What a courage my people have shown by not letting the disaster overcome them
‘ It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light’—Aristotle Onassis
And this has been proved so gracefully by the people of Kashmir in the latest flood fury that breached its embankments of restraint and caught us unawares. Shocked we were, panicked we were, drowned and devastated we were, but never for once we gave up or accepted it as a fait accompli. We resisted to be washed away. In these darkest moments when our adversaries were belching loudly to see us doomed we made our act together and added one more glorious page to our history of resilience.
Two days before I visited the historic city of Srinagar. It was a pleasant surprise for me to see people in high spirits. The pride city was limping back to normalcy. The stench of the stagnant waters though was unbearable and spectacle of flood devastation was horribly evident everywhere, yet the resolve to retrieve the hope from despair and script anew lines of fate were visible from every face. They , it looked, were determined to restore the city the position of eminence and authority it enjoyed through out the annals of history. Our “well-wishers “ were cutting ribbon of joy to see Srinagarites whirled back to alleys of darkness. They were writing them off along with their sentiments . True flood tsunami bled in trillions and claimed some precious lives but it could not, and didn’t, cripple their will: to rise again like a phoenix from the ashes the valiant residents are engaged in resurrection process . From each setback they know how to wriggle out and stun their opponents.
Srinagar is face of Kashmir, pride of Kashmir, it is identity and address of Kashmir. It has remained nerve Centre of our resistance. Against tyranny, injustice, betrayal, manipulation , false promises , constitutional frauds, against brutal crackdowns, torture and turmoil and repression. It has been a symbol of our struggle. So with Srinagar inundated the hearts of people from Doda to poonch to Kargil and entire valley lost their beating sequence. They all joined in to help their brethren when governments from Delhi to Srinagar left them drowned. The sense of brotherhood and community feelings not only got renewed and refurbished , it pronounced the fighting spirit and defying stamina of this great nation . in fact the ethnically and geographically different regions like Chenab and Pirpanchal and Kargil blended in one soul . The contours of oneness and togetherness once again showed Muslim majority Kashmir is locked in same destiny. They breathe in one language of brotherhood and community feelings. Once again they tore asunder the false propaganda that Greater Kashmir is mauled by sectarian, linguistic, ethnic bites. Once again they showed to the world that they are completely infatuated with Srinagar , their Mecca in political priorities.
Trucks of relief coming from Doda-Kishtwar, Punch- Rajouri and Kargil carried as much the message of love and solidarity as their political affinity with Srinagar. Perhaps for the same reasons communalist forces loved to wallow in mud of sadistic pleasure when mighty Jhelum breached its threshold of patience. Their remaining callously frigid in the time of tragedy amplified how humanity gets hostage to their communal considerations.
As the torrential rains and flood deluged Kashmir , Highway was blocked aggravating the woes of people. It is amazing when we have far more dependable and comparatively easy accessible, Mughal Road, as better alternative available, why should valley be left at the mercy of Jammu-Srinagar Highway? It is past over three decades when work on Mughal Road started. India joined the coveted club of nations sending satellites to Mars but road is not compete yet. Not because terrain is more difficult or Delhi lacks resources , appeasement of Dogras in Jammu and apprehension of Kashmir dominant narrative receiving more impetus makes policy makers in Delhi skip and foil the project. Similar malicious intent is visible in creating impediments. In connecting valley to Chenab region via Simpthan route. The Durbar is instead focused on other priorities. It wants state government to accede to its proposal of giving ‘Highway status’ to Khanabal-Panchtarni road. Though it is fully of the of the adverse impact on the fragile ecology of the area, still Durbar is intoxicated with its agenda and for that purpose is pestering and pressuring the state government. Note the fresh communication Delhi shot to Omer- led government Delhi has also asked that the ‘assets’ falling under the road stretch should be transferred to it’. In the growing assertiveness of the people 0n issues of environment, especially in the context of recent floods, it will be extremely difficult for Kashmir govt to sanction it. Look at the double standard, state government has been continuously requesting and pursuing ‘Centre’ for giving ‘Highway Status’ to the Mughal road, but it froze in indifference. Obviously and expectedly.
People know the value of their homeland when they are about to lose it . Similarly the deluge has made us to sift hypocrites from messiahs. ‘ Us’ and ‘them’ stand unveiled.