It is called Paradise on Earth. It is dotted with sandbags, swarming with men in uniform and military check posts. Men, women, and children in this paradise sport a somber look as they go about their lives, but stripped of its very spirit. What went wrong!
Social and Moral Responsibilities of a Culture
His elderly mother by his side, O.P. Kichloo walked up to their former house for the first time since they fled Kashmir in 1990. The house, well-preserved, “struck my heart because it was built by my father,” says Mr. Kichloo. “Tears rolled down from my eyes.” A Muslim woman emerged. She learned who they were, and soon the three Kashmiris were chatting on the lawn over a cup of tea. Fifteen minutes later, they snapped photos and said their goodbyes, and the Kichloos got on with the remainder of their vacation.
While the trips are rekindling old friendships and recalling shared customs, distrust still runs deep as key questions of Kashmir’s past, and future remain disputed.”Things are much better and people are very receptive this time, and people want us eagerly back in this place,” Kichloo said in Kashmir in the presence of a Muslim. However, the continuing way Kashmir was kept hijacked by Pakistan sponsored terrorism as well as the process of ethnic and cultural annihilation of Kashmiriyat, has shattered three generations of this piece of Paradise on Earth.
In 1990, Pandits were hounded out of Kashmir, coerced, slaughtered many being converted, out of helplessness. Out of about four lakh Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmir in 1990, hardly a couple of thousands are still there today, making it analogous to ethnic cleansing. It also reflects an apparent acute collapse and the socio-cultural demise of Kashmiri Muslims, as a civilizing denomination.
Ten percent of society is expected to be polarized on other ends of the Bell’s curve. In this case, it appeared, the balance was driven obtusely. No. There are numerous accounts of Pandits being shielded and saved by their “Kashmiri Muslim brothers”. The communal twist was perpetuated that had been owned by many, some for political ambitions or money coming from across or simple being consumed by the misplaced hatred. Various accounts exist of Kashmiri Muslims, “regretting” the departure of the Pandits however were sparse, sporadic and too slow to react to gain momentum of a movement.” While it came, it was too late, and people had already been driven out. Some still rue “they should have come forward for the minority”. And some did. S Vikash Bhat, a 33-year-old assistant professor of Microbiology at the Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora recounts “his father’s Muslim friends refused to let him leave and that is how they are still staying in the valley”. It is the social and moral duty of the majority to look after the minority and include them. If you are in a minority you face a psychological threat, vulnerability.”
Context is very similar to Nazi Wave. Despite being rejected by a majority, it took shape in the manner the 10% minority wanted it to be, a monstrous shape that continues to haunt the people of the region. It was long being denied as existing, by the erstwhile East and West Germany, as is the denial in case of Kashmiri Pandit’s ethinic cleansing. This surrender of Kashmiriyat and spirit of society has it very own drastic implications which were to continue to haunt Kashmiris for the next three decades and beyond.
Rewriting the Chapter Again?
Since reunification in 1990, much more has been done by Germany to remember the genocide against Jews. The majority of the memorials in Berlin have only emerged over the last 25 years and at the behest of German people, not demanded but out of own character and moral standpoint of Germans. On the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, January 27th, 1995, many in Germany decided to dedicate the day to remembering the Holocaust. The following year, the day was sanctioned as an official national day of remembrance by the Government of Germany, much before the same was thought of by the UN. Jews are supported to come back to settle in Germany, as an important indication of a functional society having Character.
As a culture, they stand answerable to their past. They have taken steps to realize, accept, make peace with the happenings and have gone forward with concrete steps to be inclusive of the mistakes. Today we all know Germany is the economic might of Europe and is an inclusive society. Much of the trust and acceptance of German people lie in this.
Genocides rape pillage has not been new to India in the last 1000 years. And historically it had little to do with religion. Nadir shah and Rohilla armies had committed worse atrocities to the Mughal Kingdom in the eighteenth century, all being of the same faith. That being the times which have little relevance in India now, however Kashmiri Pandit’s ethnic cleansing is a matter of current context as well as this current generation maybe not to contest it, but to make amends. The context brainwashed into the minds of misled Kashmiri youth of the 1990s has been a ruse by Pakistan and dark politics being effected against India at that time.
Compared to societies that did not make peace with their historical errors of this magnitude, they are still consumed by their own internal strife and a disaster. We have examples of Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan and other African societies which are ruined. Turkey being one of them still has ill faith of the European Union as well as of the world, in any serious sense. Such countries are constantly in civil strife, riled with coups and authoritarian governance. The societal structure in these countries is way laggard and fractured, in having a functioning shape. Countries like Germany and Balkan Countries have made peace and amends, and there they are where they are. As the modern world has taught us, History cannot be rewritten but can be corrected.
Coming of Age: Kashmiriyat
One way of Kashmiriyat to proceed is to convert to an Islamic fundamentalist theology, the way Pakistan wants it to be. A section of the Kashmiri Muslim population is being brainwashed to pursue it, just as a mode to exaggerate a bid to achieve Independence/Accede to Pakistan. For argument’s sake let’s assume once that is achieved, can the Sufi-based Kashmiriyat be revived? Does it ensue like that? History of Islamic world has witnessed that states created in such lines, often transcend to acute civil strife. That too if Kashmir doesn’t get gobbled up by China and its sweatshop model/ Uighur Model or demographically cleansed by Pakistan, much like Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Balochistan.
Another manner is to rediscover the Sufi-structure of Kashmiriyat ingoing with the centuries-old societal setup of unity and prosperity. Removal of Article 370 and 35 is a blessing, which shall pave the way to development. The propaganda of people buying off the lands is misplaced, in fact, it is actually placating the present-day grim reality of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir onto a falsely created Indian framework. There exists no reality wherein Goa or Kerala have been robbed of their lands by others. Its a laughable hoax perpetuated by illiterate fear-mongering mullah-Hurriyat-ISI combine who have no understanding of neither economics nor statesmanship. If Kashmiriyat has to make sense in today’s modern India, every Kashmiri has to stake a claim to it, come forward to hold its hand.
Kashmiri Pandits need to be reached out by civil conversation originating from Kashmiri Society. A Sufi revolution is the need of the hour, by intellectuals and educated, by the younger generation. It is existing, however, simmering just below the surface of the political mess that Kashmir has been brought to by Mullah-Hurriyat-ISI combine. Leaders have to arise for Kashmiriyat, who are willing to ascend above religious and regionally divisive Pakistan sponsored narrative. Once the call is taken for Greater Kashmiriyat, there are no heights that people of Kashmir cannot achieve. The first step will be to create the environment for the Kashmiri Pandits to come back to their homeland. Not only will they get back the quintessential component of their identity and existence, they recreate their lost identity and vehemence. They can be the epicenter of the Harmony Revolution that the Islamic world desperately needs. This development and prosperity based step shall be the role model for many struggling cultures. It will be an essential part of the international discourse that India has been throughout and for many decades.
18 Nov 19/Monday Written by Fayaz