By Aaqib Javeed
[I]n philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.
I am writing this piece in which I will talk about the circumstances by which my reality has been constructed since childhood, till today.
Sadly, my reality has been constructed with comparison since my childhood days. My parents always compared me with my cousins and relatives as I was not able to compete with them in scores. This perception many a times tarnishes my thinking, what to do? How to get rid of this? But when this trend continued then it became an order of the day for me. As the time passed I started realizing the basic essence of life in the middle classes in school and with the help of teachers I got a niche in knowing the importance of education without comparing it with others. Also, religion has been a major factor for me at that time because parents have made it mandatory to go Madrassa, where I got to know about the divine and from the religious books my perception with regard to religion makes my faith stronger.
As a teenager, I was a flamboyant boy, a bit non-serious on the road to education, but during High School, the science stream gave me the real concept of knowing things with logic and reason particularly physics and mathematics are the subjects which are solely based on scientific evidence and methods or (formulas) respectively. I hated history and philosophy thinking that we have to take care of present times and philosophy is just interpreting things, nothing more than that. In reality, it doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.
Being a resident of downtown Srinagar, I have witnessed the 2008 uprising with fortitude and a great sense of humour. My perception towards politics started in the same year. Before that, I didn’t know who was Geelani or Mirwaiz. This was the phase that changed my philosophy of life in knowing the political and societal background of Kashmir. The unrest lasted for more than two years.
[pullquote]I was standing at Qamarwari to see the huge procession that was coming from downtown to march on the way to Muzaraffabad. I witnessed the processions was reverberating with freedom slogans with great fervor, as it reached at Cement Bridge, Qamarwari police started indiscriminate firing at protestors but they were not moving back an inch.[/pullquote]On August 11, 2008, I read valley’s local newspaper Rising Kashmir. The headline was ‘Muzaffarabad Chalo Today’.The sub-headline mentioned one of the protesters statements as ‘We will reach Muzarrafabad even if bullets pierce us’. That statement stroke my mind, how that is possible, if everything was normal till yesterday then how the sentiment emerged suddenly among the common people in valley. I was amazed to see that. On the same day in the morning, I was standing at Qamarwari to see the huge procession that was coming from downtown to march on the way to Muzaraffabad. I witnessed the processions was reverberating with freedom slogans with great fervor, as it reached at Cement Bridge, Qamarwari police started indiscriminate firing at protestors but they were not moving back an inch. On the same day in the evening, one of the senior separatist leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz was also killed along with several protestors. That day was full of chaos while tension had gripped the whole valley. On the next day, the banner was ‘Slogans got bullets, 8 killed’, in Greater Kashmir. Another mass uprising started in Kashmir, people on the streets raising the slogan of Azaadi, but in response people were killed with a license to kill that was given to the Indian forces by the Indian law enforcement agencies to kill people of Kashmir. Many more were killed injured and maimed especially teenagers. Men in uniform had launched a crackdown on stone throwers, that incited more anger among the common Kashmiri which resulted in a worst situation with no end to killings, street protests, indefinite protests, marches, arrests and atrocities were on the peak. Local cable TV channels were banned; even local dailies of valley were censored for weeks. People prefer to switch over social networking sites like Facebook where they started to lodge protests against the unabated killings done by Indian forces. After that, I was curious to know the political history of Kashmir.
Influence of books
Books have always been inspirational for me- self-development and motivational books especially quotations that I always love to read from the great authors. Like Great people don’t do different things they do things differently by Shiv Khera. On knowledge, I only know that I know nothing by Socrates.
When I read Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer and Until my freedom has come edited by Sanjay Kak then it became inevitable for me to read history that I once hated and philosophy, political science is interrelated with each other which helps me in comprehending the realpolitik of the world.
There has been a much impact from the 2008-2010 Kashmir unrest. I chose journalism field in the year 2011, my insight about the world has altogether changed by reading international politics and current affairs. After experiencing all this, I believe it’s the time that has constructed my reality.
Unfortunately, the comparison trend is still continuing in my family because I am the only member who has landed in the field of chaotic world where craft and skill matters, scores barely. Now it doesn’t matter what people think of me but the thing is that what I think of myself.
Aaqib is a student of MA Convergent Journalism at Central University of Kashmir.