””Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you send him to cemetery. – Malcolm X
Occupation is not easy to understand, it’s a very complex and multifaceted phenomenon. The decade’s long bloody conflict has turned Kashmir into one of the most politically mature nations of the world.
With time we all have somewhat understood the complex functioning, structure and machinery of occupation. India as a colonial state is slowly but steadily failing in justifying its colonial rule to the people of Kashmir.
But, occupation is like a cancer thus, we as a nation and community have to evolve and update ourselves of the new military, mental and diplomatic tactics of India as a colonial state.
You might be wondering why I, one who choose gun over pen, decided to write. There are a few things that I believe made it hard for me to be silent;
1: Collaborators nowadays are obfuscating facts to justify occupation and oppression while playing with emotions of gullible masses, human rights defenders are turning into business monsters and are making conflict a business by featuring the pain of oppressed, activism is guided and directed from Delhi studios.
2: From print media to electronic media, everyone from oppressors to oppressed have chosen to castigate us, our ways and methodology, our ideology and thought process by simply demonizing us.
Thirdly, when people who were forced to give up gun to propagate ‘peaceful ways of resistance ‘try to justify our methods of resistance by their own understanding and logic but actually disown us and our ideology and lastly when a former top cop turned human rights defender who worthlessly tried to crush genuine aspirations of people during his tenure tries to preach humanity and moderateism through half-hearted and illogical arguments.
One has but to respond. Thus, it becomes imperative for a person like me (who neither has resources nor the luxuries like the people I tried to relate above) who has already chosen gun over pen, to reply back in the same language and to present our point of view.
And I believe it’s necessary that some insider also puts his point of view to get the facts straight.
Not going into the long history of the occupation which I believe everyone among us is well aware about its roots, causes and ramifications.
The modern era of resistance started after the mass upsurge of 2008. Since then the methods of resistance have drastically and positively changed.
With the change in methods of resistance the tactics of oppression & suppression also evolved. India has realized it very well that they no longer can justify their illegal occupation or keep the Kashmiri nation silent under the jackboots of slavery.
So, they are willfully trying to change the historical and political realities of Kashmir. Day in and day out, new discourses are being circulated in media through various individuals and agencies.
India is very cleverly trying to confuse the people of Kashmir by manufacturing the narratives suiting to justify their military presence and oppressive measures used to contain the populace of J&K.
Certain individuals are assigned powerful and resourceful positions and then made to befool the people by bringing new discourses (irrelevant) and trying to make the old and actual ones seem out-dated and irrelevant.
One day we see some bureaucrat writing ‘India is the only rational choice Kashmiris have’ and the other day a politician will question ‘why militants feel dignity in death’. I will here try to deconstruct some of such vague arguments and expose the hypocrisy behind them.
‘we are soldiers we don’t fight to die but to win, we don’t feel dignity in death but we do feel dignity in fighting (Indian) occupation, its military might, its oppression, its tyranny, its collaborators and most of all its ego and if/when we die while fighting all this, we do feel dignity in that death.’ By ‘we’, I mean every Kashmiri and by ‘Kashmiri’ I mean every citizen of J&K, who is fighting the occupation in one or other way, not just the men with gun.
A teacher (school, college or university) who teaches students honestly or a doctor who works day in and out to treat his patients humanely or a student protesting the atrocities of occupation honorably or a stone palter who throws stones on occupying forces while facing bullets in return, or a columnist who writes fearlessly or a Journalist who risks his life to report the truths from ground zero or a person who just talks about the occupation or a lawyer who fights legally in a court, or a government employee who is sincere in his duties or for that matter a policeman who performs his real duty of maintaining law and order (not terrorizing, killing, maiming, and torturing natives), we are all soldiers of resistance.
New identities and divisions are being created, to bifurcate the society and to create voids in resistance. Before 2016 mass upsurge was deliberately associated with city and towns and militancy was called the activity of some ‘illiterate strayed village boys’.
