Trivializing the Kashmir story

We must discourage writing that trivializes Kashmir, its people, or their sufferings

BOOKS AND WRITERS

ANEES AHMAD

FIRST of all I must admit that I am very choosy and selective in reading because there is a lot of trash around which one would better avoid to do some creative job in life. Or creative thinking, at least.
What I am writing here is not actually any review. Nor is it a response to the review of Valley of Words by Prof M Aslam published earlier in this paper. It may be read as an addendum to the review by Prof M Aslam. While going through the review I got this impression that the Valley of Words must be ‘a poem of mythical proportions’ written for self-promotion, rather than any substantial work of historical importance, or any importance for that matter. I am told that the so-called book has not been written by any trained historian but by some government employee.  In absence of any standard training in historiography and strong academic credentials, what else can one expect from the book but being a self-composed poetry erected on the fragile structure of, what I could gather from the review of Prof Aslam, myths and fables.
One of the tragedies of Kashmir and the dispute attached to it is that it is being mostly written on more for self-promotion than its ‘sincere’ resolution or at least the simulation of resolution. And, it’s mostly being written on by retired or ‘working’ government employees, as in this case too, than by academicians. With amusing titles and contents doing rounds around Kashmir, sound academicians must be finding it loathing, if I may not sound so rhetorical, to ‘fish in troubled waters’. The direct outcome is that the dispute has become as intractable as Palestine or in some ways more complex.
I remember having read somewhere an ‘expert’ opinion for the resolution of the Palestinian issue – one being realistic and the other idealistic. Idealistic resolution would be that all the parties concerned sit together and arrive at a mutually agreed upon solution. The practical solution is that God Himself descends down from the above for His divine intervention and makes the contestants agree to a solution. I think the formula is equally applicable in Kashmir situation, if not more. And the reason is the trash which is being written on Kashmir.
Kashmir is an ancient land and so is the whole earth which this forms an inalienable part of. Yes, the fables and myths about this land are unique to this place and are quite reflective of the temperament of the people who inhabit this land. Noah’s Deluge and his Arc too form a part of the Grand Memory of human beings in every part of the earth. That’s why such myths (myths in their academic sense and not in their literal sense) find their echoes across cultures. They are not unique to Kashmir. But the way employees in Kashmir fiddle with serious academic issues and turn them into amusing stuff (as in the case of Valley of Words) is quite unique to Kashmir. In contemporary times, even myths and rumours as a part of oral history have become important. But in our part of the earth they can never be important given the fact that novices dabble with them.
I keep on telling my friends that Kashmir is scantily written on by local writers. But I also keep on telling my friends that it’s far better not to write at all if writing trivializes Kashmir, its people or their sufferings. I think writing stuff like Valley of Words should be discouraged in order to save ourselves, and our stories, from getting trivialized.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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