We have reached to a consensus that the only thing that essentially binds us all is the universal hatred of the Indian government and the Jammu and Kashmir government. This vast topic out of the way what else are we left with? Zilch, I must say.
We have a considerable amount of our own atrocious and disgraceful tales to tell. The one that takes the prize though is the clash of the classes in the valley. In the grand scheme of things one would often ponder over the oddity of these instances, one being the age old “Khaandaan” epidemic that has plagued our Kashir society. The“Khaandani” family will not give away their daughters or marry off their sons to the non-Khaandaani family. I have never come across any idea as absurd and unbecoming as this. What one must do? It is nothing to be proud of, it’s negative in nature, and a cross culture that we have borrowed from India. The term “as long as you are a Kashmiri, you can marry anybody” is a complete farce.
Are we at peace with our neighbors, you’d be lying if you say yes. There are exceptions, of course, but if you are reading this you will definitely know what I am talking about. All of us love to engage in those perpetual expositions of the scandals of our hamsayas and rishteydaars (neighbors and relatives) even if those tales are far fetched and concocted, and we do it so religiously that we don’t even realize someone somewhere must be yearning up our malicious stories. Hell! I too have done it on a number of occasions. I have heard the worst kind of gossip, almost always at a wedding banquet. It is so synonymous to each other now that you can’t detach one from the other. The minute the arrangement is set to serve the food and people sit in groups of four for the Waze Tream – the platter, it happens. All hell breaks loose! Like literally. I do not speak for the men, for, I wouldn’t know. The women will leave no stone unturned and will stop at nothing when it will come to discuss someone who they dislike especially if that someone is present at that particular banquet. It is hilarious and ridiculous at the same time. The minute you enter the shaamyana (tent) you start sharing niceties superficially with the people you know and almost instantaneously your eyes will linger on the person you dislike and it goes without saying what will follow next, eyeballing and a couple of dirty looks I suppose. Don’t deny it, for you and I have done it or seen it.
During my internship at the High court and the Srinagar district court in Kashmir, in the year 2012, I came across 80 percent of the cases that involved immovable property in some way or the other. The rest of the 20 percent mostly had matrimonial suits and a couple of murder cases. It is dastardly to even mention the kind of suits that are being filed in the courts of Kashmir these days. Apparently, if a brother or a sister inherits a share that is a little less than their sibling or what may have been verbally discussed amongst each other back in time, they find themselves at each others throats. I fail to understand this, because I have a sibling who I grew up with, someone who I relied upon, sometimes even more than my parents and someone who has lived with me throughout my childhood, my adolescence and my adulthood. How then is it possible for a brother or a sister to simply just overlook and lose sight of all that and cross swords with their siblings over such trifling issues. We have stooped so low that we actually have the audacity to go and wash our dirty linen in public, our egos and self interests have led us to do this. Our only concern apparently is our own welfare and an utter disregard for someone else’s.
We have absolutely nothing to look forward to when and if we’ll achieve this azaadi we keep talking about. We and it includes me as well, have succumbed to the hypocrisy of the individualistic and unrelenting society. We invent terms like ‘al-nafsi al-nafsi’ and ‘Paanyo paanyo’ to describe: a Kashur and so hilariously do that without realizing we too are included in this cycle of mockery. We jump with joy when we meet our own somewhere outside the state and blabber meaningless rants like Toih ti chiv Kashir? And back home in the valley, we act like nothing but hypocrites when we talk of them unpleasantly Ha su chu be-imaan nafr. And we are out to get this azaadi, we so fancy?
[pullquote]This false Machiavellian politics has to stop. I for one would love to see a leader or a political intellectual of my generation. It will only be prudent to say that the younger generation would definitely bring reforms and enrich the state of politics and administration more than the fickle old leaders.[/pullquote]With azaadi will come its pros and cons which the people I am guessing have not anticipated, it could result in a complete Armageddon, the whole existence of Kashmir could get erased, the Kashmiriyat could cease to exist or may be it would be fruitful, advantageous, worthwhile and it could turn out to be one of the best things that has happened in the history of Kashmir. The idea of a separate state seems incredible. Of course, why wouldn’t the people of Kashmir want a separate country with its own constitutional laws, currency and defense power but past that will we be triumphant in achieving that one thing all the people in the state crave for i.e. the stability, the permanence? Azaadi is not going to be the end of our perplexities and dilemmas. On the contrary it may be the inception of something unfamiliar.
We have developed an antipathy for the government for all the good reasons but what about the feelings for our own relatives, and neighbors? The answer would be the same – Antipathy. It is surprising, isn’t it?
The common man of Kashmir has held all his mordant hopes on the new government hoping that a yet another valorous leader will come and lead the valley from the darkness to the threshold of light. But that light never surfaced and the day ceased to exist. Kashmir has had a trend of lethargic “Educated illiterate” leaders so far, who neglect the bigger cause, the mustakbil of the people. Better roads, ample water and 24/7 electricity supply is not going to fetch us any tranquility; it’s about time the people living in the rural areas realize the sanctity of the voting and election process they go through. By far no election manifesto has promised peace. These political parties are charlatans through and through and have always had their own nefarious designs and all these fabled leaders came as energetic and reassuring as ever, boasting of catalysis.
This false Machiavellian politics has to stop. I for one would love to see a leader or a political intellectual of my generation. It will only be prudent to say that the younger generation would definitely bring reforms and enrich the state of politics and administration more than the fickle old leaders. I reckon the administration will be exemplary in nature and the youngsters will surge ahead with utmost enthusiasm. But then again we are not going to achieve this feat if we don’t bring about a flux within ourselves. We need to and we have to come out of the shackles of hypocrisy, self-interest and egocentric-ism.
Rahella Khan is a Kashmiri, studying law in Pune and also a freelancer writer. For feedback, tweet at @rahellakhan
The views expressed are author’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of the organisation.