- By: Hashim Suffhi
It was around 11 at night when the door of my room was unexpectedly knocked and I got up to open the door and saw my fellow hostel mates outside. One among them claimed to be a ‘Kashmiri Pandit’ asked me about my whereabouts, to which I responded politely and positively. Later a fellow from the same, insensibly, bashed the door with no reason proclaiming ‘you Kashmiri terrorists want to mess with us and all that’. To my surprise, I was completely unaware about the terrorism I had shown to them or any other in our hostel. After reminiscing about my past days in the hostel, I learn that the story had it days before.
From the past month and more, the Indian media channels continue to buzz with Kashmir and Pakistan related debates and the television in my room, too, buzzes with mostly Arnob Goswami’s debate where every ultra-nationalist panelist intends to call us (Kashmiris) terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and others have liberal or pro Kashmiri oratory. The volume of television was, however, normal but Arnob Goswami’s high pitched voice made it to the rooms nearby which resulted in their supposition that some ‘terrorists’, too, belong here? Pertinently, a few days before, I went outside for calling my family in Kashmir and in the meantime I heard “ Tum kitne afzal paida karoge hum ghar ghar afzal marenge ( how many Afzal would you produce, we will kill each of them)“ and it was from the same self claimed Pandit guy with perhaps an intention to provoke me. But, I was least concerned about the slogan made at me but most concerned about the hate that is being infiltrated through media, politicians within or across the border, self styled activists, so called sympathizers, jingoists, hate mongers etc. It has not only has changed the scenario of peace in the region but it has also changed the hope for it. The innocent minds are being filled with hatred and abhorrence for some vested interests and so called nationalism. The freedom -for which Indians fought tooth and nail and sacrificed everything to get it from British Raj, was the freedom from hate, inequality, prejudice jingoism and demagoguery and not the which India is in lead nowadays. The political rivalry and the provocative statements from the politicians of India and Pakistan have leaded us to the state of isolation. Meanwhile, I had some buddy-buddy conversations later on the political and apolitical things with the guy (who hardly looks like a Kashmiri Pandit).
The detestation has driven the Politicians of both sides to pass on the irrelevant and inapplicable statements on each other and Kashmir has become the laboratory to experience these deadly anti-peace tactics. From Rajnat Singh’s bad pronunciation of word ‘Baluchistan’ and Kashmir to the ‘advertisement’ of fog deodorant (which signifies the supremacy of Indian soldier on calling ‘Hindustan me toh Fog chalraha hai’ over the dog and supposedly the Pakistani soldier on the other side), India has always been trying to flaunt its supercilious disposition over Pakistan. And so is followed by Pakistan, too. The rhetoric of ‘Kashmir banega Pakistan – (Kashmir will become Pakistan) ’ and ‘ Kashmir hamara atoot Ang hai ( Kashmir is our integral part)’ or ‘Muzaffarabad me tiranaga lehrayenge ( we will unfurl the tricolor in Muzafarabad)’ has all the same entangled us (Kashmiris) with no hope of peace and love. The unrelenting waves of hate speeches from both sides need to be stopped; it has imperiled the population of more than 13 million people of Jammu and Kashmir. The same land is all the same entangled in the political subterfuges and skirmishes between India and Pakistan. And the hate arousing by every passing day has further added fuel to its miseries. By every passing day we see the blood of innocent civilians splitting on the land. It has to be halted by all means. Kashmir cannot be held hostage to a India-Pak face-off. It is discontentedly ignored and caught between ‘a rock and a hard place’.
The campaigns like ‘Aman ki Asha’ are needed much more than the hate instigated debates on national media channels. Unfortunately, this campaign ( Aman ki Asha) has remained confined to guitars and Tablas which ,incontestably, aimed for mutual peace and development of the diplomatic and cultural relations between the two nations in South Asia. It, unluckily, received no warm response from India and Pakistan except the beautiful voice of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The light of love for each other is lost in the dark cloud of hatred and animosity. Something is looked-for that could die away the evoking hate to make the hopeless hopeful. I say the gingerliness, foresightedness and sincerity can only do wonders for both countries. And hopefully in this, we (Kashmiris) would get free from the besmirched quagmire.
Author is Student of MBA at Administrative Management College Bangaluru, India.