I read Haseeb Drabu's Reply to a friend with all care. Since it was an `open reply' to an `open letter', so reading it openly didn't mean sneaking through the close doors where two friends share their secrets. With `Sid' who must have liked the letter, I liked it too. Itechoed a typical Dharam-Veer dosti of that good old Bollywood flick. I wish them luck. Sid I leave, but Haseeb I have something to share with.
Haseeb is a beautiful mind, but his beauty needs truth to make it a 'joy for ever'. The fire in him as an intellectual fades by the hunger in him as a politician. He has an amazing ability to intellectualise crude facts into sophisticated arguments and that is exactly what he has done here. His journey from being declared a `part of JKLF' to (as Sid puts) "the face and substance of the PDP's plunge into the den of India's fascist agenda-making", can't just be summed up somewhere between a `perception' and `propaganda'.
There is a lot that goes missing in between.Poetry is a poor substitute to fact. Words like Ishq, aql, shamsheer do decorate your piece but are utterly misplaced in the context of your argument. Good words hide our naked self, bad words bare us. Brute confession cleans us from within, euphemism makes the scene muddier. I don't mean sermonizing, or not even the least moralizing.
I mean realising. In his place I would capture my journey in a single, simple phrase. Fall from grace. Sugar-coating a fiscal deficit won't make the plainold bankruptcy any sweeter. Betrayal can be intellectualised as `situation-induced compulsion to settle for a worse bargain in anticipation of the better'. Likewise thorny things can't be covered up by flowery semantics. Rationalising is another way of justifying. If offered, I may do even worse, butthat can't change the fact about me. I won'tsummon Edward Said to defend myself as a `disturber of status quo'. I won't call myself as a `disturber' of the status quo I will apologise my people for failing them. That is simple. That is understandable. Don't tell us Edward Said, tell us Mufti Saeed.
I liked Haseeb's phrase, `sense of resistance'. But can we ask what sense of resistance youpromoted all these years – and where? Lofty ideals at last find meaning in the street. Liquor ban was explained in one way and the beef ban in the other. Both ways we were the losers. Where comes the `sense of resistance'. This `Kashmiri-first-Muslim-then' nationhood slogan sounds creative, is parochial.
What first what next is more a matter of convenience than conviction. Why then as a Kashmiri ultra-nationalist, the phenomenon of `Hinduisation' didn't bother you as much as did a perceived `Arabisation' of Kashmir. We may get Arabised by replacing our vernacular expressions with their Arabic equivalents,like fajr with subh, zuhur with peshen and so on), but what about our places, things, ideas, expressions getting saffronised. (For want of space I leave the point without cases and examples). If we protect our so called speciality as Kashmiris against an Arabisation onslaught, why let Hinduisation invade us.
I had a strong bias for you. With you there, I saw myself in the seat. And when you fell, I fell along. Things didn't turn the way we had hoped they will. I don't mean turning the system downside up, which is neither possible, nor desirable. My hopes – like my thoughts – were small. 'Harmonising ideology with informed knowledge' is too philosophical to be understood by your voters who were tossed to the bear you promised to save them from. Intellectuals refine it and then define it as a 'battle of perceptions', ordinary mortals call it abuse of trust. Coin – if you may – lofty words to explain your journey, I dumb it down to defeat.