I have a dream that one day I will breathe without fear

 I have a dream, when truth will triumph, justice will prevail. When human dignity shall find its coveted prized defenders from chopping blocks, killing fields and torture centers. When language of the barrel of gun, shall give in to cool reason and logic. When freedom of expression and freedom after expression will be respected and honored by the most powerful. When the concept of humanity will win over parochialism, communalism and bigoted prejudice. When compassion, love and tolerance will have its flags fluttered in the slums and ghettos of hate and jingoism. When the power-intoxicated will have his conscience flogged himself for caging the weak. When the algebra of infinite injustice will have its upholders drowned in indignity. When blistering contradiction between precept and practice will vanish, to expose the stink. When democracy, the ‘idea’ of the state, is allowed to grow from the fields of repression. When the promises pledged, commitments made shall have their ardent supporters and strong advocates standing up from ‘August’ houses in parliament and corporate media. When youth, the future will see truth and justice the strong motivating force to purge the state off its colonial hangovers and maladies of arrogance.
 I have a dream, when “republic Day”, 26 January, ‘Independence Day’, 15 August will see people of Kashmir not closeted in their homes under ‘civil curfew’ and ‘blacking out’ “the celebrations”. When “separatist” leaders will felicitate government of India and its people on the historic occasions for reaping the fortunes of their struggle. When Geelani will be invited as state guest to witness the colorful   parade of Raj Ghat Delhi.

 I have a dream, when visit of a dignitary from India will not evoke Kashmir Bandh. When his/her conscience will not be sullied in having his/her cavalcade pass  through deserted streets and the earth beneath screeching  “unwanted”.
I have a dream, when man in olive-green or in khaki will not be sniffed as a solider of an imperial power, enjoying impunity from legal action. I crave for the day when streets in Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Islamabad and Srinagar will blossom up to welcome the change of hearts and minds in Delhi.

 I have a dream, when Delhi will not have to hanker after its proxies in Kashmir for a semblance of ‘peoples’ rule’ in Kashmir. When the smug bubble of ‘peoples’ mandate’ will not be too delicate to rupture  at the slight warmth of a mass uprising. When political landscape of Kashmir will not be fogged with election boycott calls.  When electoral exercises are not conducted under certain laboratory conditions that squeeze opposite political thought and choke dissent.

 I have a dream, when forays of intellect into areas of truth-dissemination will not warrant state curbs and bullying. When, to buy from George Orwell,  ‘calling a pig a pig, with or without lipstick’ will not turn out to be an offence  reminding emergency days.

 I have a dream, when groundswell of protests, cutting across generational lines, shall not be dismissed as ISI-sponsored stratagem. When ears will be lent to what Indian journalist Jug Suraiya opines that ‘ Kashmir is no longer a ventriloquist’s  dummy speaking for its Pakistani masters…..Kashmir is speaking, for itself. And what it is saying is unequivocal.’ When life-essence of the republic, i.e.; democratic dissent and popular will hold priority over use of force to retain a territory of unwilling people. when at the top decision making level a  dispassionate thought will be given to look as to why after 64  years of concerted effort-grooming political lackeys, repeated electoral exercises, giving of subsidies, use of military might –India has not been able to counter     powerful popular demand , skies of Kashmir reverberate with. When the simple is understood that while state is powerful against an individual but all power is  futile against a people that has resilience to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

 I have a dream when corporatized and state-controlled media and news channels in India shall not allow their professional ethics get violated and intellectual honesty corroded when it comes to Kashmir. When truth will not be distorted, facts will not be smudged and Kashmir will not be blacked out from prime time news channels.. When those who rule airways shall realize that crime condoned amounts to crime committed. When it dawns at the media tycoons that feeding people on lies and misleading them tantamount to digging out the ethical foundation of the Republic India.  

 I have a dream  today, when in a cricket match between India and other nations not to speak of Pakistan, hearts of people in Kashmir  will not beat in resonance with the beatings of hearts of the rival Team India. When the cricket mania will not  inflict psychological pain to team India.   But cheer it up to encouragements, to clinch  the victory.

I HAVE A dream when Kashmir will become Switzerland of Asia, and will have the honor of  hosting seminars, conferences , conventions on varied range of issues. When it will become abode of peace and spiritual bliss for all, irrespective of nationality, geography, creed, color and race. When under a “unique” mechanism devised by Civil Society  cutting across territorial nationalist barriers or by International Court of Justice, the region having 5000 years of its history, will be allowed to govern itself.  When the people will not have to live under the shadow of gun. When the world community will recognize its neutral sovereign status. When it will have borders manned not by troops of Pakistan and India  but by peace keeping and neutral status maintaining forces of United Nations, drawn from countries excluding the ones having borders with Jammu and Kashmir. A ‘unique solution’ for a ‘unique’ problem.

 I have a dream when Kashmiris will welcome not only Indian Civil Society, or Yachurias, Paswans, but also secularists, Kashmir bashers and even Hindutva flag beares. When these all will be respected as friends, not despised as masters.

 I have a dream when those swearing by secularism and democracy will help us unravel the “mystery” that if sending Afzal Guru to death is to ‘satisfy  the collective conscience of society’, (Supreme Court Ruling), what about the retracting of a state from its promised right to people determine its future?

 I have a dream, when Confessions of wrong doings and injustice at the highest level shall be made and sought as a way for penance. And with the rinsed soul a new history is ushered in. and in this all-pervading fragrance of dignified relationship, ugly scars of past bitter memories of betrayals, deceit, arrogance, belligerence and estrangement get vanish for good.
 Join me in raising the hands up!

(The columnist can be mailed at : zainagiree@yahoo.co.in