AS A KASHMIRI, WHY I DIDN’T VOTE?

Right to vote, a sweet illusion or I may say a virtual perception of fantasy, I always craved for. But the destination I am bound with has coagulated my treasure, and the destiny calls me, that I shouldn’t vote. They say, democracy is a battle of ideas, but I contest! Because,in this part of the word, democracy is the immune carpet, and an exercising machine of tyranny, and we call it the most beautiful garrison, the Kashmir, where it’s own people are enslaved and the foreigners exploit it’s charm.Institutions and school of thoughts left no stone unturned to make the idea of voting look more divine and dignified. We were told to believe that this right will place us at par.

Perfectly, two years back, I was on vacations, back to my native village ‘GORIPORA BOMAI’ in Sopore town of Kashmir, as I left the mosque after finishing my magrib prayes, I was on the way back to home, I heard some low pitched voice piercing my ears, it took me little longer to recognise that someone was calling me from behind, as I turned to find the same, I found the person, a teacher of concerned govt. School in my locality, as he came nearby, he was muffled, he talked to me in an aggressive way. What you think of yourself?, . What I did, I replied in a much softer tone. Why don’t you submit your photos, I have been asking you for so long, and you don’t give an ear to this, he said. Don’t you want to register for voter ID? What’s the need to register for the same, when I am convinced that I am never going to exercise my franchise. Its not just for voting purpose, he replied to my engrained understanding of not holding a voter Id. At the end I agreed to submit the photo copies for registration of voter id.

At such a tender age, with meagre knowledge hovering my mind, I was adamant on my self constructed vision of not exercising my vote. In previous elections, both Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha , I wasn’t eligible for the same. In the times of elections now, as I am going to be a first time voter , where India will be choosing its next central government, and Unionists in Kashmir valley drifting towards the tone of separatism—as a Kashmiri there lies several questions: Should I vote? If yes, then for whom?

Cartography might lie, but topography and cultural geography does not. Kashmir is not India. Kashmir is not Pakistan. Kashmir is not China. Kashmir is the boundary zone of India-China-Pakistan. But it is distinctively Kashmir. And its people – whatever their religion or national identity – are Kashmiris. If I protest, I am being heralded with bullets, and these bullets are destined to surrender me, to eventually keep me caged in a country, which is not my home land. Now, if I choose ballot, again I am expected to co_opt a big country, which is not my home land.

“If I vote, I believe, I am stamping the document of my own oppression. If I vote, I believe that I am legitimising the densed armed presence of Indian security forces and their actions, as prevalent on my home land. If I vote, I believe that I am ratifying the accession of Kashmir with Indian Union, which I haven’t accepted. If I vote, I believe I am betraying and decieting my own land. If I vote, I believe that I am antagonising the 70 years of struggle for right to self determination. If I vote, I believe that I will be undermining the sacred cause of those people, who lost their lives to this struggle. Finally, if I vote, I believe that I am a prisoner of my own conscience, who hasn’t any idea of homeland, I reside in, having witnessed the century of tyranny, oppression, miseries, in the name of pseudo-secularism and virtual democracy”.

The elections in Kashmir are only meant to suppress our dreams, that lie within the pillow, outraged with injustice. The unresolved mystery, the paradise on earth is bound with reaching to its climax executing more than 10 million hearts searching to be in peace. The history is testimony to the fact that elections in Kashmir are just a hoax perspective, to justify the unabated killings, tortures, extra-judicial killings, it will be erroneous to say that higher voter turn out in Kashmir, means accepting the Indian dominion. There are large domains to be explored as well. We have witnessed how elections were rigged in the past, and it goes on. We know that, they are using our vote to convey to the world communities that Kashmir is the integral part of India.

To whom should I vote for? To those who have been selling us sweet hullucinatios from so long, to those who exploit our emotions in the name of greater autonomy, self rule, healing touch. Should I vote for those, who pretend to be sympathisers while out of power, and when they return to power, they become the facilitators of tyranny. Should I vote for those people, who dance to the tunes of new Delhi? Now if I vote, I will be selling my consciousness to the fetish ideas, they have been feeding us for long. History is witness to that fact, that these politicians have deceitful approach while in power. These are like demons, claiming themselves to be the sons of soil, within every metre of this land, you will find such people, they are usually masked, if unmasked, a devil resides inside.

Back to my home, my grandfather had voted three times, my father did so for twice. And you know for whom they voted for? They did so for none else than syed Ali Shah geelani, a hard core separatist and the champion of Kashmir cause, while he used to contest from sopore constituency. My elders voted for him, because they thought he will innervate their dreams, will voice their aspirations, maybe they voted for him, because they never wanted the other person with different ideology to over power him. But at the end, Mr geelani left the proverbial democratic fight, after having analysed that India will go to any extent to subjugate us, and their is no substance in contesting election subservient to India. This again further strengthened my constructive idea of not exercising the franchise.

Well, I am a young adult, with all dreams and aspirations jus like every other young adult like me craves for, beyond that I am a human being too. I don’t deject electoral politics at all, but the fact that abstains me from exercising right to vote, is the history of my land, where I reside in. Again, as a young adult, I too want to participate in election rallies, I too want to cheer up for my favourite leader, but I am unfortunate to be the part of the land, where I can’t treasure these things.

AUTHOR IS FROM SOPORE KASHMIR,ORGANISING MEMBER KASHMIR LAW CIRCLE, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, PURSUING GRADUATION

Email:tawfeeqirshad@gmail.com.