Now protests are being associated with the ‘south Kashmir villagers’ who have no sense of economy. Although every now and then people have rejected these narratives by showing their mass support to resistance movement but still we need to be vigilant about how they try to disconnect people from each other using senseless discourses, sometimes on sub regional basis (North Vs South) and sometimes on sectarian and ethnic basis.
There is a very strong campaign going on in media (both social media and electronic media) against the resistance of Kashmir.
Those who fight occupation are called fanatics, fundamentalists and their favorite word, terrorists. The people behind these campaigns are well aware of the facts but it’s their job to befool people. The Indian NCERT text book for 12th class political science students defines terrorist as, “one who targets civilians indiscriminately to get their demands fulfilled” .
By this definition one can clearly understand who qualifies to be a terrorist since our course of action is known to one and all. Unlike India we don’t kill civilians (Kashmiris or Indian) and non combatants (not part of occupation).
Those calling us terrorists should either change their textbooks or their rhetoric. The people of India are being taught that Kashmiri militants are brainwashed young boys who join militancy for 72 virgins and they believe dying like this is a short cut for jannah.
There is no denying that Islam is our motivation and way of life and Islam indeed promises Jannah for fighting against every kind of oppression in whatever means one can.
But, as I mentioned above we are soldiers we join the war not to die and live in Jannah nah but to fight the enemy and defeat him.
No mujahid can ever claim Jannah even if he sacrifices everything, Jannah is the domain of Allah and that will be decided on the Day of Judgment not just on the fact that you died in a war, but entry in Jannah has a million criteria.
Also, we do not claim that Islam exclusively belongs to us only but it is true also those oppressors have a long history of manipulating people in the name of religion. They will always choose a specific part of Islam, misinterpret it and try to legitimize their occupation.
It’s often being argued that we are fighting a lost war. Apologists of occupation flaunt the military might of India, its missile technology, and its huge army; comparisons are being made between 200 young boys with AK47 and the one million army men with latest weaponry.
The latest military history of world, weather its US in Vietnam, USSR in Afghanistan or NATO in Afghanistan, teaches us that huge armies and latest weapons do not win the wars.
If the 200 boys with rusty AK47 have no comparison with Indian army, why does India need a million troopers and a budget of billions to fight these militants? Why does the brave army of India use tanks and even gunship helicopters to fight a couple of untrained young boys who are already surrounded by thousands of their men? Why do these occupational forces hundreds in number have to blow up the houses in order to kill the single man with gun? The answer to every such question is that India is already losing the war in Kashmir.
There was a time when the fight was between an armed militant and a thousand Indian troopers but now Indian army has to get through thousands of unarmed freedom fighters before getting the gunman.
The people who come to rescue the militants at encounter sites, unarmed, without caring about their lives give us an idea about the aspirations and emotions of the people. India might befool their own citizens or world community by calling militants as brainwashed Islamic terrorists but how can India justify that a whole nation fighting them is brainwashed.
India is in utter frustration and this is very visible every night on its news channels. Govt. of India hides its failures by running hate and venomous campaigns against us on media.
One can easily guess the level of their frustration; the teachers of colleges and universities in Kashmir are spied by govt. agencies , students are kept under surveillance, local media is gagged, laws are passed in which govt. employees are asked to refrain from criticizing the govt. policies. How would an apologist who believes that J&K is a part of democratic India describe it?
It’s often been discussed that we should try to find the solution of Kashmir issue by peaceful means within democratic framework of India.
Undoubtedly India is world’s largest democracy on papers and procedure but on practical grounds India does not qualify for a democracy.
How can you expect a nation to listen to you whose (so called) democratically elected prime minister has been a chief architect of communal riots, where elections are fought on communal lines, where rapists and criminals are lawmakers, where media is controlled by the ruling regime, where every voice of descent and every critique is silenced either by death or by other means, where every critique of govt. is declared anti national and the elections are won by populism and tricks, where government agencies are used to quell opposition and where minorities are facing existential threat, where every dissenting voice is threatened to be sent to Pakistan, where a Muslim is lynched in broad daylight for keeping beef in his fridge, where every skull cap donning man & burka clad women is a suspected terrorist, where students are sent to jail for protesting against government policies and where academicians and journalists are killed just because they speak or write against the government.
