An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Peace loving and violence: a dialogue of Kashmiris

“Stop talking of Kashmir, if you do not know what happens there!” burst out Khurshid. He had been listening to the self gloating talk of four guys who had been praising how the Indian Government was handling the situation. He had seen how his younger brother’s bullet ridden body had one day been brought home. He was just 4. The stony eyes on a still glowing face with bullet ridden stomach was hard to digest. Khurshid was angry. But he had never wanted to be another killer. His family had seen a lot. His Uncle would often be away from home, some said he was in Pakistan. He would often come and bring some friends they had never known. Surely not Kashmiris, but who were very disciplined in the daily prayers and strict on religious practice. Then one day his Uncle never returned. His Aunt never recovered from that setback. Ever since, she was with their family bed ridden. His father had brought his cousin and his own kids up.

Ajay was the angry one. “Oye.. are you a Jehadi?”

No. DO I have to be? I am one of those who left the valley because I could not take the violence and did not want to be violent. There was little choice.

“But its you guys who do the violence anyways!” Neeraj said bluntly.

Who is this “you” here? A car in your colony ran over a kid last evening… you heard about that didn’t you? Can I say that “you guys” run over kids? Why do I have to take the curse of masses?

The four were stunned! His argument was strong and to the point.

Pankaj then requested “Then why does violence happen in Kashmir. Since you suggest that we do not know, you ought to explain to us why you think it happens?”

Isnt it obvious? Over the years, the Government of India, has been putting up puppet rulers who have never looked at the good of the people. When the people asked for their rights we got violent Army and then came the reaction and violence escalated. We are asking for rights… of basic human beings. That we need to be ruled by ourselves and live with our consent. Youth with no future can take a violent direction. And that is what has happened in our land of peace! I am angry, but do not desire violence. Bahut takat chahiye yeh sab bardasht karne ke liye!

Rajiv was smoking. It was an interesting conversation. He looked back. “Bardasht is a very interesting word. Can you use that with an angry mind?”

“What do you mean? When pain occurs, the mind will react. To not take a wrong action despite provocation is Bardasht!”

“But anger shows that you have not forgiven your tormentor. So, you may not take action, but the anger does not display the calmness and serenity of one who has bardasht. If you had forgiven or even more empathized with those whom you thought wronged you, then you could say you are not violent!”

“That is easy to say. If you lived in Kashmir you would know!”

So many in Ladakh and Leh have the same rulers. They don’t even get a semblance of money that Kashmir gets, but they never had any issues. Why did the youth in Kashmir have to fight?”

Our religious rights were trampled with! We were targeted because we were Muslims in a Hindu India.

So what! Many who live in many countries cannot practice their religion openly. They do so at home. God is in your heart.

The atmosphere had grown tense. Night was falling and they dispersed. They all went home and the discussion was something that kept them thinking in their dream. A discussion that had taken a different turn.. had their minds shifting from one side to another.

=============================

Have you ever been to a restaurant where that sole glass of water was the tastiest thing you had there? Well, the college cafetaria was one such. “Sorry for raising my voice, yaar”. Rajiv smiled “No problem.. Vaaray Chuvsa?”.

Oh, are you Kashmiri as well? Khurshid said surprised

Yeah.

So you understand what I was saying about what we went through.

I do, Khurshid, but I doubt you understood what we went through? You CHOSE to leave your home. I did not. Some one like your Uncle made sure we left ours. You can go home. I cant.

Khurshid was speechless.

If between you and me anyone should have felt angry and taken to violence, I guess me and my siblings would have the greatest reason to do so. Khurshid peace-loving is not that you did not resort to violence when you were not given your rights.. but when you did not resort to violence even when EVERY HUMAN right you had was trampled by your VERY OWN! My father was killed by our own neighbor!

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14 Comments
  1. Rahul Pandita says

    Dear Khurshid

    May God be with you! Two days ago, on the World Refugee Day, a handful of Kashmiri “refugees” came together to remember those killed in the Wandhama massacre.

