these separatists so much voice all these years? They have partitioned (the creation of Pakistan itself was a totally wasteful idea and a pain in the ass for so many now) the Indian sub-continent already on the base of one religion and now again we follow the same route? And all this the secularists in India are supporting? I am totally confused about their understanding of a secular state. I am angry and wonder what their understanding of justice is like? I fear all of them are being selfish. They want to be placated as progressive, by being on the side of the "Minorities", all except Hindu Minority of Kashmiri Pundits! I find this a misogynistic trend.
Though I too am generally angry at the way our state forces go around with the common man/woman, but instead of only talking about the millions spent on security forces in Kashmir and their horrible deeds, why not think in positive terms and help get more of non-Muslim Indians get settled in that troubled area and be harsher with the Islamic fundamentalists. This will not give the separatists the hope to divide.
It was a Kashmiri Pundit like J.L. Nehru, who did not help take final decision and close the chapter then itself, when the first insurgents from Afghanistan, supported by Pakistan, had already occupied half of J&K state. Instead he wanted a plebiscite to take place, when conditions are normal. He had good Muslim friends and he trusted them. But today we can learn from this incident that you cannot trust Muslims, due to their fundamental un-conditional solidarity with their community members, because they are Islamists in first place than anyone/anything else.

And as a woman, I have a lot to loose and fear, if Islam becomes dominant. I have already written about that earlier. Here I ask Muslims to tell me how I and others, who really do not believe in religious sentiments taking over daily lives of people, can trust them and their deeds.Some questions to Muslims:
  • Why your religious belief makes you treat women as inferior human beings to be kept at home to cater to the physical and sexual needs of their men and run the households for them.

  • Why your religious belief makes you force women to wear burqa and cover their bodies, hindering their free movements (e.g. for sports activities)

  • Why your religious belief makes you treat 2 women as equals to one male witness

  • Why your religious belief gives you the right to force your girls and women to undergo female genital mutilation (before marriage) at the age of 5-15 years (in most Islamic African countries, WHO study)

  • Why your religious belief makes you keep 4 women as your wives, but at the same time give women harshest of punishments like stoning to death, why there is even a suspicion of your women having some relation to another man.

  • Why your religious belief makes you treat every other religious believer as one to be hated/despised/killed.

  • Why your religious belief makes you show unconditional solidarity for your own community members, irrespective of how good or bad their deeds are .

  • Why your religious belief prohibits your open denouncement of jehadi terrorism within your own community members.

  • Why your religious belief allows suicide bombing in the name of Allah.

  • Why your religious belief allows killing of those who have said /written or done anything which is perceived derogatory towards your prophet Mohamed.

  • Why your religious belief makes you divide our common territory (earlier Indian subcontinent) in 2 parts, creating thereby Pakistan and then again you ask for territory based on religious beliefs and want to divide the country once again.

  • Why your religious belief makes you believe that yours is the better and more valid religion for this continent, just because we let you rule for many hundred years, due to our potentially tolerant nature,

  • Is not the severe impoverishment and backwardness of the Muslim community primarily due to your own internal constraints?
  • Women being not allowed decent education (Talibanisation).

  • Girls and women being forced to wear ugly and unsportly dresses, making them feel negative about their physical being, which they then have to compensate by very bright dresses and ornaments.

  • Not allowing women writers to even survive (Taslima Nasreen).

  • Appraising goondaism by muslim netas (Owassi, Shahabuddin).

  • Not allowing family planning, neither for women nor men.

  • Treating women as weak beings, who need to be protected and sustained by men.

  • Allowing men more wives, also with the argument, that they need to be protected and sustained..

  • Forcing male children work for wages as soon as they are a bit grown (in rural areas).

  • Brain-washing very young children's minds through one-sided spiritual teachings.

  • Not allowing music, dance and entertainment.

  • Having the arrogance of believing that your prophet Mohammed's words are the ultimate Truth! No space for open discussions! Etc.

  • Better would be, if:
  • You could openly come out and oppose your jihadi Muslim's activities.

  • You could stop taking money from Saudi Arabia to build mosques, Madrassas, function halls, orphanages… all just for your own community members. Why not for all deserving human beings?

  • You could stop dress code for your women. Are they any more beautiful or sexier than the other women? And are the other women less moral just because thy wear other dresses (saris, jeans etc.)

  • You could stop misusing the tolerant nature of Hindus/ Christians/ Buddhists/ Sikhs and learn to live peacefully with them in this part of the world or else go to your own creation Pakistan or any other Islamic state! Enough is enough!

"The only way that Muslims can remain true to the moral message of their religion and at the same time discharge their covenant with God is through introspective self-criticism and reform"
(Abu El Fadel, "the great theft")

"The whole tunnelled mindset of a section of the Muslims must be examined not only in the context of the attack on Taslima Nasreen but in a much larger context of attacks on Salman Rushdie and the British socio-political system for giving him knighthood a few months back. The problem of Islam is not just MIM or a group of fundamentalists. Its problem is its intellectual failure to negotiate between faith, reason and the scientific criticism."
Kancha Ilaiah in Deccan Chronical of 22/23 August 2007:
*Asha Kachru, works as a development activist and on gender advocacy in agriculture issues. For past 16 years, she is living in a village in Medak district of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, promoting Organic Agriculture and women's empowerment.

Prior to that she lived in Germany for 22 yeras and was a Scientific Officer in the German Informatics Center GMD at Bonn. She may have been the first third world woman to have been a member of a European City Council with the Greens in Bonn city in Gernany.

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U are judging islam by the virtue of some one whose name sounds muslim. judge islam by understanding it. Regarding the kashmir issue u pandits have always been traitors. The freedom struggle is not abt religion it is abt the freedom, equal rights and justice. I have learned a lot of so-called hindu muslim bhai chara in kashmir. u pandits used muslims for slavery. There were no provisions for muslims in higher govt posts. They were always supressed by the economic barriers created by u.
Added By shan anjum
Leaving behind ur bhai chara, when kashmiri pandits raised voice when lakhs of muslims were murdered in fake RA-indian encounters. when our sisters were raped in kunanposhpora for which they still dream of justice,
Added By shan anjum
where was ur bhai chara to say a single word in favor if them. when innocent sikhs and 26 kashmiris were murdered in chatisingh massacre and pathribal by indian terrorists A.K.A indian army and when 56 pple were murdered in bhijbehara massacre and when 400 homes were burn down in sopore and when our sisters were raped and murdered in shopian and mass graves in kupwara were was ur bhai chara.
Added By shan anjum
Do u ever have raised voice for justice. u and ur terrorist india always used kashmiri muslims as slaves. But this will not go far. Insha Allaha we will be free independent nation, Republic of jammu and Kashmir soon.
Added By shan anjum
Do u ever have raised voice for justice. u and ur terrorist india always used kashmiri muslims as slaves. But this will not go far. Insha Allaha we will be free independent nation, Republic of jammu and Kashmir soon.
Added By shan anjum