Hence, for Indian politicians the number of deaths in Kashmir is just a vote gaining policy in India. The corpse of a Kashmiri is sold in election market to satisfy the collective conscience of a nation.
Soldiers take pride in raping women and shooting innocents, and Indian masses are indoctrinated with the narratives by jingoist media to such an extent that they actually support all this.
This is not restricted to Kashmir only, the situation in north East Indian states, naxal areas and tribal regions in mainland India is no good than this. Rapes, killings, torture and human rights violation by Indian army is very common there too.
Democracy in Kashmir has always been used to fortify military occupation by taking refuge in black laws like AFSPA, DA & PSA, while using local collaborators. And the irony is that these local pro occupational politicians since the times of Sheikh Abdullah have always been used as a cannon fodder to serve the interests of India and it’s occupation, these henchmen are later on thrown after use just like tissue papers, if and ever they demanded or spoke for the rights of people.
The recent dumping of Pro Indian JKPDP by It’s ally BJP without even informing the so called Chief Minister is a case in point. That is a small but a significant display of democracy inKashmir.
On the political front, the current govt like its predecessors is acting arrogantly and completely ignoring regional opposition voices just to saffronise every inch of India. This is intensifying the already present separatist and pro freedom sentiments in the Indian mainland and occupied Kashmir respectively.
These aren’t some fanciful or rhetorical claims; we have recently seen the calls for ‘Dravidastan’ and the revival of ‘khalistan movement’.
The historically deep caste based fault line of India is also widening. With all these things going on, India is meant to explode and the resistance movement of Kashmir is going to forerunner of this process.
The current regime in India is on a mission to distort and change the whole historical base of their country and while trying to do so they are taking up Kashmir issue albeit with their own biased fascistic political ideology.
But Kashmir issue has entirely different bases and historical context. It’s often seen that on the one side people of Kashmir are being offered things to forget the historical and political reality of Kashmir and on the other they are threatened by showcasing military might of India.
Terrorizing local population by daily CASOs, nocturnal arrests of youth, jailing every pro freedom Voice, restricting every unarmed ‘peaceful’ protest by showering teargas and pellets on protesters is just a small display of actual ‘idea of India’ and it’s democracy . ‘Peace’ in Kashmir is established only by caging the whole population in their homes by enforcing curfews and ‘peaceful means of resistance ‘have always been welcome but with bullets, pellets and tear gases.
Every nation wants development, education and other things but not at the cost of their dignity and freedom. The people who are trying to sell sports and education against the history of Kashmir are living in fool’s world.
World history is a witness to the fact that nations have been defeated in wars but they can never be made to forget their history. Even if all the armed resistance ends in Kashmir and there is no freedom movement at all, peoples one or other day will start new movement and demand their right to freedom.
Movements and ideologies based on historical facts and justice are neither owned nor represented by specific persons of whatsoever stature. A person, no matter how big a leader he/she is just a part of a movement, not the movement itself.
If a leader decides to change his political stance and compromises on any basis, does that mean the movement is corrupt? Sheikh Abdullah was the most popular and tallest leader Kashmir ever had, but what makes his grave the ‘most guarded grave’ of the sub continent.
Those who are trying to show us the corruption and illegitimacy of the movement by highlighting the individuals should ponder over this. A leader is only acceptable and legitimate for people until he/she stands by the real politico historical narrative of Kashmir issue. Govt. can evolve their policies of oppression but they cannot go back in time and change the history. Therefore it would be better for the apologists of occupation to view us as humans who wish to live with dignity. But, they should always bear in mind that there is no dignity in living under occupation. We as a oppressed human beings are duty bound to fight against every kind of injustice, tyranny and oppression in our capacities and what could be the biggest injustice, tyranny or oppression else than living under occupation? The resistance offered by our people have frustrated the occupiers to such a level that they can’t even tolerate the people who don’t even subscribe to dominant narrative of local population and to set it an example they even jail or kill‘ human rights defenders’ and ‘ambassadors of peace’ who otherwise never speak against occupation.