    As I watched a short film, put together by activists, those images came back to me; that noise filled my senses: the noise of blaring loudspeakers, from every nook and corner of Kashmir, asking us, the miniscule Hindu population, to flee from Kashmir but leave behind our wives, sisters and daughters.

    I also remembered those hot, sleepless nights in Jammu, right after we were forced to leave our home, our land, and migrate to a virtual desert. I remember that back ache which was caused by sleeping on newspaper sheets since we had left the one-dozen quilts sewn painstakingly by my grandmother for our comfort. I also remember bathing at public taps and carrying pitchers of water from that tap to our one-room dwelling which turned into a furnace every summer. I also remember the tears shed by my mother.

    You are free citizens; you can travel to the rest of India at your will- selling shawls, getting education at Jawaharlal Nehru University, travelling for your pilgrimage to Haj. And then, the entire intelligentsia is with you; Arundhati Roy is with you, Ramachandra Guha is with you, Pankaj Mishra is with you. Who is with us? No one, except our own will to live and excel in life. And can we go to Amarnath Yatra? Well, we can, but we might be killed by a handgrenade which your uncle or his friends or your own friends will toss at us.

    Who lives in my 22-room house now? One of your uncles, perhaps. As for me, I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, surrounded by my books and fountain pens.

    I have ink on my hands and you have gun powder. Still, in all probability – and I can prove it – I will apply for a fellowship on the human rights violations of my community, and you apply for studying the “unmarked graves” at Uri. I will get a “sorry to inform you” letter while you would be gladly offered money, support and other back up.

    But then, we live in India. It is a comedy of errors for you. For me, it is a Greek tragedy.

  2. Rahul Pandita says

    Dear Khurshid

    May God be with you! Two days ago, on the World Refugee Day, a handful of Kashmiri “refugees” came together to remember those killed in the Wandhama massacre.

    As I watched a short film, put together by activists, those images came back to me; that noise filled my senses: the noise of blaring loudspeakers, from every nook and corner of Kashmir, asking us, the miniscule Hindu population, to flee from Kashmir but leave behind our wives, sisters and daughters.

    I also remembered those hot, sleepless nights in Jammu, right after we were forced to leave our home, our land, and migrate to a virtual desert. I remember that back ache which was caused by sleeping on newspaper sheets since we had left the one-dozen quilts sewn painstakingly by my grandmother for our comfort. I also remember bathing at public taps and carrying pitchers of water from that tap to our one-room dwelling which turned into a furnace every summer. I also remember the tears shed by my mother.

    You are free citizens; you can travel to the rest of India at your will- selling shawls, getting education at Jawaharlal Nehru University, travelling for your pilgrimage to Haj. And then, the entire intelligentsia is with you; Arundhati Roy is with you, Ramachandra Guha is with you, Pankaj Mishra is with you. Who is with us? No one, except our own will to live and excel in life. And can we go to Amarnath Yatra? Well, we can, but we might be killed by a handgrenade which your uncle or his friends or your own friends will toss at us.

    Who lives in my 22-room house now? One of your uncles, perhaps. As for me, I live in a 2-bedroom apartment, surrounded by my books and fountain pens.

    I have ink on my hands and you have gun powder. Still, in all probability – and I can prove it – I will apply for a fellowship on the human rights violations of my community, and you apply for studying the “unmarked graves” at Uri. I will get a “sorry to inform you” letter while you would be gladly offered money, support and other back up.

    But then, we live in India. It is a comedy of errors for you. For me, it is a Greek tragedy.

  3. Dushyant Mishra says

    I have had many Kashmiri friends and have heard many stories (first hand accounts)from them. The story and comment have been very thoughtfully worded. I pray that someday i am able to take my two little daughters to a Kashmiri Hindu friend’s place about which Mughal Emperor Jehangir famously said – “Gar firdous baroe zameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast”

  4. Desh says

    Dushyant – thanks! Rahul is a very good writer and I had expected his comments to be very powerful. I found them very moving as well.

