Who is a Kashmiri?
Who is a Kashmiri?
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:
(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.
|Copyrights © 2007
. Any content, including but not limited to text, software, music, sound, photographs, video, graphics or other material contained may not be modified, copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, or distributed in any form or context without written permission.
Terms & Conditions.
The views expressed are solely the author's and not necessarily the views of Shehjar or its owners. Content and posts from such authors are provided "AS IS", with no warranties, and confer no rights. The material and information provided iare for general information only and should not, in any respect, be relied on as professional advice. Neither Shehjar.kashmirgroup.com nor kashmirgroup.com represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other information displayed, uploaded, or distributed through the Service by any user, information provider or any other person or entity. You acknowledge that any reliance upon any such opinion, advice, statement, memorandum, or information shall be at your sole risk.