This bride knows her rights
Kashmir is no bride whose silence could always be taken as consent
The Kashmir Valley is booming with tourists. Perhaps all the previous records regarding the number of tourists visiting Kashmir may break and the new ones would be set. With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly harder to recognize locals amongst the exciting crowds at famous tourist destinations in Kashmir. Yusmarg, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Pahalgam, Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Aharbal, and various other tourist resorts are almost full. ‘No Vacancy’, ‘Occupied’ and ‘Houseful’ are the catchphrases. Besides this, enthusiastic fans were seen cheering for the local soccer team in Srinagar at Bakshi stadium the other day. Members of the Jammu and Kashmir’s football team displayed their football skills against a visiting club from Kolkata. So, not only is Kashmir ‘silently moving on’, it is seemingly ‘happier’ too!
It is another matter, ironically, that Urdu – the language of elegance, grace and beauty – was being mercilessly slaughtered by the mediocre Kashmiri commentators at Bakshi Stadium for more than two-and-a-half-hours. Isn’t Urdu our official language? Anyway, this stadium built in the memory of the former Prime Minister [yes, yes, the Prime Minister!] of the Jammu and Kashmir State, is the same location where the state authorities usually struggle and fail to even fill the empty stands to their half or even quarter on the occasion of India’s Independence and Republic Days (15th August and 26th January respectively). Interesting.
To India’s advantage, the American President Barack Obama has publicly declared that his country was not interested in interfering into issues of bilateral nature between India and Pakistan. So, clearly, Advantage India! We understand that America is only being ‘neutral’ and ‘impartial’. Its message is loud and clear: "We bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We even bombarded Vietnam. We invaded Iraq and imposed a solution of our liking. We occupied and devastated Afghanistan, killed civilians there, including children and women, to see that country as we wanted it to be like. We carry out drone attacks in Yemen and elsewhere. But we do not interfere in the internal matters. Better, India and Pakistan resolved their dispute over Kashmir bilaterally." America is NEUTRAL!
Kashmir’s silence is being interpreted as a meek surrender. ‘Moving on’ is being interpreted as accepting the existing state of affairs. Maturity displayed despite several provocations is being analysed as fatigue. All those paid and unpaid pseudo-analysts and armchair experts who interpret (read misinterpret) Kashmir's silence as a meek "surrender before the might" or "fatigued acceptance of the status quo" should at least look for the meaning of the idiom: 'lull before the storm'.
Kashmir is no bride whose silence could be interpreted as 'YES' to the ‘forced marriage’. This bride is aware of her RIGHTS!
Two wise men and a soft-spoken lady from India have already suggested that Kashmiri journalists should be trained to become “agents of peace”. They should be trained to close their eyes and ears while witnessing injustices, oppression and military occupation and instead cajoled to compile lyrics of pragmatism.
Should journalists and writers become “agents of peace”? Should they be playing a role in building the “constituency of peace” in a conflict-torn place like Kashmir? Is it the need of the hour to install “peace chips” in the minds of a journalist, writer and columnist? Are all the stories of trauma and tales of torture “manufactured” on the soil of Kashmir to prolong the ongoing conflict and to resist all the attempts being made by the “peace lovers” to restore “order”? Well, all such questions are being hurled at those writers, who have consciously chosen to side with the oppressed lot and who continue to resist oppression through the power of their pen.
Hugely revered anti-apartheid South African leader Desmond Tutu has said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality” Mr. Tutu has also said that he is not interested in “picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself his master”. “I want the full menu of rights”. Kashmir too is interested in the complete menu of rights!
I recall covering two international conferences, in Bonn, some three-four years back on the theme: “Role of Media in Peace-Building and Conflict Prevention”. Eminent speakers at the said conferences included Stephen King, Jan Hoek, Shirin Ebadi, Hamid Mir, Talat Hussain besides others. This subject was meticulously deliberated upon. Stephen King was of the opinion that world media channels should encourage meaningful dialogue between the conflicting parties. “International media should put pressure on governments to resolve conflicts and try to be fair, accurate and objective while covering the stories from areas of conflict,” he articulated. Other speakers openly ridiculed the idea of media being a “peace preacher”. “Media’s job is not to preach peace”, they asserted. Let’s leave the job of preaching to priests, clerics and preachers. As journalists, let’s report facts, write stories of pain and torture, and analyse them.
In absence of a dignified resolution to the bloody dispute like Kashmir in accordance with the aspirations and wishes of the majority, the word “peace” smells bad; it stinks. This word is largely being seen in Kashmir as if introducing synonym of words like “suppression” “oppression”, and “status quo”. Of course, people in Kashmir are peace loving, but first and foremost they are fighting for their rights, justice and liberty and their birth right; the right to self-determination.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 2 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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