There is something trapped in me since l have been told to trap my words in punctuations but my rebellion in words denies me such traps as my prose is born free. I am told to use commas as it becomes difficult for the readers to understand yet I want them to realize that I can just afford this freedom. I don’t know who taught me this word but I am sure this was one of the first I learnt perhaps the forbidden fruit is the sweetest one.
Injustice has fuelled me, Ak 47 (Kalashnikov) has written my destiny. I was born in a valley which had been under foreign rule for centuries yet rebellion was unknown, time had conditioned people to surrender it had at times mocked them with hope. Some decades before I was born a man named Sheikh Abdullah had won some promise called autonomy from the prime minister of India for rejecting the offer of an Islamic State and embracing secularism. Unfortunately, it was again proved in some years that promises are meant to be broken poor Sheikh found prison for himself and uncertainty for his people, the man who installed hope initially proved to be the biggest debacle in the coming years. In 1987 Indian government again rigged state elections by tradition causing alienation in people and the foreign Ak 47 stole all the romance for 20 years to come.
The story of these 20 years is clouded with crime, fake encounters, plunder, rape and custodial killings. Men lost their manhood, women lost their honour, mothers lost their sons, wives lost their husbands and Kashmiris lost count, heaven turned into hell, Kashmir was awash in blood. Army used every weapon to crush the Pakistan supported rebellion, loyalists were not spared mercy was absent military camps became the new courts mere suspicion was answered with bullets. The very army which had come to protect in 1947 became the unwanted and much hated master. The Indian army was very efficient in crushing every one who stood in the way. In 20 years the rebellion was extinct. Blows which don’t break your back strengthen it. People had surrendered in terms of armed rebellion but the resentment, sense of injustice and betrayal had set deep roots.
In the year 2008 it was proved to the world that Kashmir was not yet a closed equation. The valley witnessed mass protests due to the controversial move of the government to grant notified forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board hence ignoring law as well as Article 370. This gave vent to the feelings of the Kashmiri, millions of people participated in the peaceful protests, anger was evident. People marched in all directions slogans were shouted against the government everything in the valley came to a stand still. Kashmiriyat suddenly had reached its zenith. Some elements tried to communalise the situation by using Amarnath Ji yatra as a tool but somehow people understood the situation well and supported the yatra. Food stalls were arranged by the Muslims for their Hindu brothers. The slogan of ‘Yatri aaye hamaree zameen pe kya hamare seene pe chalke aye’ was shouted meaning yatris should come, they cannot only use our land but we have place for them in our hearts as well. God saved Kashmiris from the communal tag.
These protests marked a new era in the fight for Kashmir, pressure was such that government backtracked. What could not be achieved through Ak 47 was achieved by non violent means. Unfortunately people in Kashmir have always underestimated the might of Indian Armed forces, every move was foiled, protests were greeted with bullets, and people made prisoners in their own homes. The whole valley was converted into a prison. Non violence had failed Kashmiris against the violent forces thus leading to stone pelting and scores of young men losing their lives.
The circle of this violence has not stopped in Kashmir to this day, armed forces resort to firing bullets while teenagers take to stone pelting. The vicious circle has not ended for some reason or the other but I fail to understand what does the government of India want – Kashmiri people or just land. Indian government is turning a blind eye towards Kashmir; the seed of resentment and betrayal have given fruit but repression does not and cannot help to change the minds of the people. How long can a country manage by posting more and more troops in Kashmir. The sight of Indian military uniforms in Kashmir has given the province an unmistakable fervour of being occupied. New Delhi has to understand that solution to the problem does not reside in the number of troops or financial packages but in the treatment given to the people, if India boasts of Kashmir as an integral part then why are we not allowed to speak, my only question is if Kashmir agreed to come to India in flesh and blood why was Kashmir stripped of what was promised to it. The answer lies here because the reason why Kashmiri turned against India lies here. I am of the opinion if India wants to change the present situation in Kashmir it has to create a sense of trust and justice in people if this is not done India will continue as a psychological occupant in Kashmir.
I have allowed my words to fall in traps for I don’t want my people trapped, I don’t want their pain voiceless, I don’t want their pledges splintered all I want is their promises honoured. I don’t want to talk of suffering or how much we have endured because it seems far from ending and we haven’t yet surrendered.