  5. Dushyant Mishra says

    I have had many Kashmiri friends and have heard many stories (first hand accounts)from them. The story and comment have been very thoughtfully worded. I pray that someday i am able to take my two little daughters to a Kashmiri Hindu friend’s place about which Mughal Emperor Jehangir famously said – “Gar firdous baroe zameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast, hameen ast”

  6. Desh says

    Dushyant – thanks! Rahul is a very good writer and I had expected his comments to be very powerful. I found them very moving as well.

  7. Rubab says

    I don’t know anything, neither like a Hindu Kashmiri nor like a Muslim Kashmiri.. I only know is what is being done in Kashmir is political vested interests.. India Pakistan fight like dogs, but their people do love each other.. and love to visit each other country.. No problem is so big that could take such a long time to be resolved..

  8. Desh says

    I agree Rubab… I think this one I wrote from the standpoint of how the issue is handled in India itself. Our Government and how the entire saga was handled in the 1980s and later has left lot of wounds.. in both the communities within the Indian side of Kashmir. Most of the time what comes out is the issues of the Muslims – but the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits does not get any press at all. I just wanted to bring that out.

  9. Rubab says

    I don’t know anything, neither like a Hindu Kashmiri nor like a Muslim Kashmiri.. I only know is what is being done in Kashmir is political vested interests.. India Pakistan fight like dogs, but their people do love each other.. and love to visit each other country.. No problem is so big that could take such a long time to be resolved..

  10. Desh says

    I agree Rubab… I think this one I wrote from the standpoint of how the issue is handled in India itself. Our Government and how the entire saga was handled in the 1980s and later has left lot of wounds.. in both the communities within the Indian side of Kashmir. Most of the time what comes out is the issues of the Muslims – but the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits does not get any press at all. I just wanted to bring that out.

  11. Rashneek Kher says

    It is interesting the way the conversation took place.I am one of those refugees Rahul has referred to.My experiences are no different from Rahul.
    Everyday when I think of people like Bitta Karate,Yasin Malik and Javed Mir(for those who dont know they have killed 100 odd Kashmiri Pandits between themselves) as free men my belief in an independent,SECULAR and liberal India sinks to the unknown depths.I am terrified in my dreams when I go back to my village Kanipora.I see the gutted house and spirits of my forefathers running for space.The lone creamation ground is occupied and rice grows where my grandfather was burnt.

  12. Desh says

    What can I say Rashneek! It is a sad commentary on the nonsensical secular attitudes in India that blood of only some make people cry.

    Religious fundamentalism – the magnitude of which we all saw in 1980s and 1990s in Kashmir when the Pakistan backed Islamic militants and religiously blinded locals unleashed violence and mayhem on Pandits can never give peace or prosperity to the tormentors. People who engage in such blind hatred very seldom realize its a zero sum game.

    But quite obviously that is of little help to the hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris who became homeless.

    Btw, I lost a friend photographer – Pradeep Bhatia of HT – in Srinagar around 5-6 years back. Great guy and very tragic end.

    thanks for your comments..

  13. Rashneek Kher says

    It is interesting the way the conversation took place.I am one of those refugees Rahul has referred to.My experiences are no different from Rahul.
    Everyday when I think of people like Bitta Karate,Yasin Malik and Javed Mir(for those who dont know they have killed 100 odd Kashmiri Pandits between themselves) as free men my belief in an independent,SECULAR and liberal India sinks to the unknown depths.I am terrified in my dreams when I go back to my village Kanipora.I see the gutted house and spirits of my forefathers running for space.The lone creamation ground is occupied and rice grows where my grandfather was burnt.

  14. Desh says

    What can I say Rashneek! It is a sad commentary on the nonsensical secular attitudes in India that blood of only some make people cry.

    Religious fundamentalism – the magnitude of which we all saw in 1980s and 1990s in Kashmir when the Pakistan backed Islamic militants and religiously blinded locals unleashed violence and mayhem on Pandits can never give peace or prosperity to the tormentors. People who engage in such blind hatred very seldom realize its a zero sum game.

    But quite obviously that is of little help to the hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris who became homeless.

    Btw, I lost a friend photographer – Pradeep Bhatia of HT – in Srinagar around 5-6 years back. Great guy and very tragic end.

    thanks for your comments..

Comments are closed.

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