By bringing in religious discourse to castigate us and our motives is never going to ease the problems. Let us be clear about the fact that we believe that the religion we follow is a system of life rather than a set of rituals and prayers. Thus it is natural to derive one’s thought, principle or ideology from the same system.
Second, it is not necessary for everyone to pick up the gun against oppression or occupation but it is necessary obligation for everyone to rise against oppression, curse occupation and rise against every falsehood in whatever way one can do.
And thirdly, Islam and Slavery can never go hand in hand and Islam can never tolerate oppression on any human being. Fourthly, when occupation is ugly, resistance can neither be beautiful nor can its means dictated or taught by oppressor.
Resistance is resistance; it can neither be peaceful nor violent. In fact, violence is not that we have picked up gun to fight occupation but violence is the presence of more than 12 lakh Indian armed men in Kashmir, violence is the presence of fortified army garrisons, bunkers and pickets, and occupation in itself is a biggest violence.
Therefore apologists of occupation should learn and understand the difference between ‘violence’ and ‘self defense’.
And lastly as a Muslims who believe that Islam is a complete system for mankind encompassing social, economic and political system, we too wish to be governed by the same, but it has never been implemented forcefully in whatsoever conditions.
Our mission is to liberate our land from foreign illegal occupation and thus to create an environment of peace and justice wherein every thought and ideology would be discussed and debated and people will be given their right to chose whatever they like.
And history has been witness to the fact, that where ever people live in real freedom and Islam was given a chance to rule, people have always not only welcome it but also seen the era of justice and peace in those time. And as Great revolutionary Malcolm X puts it; there is nothing in our book, The Quran that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent.”””
His second open letter
Voice From Hills
By Dr Manaan Wani (Viral on socail media)
To the digital audience, mostly educated, I had written a piece in CNS Kashmir, calling for contemplation and the revision of views. But within a span of 6 hours, Indian state in an utter frustration decided to blackout the links and brought them down. It was not the civil administration that threatened the press and the people, but it was the military set up that was upset and shaken. The fact is that our occupier lacks the spine to bear our word, leave the bullet. Even our words shiver ‘the world’s largest democracy’.
Those who are developing an antithesis for the weapon wielder using the ink, let the genesis of my new role be known to them and all. I am writing this piece for the special audience, a different one than earlier.
Remember, I was born in the hills and I am back to them again. Meanwhile, I have realised my mode of resistance. From my birth, I have been surrounded by the military boots, and even my school functions were held at army camps. My elementary studies too have a military base. I was taught at Jawahar Navodiya Vidaliya – the educational extension of the Indian occupation in Kashmir. By then, my imagery of India was a fantasy, and my aspirations were similar to a true Indian. I graduated from a College in Srinagar and engaged in understanding the discourses and identified the difference of being.
I was reading politics, learning sciences and deliberating on the streams of ideas. I was looking around and identifying my place in the society. I was growing, interacting and knowing. By 2009, I began synthesising my own wisdom, and I developed my own critique. I was selected for the University of Kashmir; however its suffocation led to a change of mind. I opted for a leading Indian varsity at Aligarh, which is contesting its history in the courts of law. My beautiful alma-mater was born to the blood of Muslims, and today it is facing the atrocious Hindutva. I am sure that the spirit of the Founder will overwhelm the tirade of the fascists and my garden will bloom.
My University life was beyond an M. Phil or a PhD Degree. I was active and political. The Dhabas would feed my belly, my bosom and my brain. I led the campaigns that brought student leaders to thrones, and reach the hall of dispute where the picture of the Founder of Pakistan is still hanging – symbolising an identity which Indian Muslims may need again in the Tharoor’s emerging India. India of Nehru and Ghandi gave us a Sachhar Report; the New India is preparing the templates for the obituaries of the lynched.
