Before repeating the Mulla's story of lost keys in this column, here is a brief description of an illustration I just came across. It's so telling. For any upright, gentle, and well meaning Indian – and let's not deny there are many such Indians – it must be shocking to core. A child, certainly from Kashmir, looks at some lines written on a wall. He stretches himself up on his toes, to make a correction on those lines. He strikes out one word at the end of this sentence, and replaces it with another. Here is the sentence that the kid finding on the wall:
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth
This kid strikes out word TRUTH, and then scribbles another in its place. Here is what the sentences finlly becomes:
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes INDIA
If I were an Indian, I would be immensely pained on this!
Capturing 70 years of India's engagement with Kashmir, there is no perfect description than this. Uncle Nehru has left a huge legacy of untruth for his children in India. What a great inheritance of loss for a country that is full of people like us, who want to live their lives happily without turning lives of others miserable. We in Kashmir know it well, but who is going to tell it to Indians that this is what your political leaders have made of your country in Kashmir. This is how a country with all its people and history stand mutilated in Kashmir. That is why Indians need to stand up against this leadership, and this politics, for the sake of themselves. Among many other things, Indians need freedom from lies that have been told in their name, freedom from oppression unleashed in their name, freedom from murders committed in their name. To a long list of freedoms that a Kanayya Kumar read out – sloganed out – at JNU, there is much more to add. Indians need freedom from lies fed to them by the state of India. So just one thing to those who come from India and want us talk to them on Kashmir: return back and do an honest talking with your own people. My problem in Kashmir stands solved the day Indian state and Indian political leadership hold honest talks with its own people.
Another All Parties Delegation comes to Kashmir, deceiving a billion people back in India. The core content of any process of resolution to Kashmir conflict is truth telling, and this is what Indian leadership is afraid of. It is pointless to come here, unless you cease the practice of manufacturing lies on Kashmir. The well wishers of people of this region are waiting the day when an All Party Delegation is formed, not boarded for Srinagar, but to visit cities and villages of India and talk to people about Kashmir. Talk about lies that have been fed to them, talk about truth that was never told to them. That would be the beginning of any honest process of resolution. That day no Geelani, no Mirwaiz, no Malik will have any problems in talking to you. In fact they would not require to talk, because everything on Kashmir is so obvious. But right now, you are only in the process of producing another consignment of lies. How is that going to help anyone in this region!
The keys to the resolution of Kashmir conflict are with Delhi, and Delhi alone can open the lock. It is India that has created this problem, complicated it over time, and raised mountains of violence on it. Everyone, excepts India, wants resolution to this problem. But none except India can solve it. Why search keys in Srinagar when you know they are in Delhi. All Parties Delegation would better leave and get the keys from Delhi. And for that they will have to talk amongst themselves. Before the misguided masses of India furiously stand up some day and demand an accounting of the lies that have been sold to them, it's better if the leadership of India prepares for a confession. Any leadership that does so will run down in history as the real benefactor of Indians.
Now the Mulla's story.
Mulla Nasruddin was once seen outside his house. He was keenly searching for something in his yard. Someone passed by and enquired that what was he looking for. On being replied that he was looking for his keys, the man joined him in this search. When the two couldn't find keys and were nearing exhaustion, the man asked Mulla: "Do you have any idea where exactly you dropped the keys?" Snap came the answer: "Inside my house." "Then why are you looking for them here?!", the man snapped back. Now listen to what Mulla had to say: "Because, there is more light here than in my house."
It is no funny joke, and Mulla doesn't want us to laugh at it. He teaches us a lesson. Getting inside the room would be taking responsibility for the act, and also braving the darkness. This is what the leadership of India will have to do someday. Brave the darkness they have created in India for all these seven decades, and who knows how many more years will they keep this National Project of Darkness running. To avoid that unease they are opting for easier ways; sending All Parties Delegations, doing Round Tables, and preparing Reports. Doing all this to tell Indians, and to the rest of the world, that we are serious in finding a solution, and it's the other side that is running away. Make in India Lies.