The Macabre Ending
Major Avtar’s story is not a racy thriller sending fleeting tremors of disbelief. It is not just a morbid spasm of individual violence. It rather represents India’s case on Kashmir. Avtar’s murderous acts of violence in Kashmir haunted him unceasingly even when continents separated him from the place where his victims lay buried. His past refused to stay beneath clawing its way out in the most horrendous way. This must be an event hitting many guilty souls with horror; political mercenaries, agency laborers and uniformed employees. And if India has a soul it must have glimpsed the horror.
If India still lives, as an idea and a human-historical experience, in the people that constitute India, it must have suffered a twitch. If a person couldn’t escape the outcome of his deeds in Kashmir, could a country get away unhurt! This is the question that pops out from this lacerating experience. It is not some imaginary realm of belief that whispers retribution in the ears of a victim. Historical experiences, one after another, display the truth that committing violence in the neighbor’s yard one day brings down the walls of one’s own house. Today you slit the throat of a Kashmiri, tomorrow you will throw the noose around the neck of your own child. Your deeds are your own tormentors. Who would have thought that a killer like Avtar will meet such a fate!
Avtar is just a particle in the boundless desert of oppression. The story of this desert cannot, and must not, end with the fate of a particle. Who will account for the expansive landscape of terror; unknown graves, massacres, murders, torture, and a ceaseless plunder. The accumulated trauma has to one day explode blowing apart the architecture of terror. There are signs of this littered around in the politics, economy and society of India. The way violence is travelling through every channel into it India is bound to bleed its own body. Soon or may be not so soon, but of sure.
hen they apply laws like AFSPA in places like Kashmir it creates definite spaces for violence in India. Those who benefit from such laws permanently stand in the way of politically meeting the problems. Tomorrow if India wants to solve the problem politically, those who think about Kashmir exclusively in military terms will find their interests squeezing. This clash will have its own consequences. If today unhindered powers are conferred on certain institutions and agencies in the peripheries tomorrow they will ask for the same in the centre. Who will then be its victim; political parties and social spaces of India. What else comprises the suicide of a country!
When in the name of religion forms of control are deepened in Kashmir, it breeds a kind of triumphalism. Amarnath Yatra is an example. Elsewhere in India environment is a concern, but in Kashmir reality is reversed. Around the globe India doesn’t tire promoting its secular character, but in Kashmir religion is employed in worst possible forms as an ancillary to military ambitions. India is happy sending crowds to Kashmir in the name of pilgrimage, but why do they miss the point that these radicalized crowds finally come back to India. Would they be less radicalized when they function in the political and social spaces of India? When Pakistan was feeding the political jihad in Afghanistan there were people who wrote the notes of caution. In those years of euphoria who was to read the ‘incorrect’ lines. Same is the case with India. And same will be the fate of India.
The religious radicalism that guides India’s policies in Kashmir will raise its head like a monster, in the cities and villages of India. If the interlocutors’ report works on the ethnic, religious, geographic and political faultiness of Kashmir, all these fault lines are present in India; greater in number and deeper in penetration. Today they operate these fault-lines in Kashmir to their advantage, tomorrow these fault-lines will become self operative in India.
And now take economy; US based capitalism favours India and India in turn seeks support on Kashmir. Besides creating sharp economic divisions in India, fraught with violent consequences, it heralds a revolution setting things upside down. Who will kill whom if that tumult hits India. The fight will have a family divided, one killing the other. What else comprises the suicide of a nation!
Tail piece: M J Akbar in one of his articles about Palestine writes: “On his last visit to Jerusalem, the holy city he had restored to Arab rule, in September 1123, he gave his fourth son, Abu Mansur al-Zahir, some immortal advice. As his son was about to leave, on October 6, Saladin kissed him, rubbed his hair fondly and said: be chary of shedding blood, ‘for blood does not sleep.’” Blood in Kashmir is also awake.