I would travel on and off, only to feel pitied for the sorry state of India. From the ‘nominated’ dirtiest cities of the World to watching the millions suffering of malnutrition, thoughts of the booker prize winner would reverberate my mind that India wants Azadi from Kashmir, and not vice versa. India is a poor nation, and that Freedom is inevitable for Kashmir was her claim and it was like a Gospel truth. I did analyse the wisdom of those in chairs who wanted us to abandon false hope and macabre heroism and work towards a dignified exit from the conflict. However, I trusted that woman more than the man; she was not the part of the system and hence more truthful. She was free and hence correct; she was the agency of none. She was strong, truthful and wise.
Back home, India was a trigger happy nation drenching my paradise into blood. The bloodbath was a consequence of politics of imposition, deceit and manipulation. My peoples’ will was an element of hate for the occupier. I left the pen and made a conscious decision to stare at Indian forces holding a rifle in my hand. Because the only way India was holding my land was by her military might. My choice to fight the ‘emerging superpower’ had to halt for more than a year as I was waiting for the approval from my brothers in the field. Today, I am happy and at more peace because I am genuinely fighting the battle of my own. I am reasonably satisfied with the redressal mechanism, I chose.Remember, where the history has to be saffron, allegiance has to be to Dogras, subjugation has to be the identity, and compromise has to be the principle, only the bruised souls can try ‘an anchor’. A place where the interests of the occupier run supreme and undeclared war on a civilian population is the modus operandi, black laws define the activism and politics is a prostitute, restoring the dignity of one’s own self by a non-violent culture is a false hope. When the occupier is uncivilised, its collective conscience is blood thirsty, its morality is deceit, its mindset is hegemonic and it thinks through the barrel of gun, the response cannot be a peace talk, it has to be to crush her arrogance. The military foot prints are the only thing that define Indian strength in Kashmir, and challenging the military might alone will compel India respect the aspiration of the occupied. Limited war of today may swell for the same reason, some day.
The resistance was never mindless. It was preferred by Nadeem Khateeb, educated in US and born to the a Chief Engineer, and today our faith in the gun is equally strong. The Indian Army Chief’s assertion that gun will stay active on both of the sides is to acknowledge that India will never be able to subjugate us into submission. His men will continue with the genocide agenda but the visible failure of military approach has made them weak and tense. His soldiers come in thousands in the bullet proof vehicles to face one of us, fire from a mile, rocket the bricks, and all of this is our strength, and not theirs. His men are committing suicide; ours are smiling even when laid to the graves. While, death and destruction by Indian state is a routine, the more people aspiring to die than those being killed indicates the peoples’ power to fight.
True, that we are martyred, but occupations are born to kill, the option is to die as a fighter or as a duck. We chose to be fighters. Civilians, who come to save us at encounter sites are brave, and make a case for referendum in our favour. They are not arm chair fighters, they are real. Massive funerals are a political statement and writing on the wall.
Those who feel that this is glorification of pain must remember that we cannot sanctify the pain of being a slave. We cannot allow the occupant to dictate what to speak and when to speak. Being free is our religion and its consciousness is our survival. We prefer to face the ruler than to beg for concessions. Unlike some, we don’t trust the courts because we are not blind to our own history. The winds blowing from the graves of our martyrs in Tihar, hanged by the sanction of the highest court tell us that India has only blood thirsty collective conscience for our heroes. This court has no word for the forcibly disappeared or the unlawfully jailed. We don’t intend to secure a job; we want to live a dinginied life.
The history is witness that Delhi’s only interest in Kashmir is to cultivate a nursery of collaborators, in politics, establishment and society. Though, the dead collaborators are guarded even in their graves, their young have expressed lack of power in the seats of power and some have been dethroned in the humiliated manner, yet these shameless and emasculated people continue to seek Chairs to kill, maim and rape the native citizens. The breed of collaborators that is emerging and the new fronts being cobbled are only to downplay the peoples’ will. The Police functions to kill, and civil servants are enthusiastic PSA appliers. These mercenaries are plainly the colonial agencies, nothing more. My choice for gun is also a response to these elite, the product of a fraudulent democracy, worst occupation and allegedly intellectual.
Our political history has found them as the slaves of lowest kind. They all are well aware of the history of transformation of constituent assembly into house of filth, they remember the days of prison of the grand man of Kashmir, they felt the rebuke by the Indian PM and died of cardiac breakdown, and their chairs fell shamelessly when the mats were taken off. They speak in the auditoriums of the elite institutions but are asked, how they sleep in the night. We understand that this nexus of our people with the brutal occupier is a worry. We thought that shame has a height, but our special class has no moral compass. To these sold out souls, we reiterate the words of the Master Martyr Burhan Wani who asked them to stand by their own people and join the struggle against occupation.
We ask them for civil disobedience. We do ask them, ‘how do you sleep in the nights’. Someone must ask them to read the latest UNHCR report in the dim light on a calm night, and question their loyalties as to whom do they belong to.
To people, we say don’t fall in the same trap every day. Don’t vote, because even if you vote, you will be dragged by the bonnet and humiliated. If you stay away from the ballots, you will save yourself from their bullets in the long run. Those who beg you for votes are being sold as peoples’ support to the integrationist agenda. Stay away from them; you may be deprived of a sadak, but that a small sacrifice against the deceit they play with you. If you don’t shame them in the society, they will continue to shame you as a nation.
As we are witnessing a surge in the seekers of armed struggle, we want to convey people that things are going in a planned manner. Limited war must not be taken as our weakness; it is to offer a scope for the wise. Yes, we tell you that if you are not holding a gun, don’t stay as ducks but expose India at all platforms and ensure that India turns restless. Every action by any section of society is strength of this movement. The peoples’ support especially from the students of universities, colleges and schools is making us strong
Our struggle is gender neutral; it has seen the women being raped and the men too. The sacrifices of the women are our motivation. They have offered their modesty, their eyes and lives. Our sacrifice is nothing compared to theirs. We want them to be brave, active and resilient. We together make the nation, and together we the fight the occupation.
Our leadership must ensure unity, strength and the commitment to the cause of the people of Kashmir. The sacredness of this movement will never be allowed to be brokered.
I have told you that narratives and meta-narratives are being generated like the printing in the press. But these narratives have lost the worth in Kashmir. From Kashmiryat to Sports activism, from autonomy to self rule, from good governance to sadhbhavna, from all party trips to the visit of anti-insurgent peace-nicks, from renegades to self styled platforms, and from dialogue to interlocution, all these narratives have been punctured. India has been exposed and even world bodies have lately shamed them. Till the path of martyrs is walked, no corrupt narrative will find its space in Kashmir. The day, the gun is silent, their deceit will succeed.
Our cause is crystal clear, and let no body feel confused. This is the leftover of partition and India has to go. It is the people of Jammu and Kashmir who will determine their future course of society. Our question has never been of being fit in a culturally diverse India, it has fundamentally been of our dignity and right to stand for own selves. A compromise on dignity creates slaves and in slavery there is no dignity. Our battle has an international recognition, and even the use of gun is justified for seeking the right to self determination as per the principles of United Nations, which India is a signatory of. We have morality, history, peoples’ support and legal international basis on our side. The only hindrance is the arrogance of India.
I continue with the point made earlier in the CNS article, that as Muslims, we must adhere to the values of Islam which encompass all spheres of life. Islam offers teachings for welfare and justice based state. We respect the freedom of all to choose their own religion. We are neither chauvinists nor fascists. We call for universal brotherhood, While Communalism is the tool of our occupier
To end, I must tell you all that surrender is a weakness and to fight is the strength. For a Brave Nation, Freedom is the Destination. Honour, not exit is our way. My fingers are on the trigger; however they do touch the key pads to write for my people . Both ways, I stand for Freedom, Truth and Justice. I ask my readers on social networks to tag the collaborators and make sure that the piece is read by all.