Káśmīra, the Sanskrit word of Kashmir; or Kasheer, the Kashmiri word for Kashmir; only inscribed in the pages of the books or in minds similarly as how the beloved land “Maej Kasheer”- the Mother Kashmir set aside in the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. The paradise was only known as the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range.
Today, Cashmere or the modern Kashmir encompasses a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract. During the British Raj, the population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was 2,905,578; of these, 2,154,695 (74.16%) were Muslims, 689,073 (23.72%) Hindus, 25,828 (0.89%) Sikhs, and 35,047 (1.21%) Buddhists and implying 935 (0.032%) others recorded in the 1901 Census. Now the total population of India’s division of Jammu and Kashmir is 12,541,302 and Pakistan’s division of Kashmir is 2,580,000 and Gilgit-Baltistan is 870,347.
“Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” (“POK”) or “Pakistan-held Kashmir” (“PHK”) refer to the territory under Pakistan control by the Government of India and Indian sources; and “Indian-occupied Kashmir” (“IOK”) or “Indian-held Kashmir” (IHK) refer to the portion of Kashmir administered by India by the Government of Pakistan and Pakistani sources. But both the countries controlled the parts of the Kashmir region referring to their neutral terms as “Indian-administered Kashmir” and “Pakistani-administered Kashmir”. Each country- India and Pakistan eyed the whole Kashmir, soured their relations, and which only ignited the flames of crises and huge surge to the Maej Kasheer wounds in her womb and the aftermath witnessed the loss of this heavenly pristine land. The timeless fond dialogue that stands for Kashmir “Doodh Mangoge To Kheer Denge Kashmir Mangoge Cheer Denge” was better off to hear or read on magazines because it is never in practise but only the different provinces across the world greed more and more of Kashmir and ended a versatile war zone. The struggle of Kashmiri people is very old historically and prolong.
The waves of shocks and the vicious cycle of their pains and their battling to serve the lives dignifying the way are very hard day by day. Now and then the images brought up by the Medias of the current affairs of the Kashmiri people and how the Kashmir was maimed since 1947-1948 war to own the Kashmir by the India and the Pakistan, and gifted the Maej Kasheer a renowned name: “the disputed-land” throughout the worldwide decades after decades. The present Kashmir moiled in the smoky haze of crises is an outcome of seven decades of injustice over them because the Kashmiri people and their Kashmir choose to furnish the path of their own destiny themselves. Why does Kashmir remain cursed and how can the other half of the world fully fledged to enjoy the basic rights i.e. their fundamental rights (the right over Education, the right over Equality before Law, the right over their Freedom)? If ever the existence of the tales of heaven lore are true stories, then quintessential parts of paradise are nothing but it is here called the Kashmir.
Saddened about the present lives; this heavenly land has turned out to be a battleground for three competing nationalisms: Indian, Pakistani and the aspirant Kashmiri nationalism. The Kashmiris think that they have historically been deprived of agency over their own political dispensation by two feuding nations, India and Pakistan and are almost a role to fit in as a “jugular vein”. The pains and sores don’t rest there; when with Modi, as the Prime Minister of India, appraise and sprint of tsunami of democratic India has dramatically ballooned, which has greatly impacted Kashmir, and Indian Muslims in particular; soon we may cure the epidemic disease the novel coronavirus but it is an aorta of doubt struggling to sustain the community in must privileged way. The drought mushroomed more into their lives when the rituals of abrogation of Article 370 began. This revocation doomed the entire basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s instrument of accession to the Indian union and has rendered India as a mere colonizer even after the years of truly independence.
Unfortunately this never worked in calmness, the denial in property rights and Kashmir citizenship to outsiders, which was only prime concern to secure a separate identity for Jammu and Kashmir region; but therefore, the quest for their right to self-determination, Kashmiris have tried every possible pace for the lat past 90 years; “the ballots, the talks, the arms, the stones and the war to sustain the struggle for freedom. They paid around one lakh lives, thousands of children have been orphaned, and women were victimized by sexual abuse, penury and property worth billions of dollars gutted in anti-militancy operations by the Indian security forces. The conflict has taken an expensive and ferocious riotous turn since July 2016 after the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani was killed by Indian Army. Everyday news of death, torture, injuries, cordons, young boys joining militant groups comes from the Kashmir is entertainment where every hearts of Kashmiris are tore up to the blood stains. Time heals everything! Why so then this time doesn’t reach the pristine land? The scenario of the three year old child crying over the body of his grandfather ought to give them sleepless nights but will it haunt soulless Indian people? How does India don’t feel the quavering to witness more imagery of death, destruction, and lifelessness of parents, children, their miseries and lesions? We Indians know it ought to happen because the paradise Kashmir is cursed.
When the lion rise and fall; fall of the regime of the land was bombarded; Kashmir barged the greatest downfall.
The Lion of Kashmir- Sheikh Abdullah was one of the founders of the freedom movement in Kashmir, a personal charisma and symbolised Kashmiri nationalism; who was an instrumental in drafting Article 370 for Kashmir, and was shackled and thrown into prison for fiercely advocating azadi (independent status) for Kashmir. Eventually it was shot down and the Lion of the People was lost in the mist of greed to rule Kashmir. The only reason for the ailing is therefore, the present India dearth leadership that could resolve Kashmir on a discussion table with absolutely no trace of selfishness and ego but full of love, empathy, peace and justice.
When the government authored the New Media Policy it came as a mighty splash to the journalists of Kashmir. Now what can be called a more prisoner when words of journalists and writers are not free to inscribe rather a command to follow from the bureaucrat or a police officer who will now decide what news is and what is not? On such a heartache situation an associate editor of the largest circulated Urdu newspaper Tameel-I-Irshad, Nazim Nazir, who said “gone are the days when newspapers were carrying stories fearlessly”; and one of the acquainted journalist named Malik Mudasir Reporter District Ramban R/o (Dhak) Neel in Jammu and Kashmir shared how difficult to judge the legitimacy of the true journalism over the present rotten media nowadays. When the mind was free and the head held high; and journalism was a weapon to strive the truth but this days it is much journalism infiltration because it is solely inclined towards the two pillars- a newspaper sub-editor and a government official, leading to government-regulated press dominating the editors carrying any factual story by a reporter in the newspaper. And of course with this policy in mind, an editor will never risk carrying a story which will put a reporter in trouble.
This is the new trace of journalism in the contemporary; believes in permeation of created stories into the minds rather than the rise and reflection of truths.
Hurdles in development and growth of Kashmir will prolong. The calmness over the factors such as political disputes and secession, bigotry riots over the Muslim-Hindu or other habitants, the education spread out without turmoil, fulfilling businesses through the transport and tourism sectors and their primary livelihood i.e. farming, if began to shape and sculpture soon the paradise will wake up to new forenoon. This will frame a good welfare politic-economy sphere claiming and intriguing the benefits of Kashmiris. The Maej Kasheer has shredded more years in darkness and agony over the time; only in a light of hope to fuelled dissent, mobilised and catalysed the province.
The world is now loyal towards the companionship of inhumane people then having a faith in the instinct of human senses. Because how is it possible that a wailing child in a conflict zone cannot pierce your heart and tear it apart? When humanity dies: the death of feeling is the sign of it. It is too easy to say that it is not a thing to discuss or we had no idea about it. When 116 rebels were killed in January, handing a blow to the armed rebellion that broke out nearly 30 years ago against Indian rule. Was this not an offensive launched by Indian forces in Kashmir? The bitter faces, the scholars to teenagers for picking guns. Though it is not justified to the spirit but here in Kashmir, it is more owing to the dark future and slippage of mainstreams.
The cloud of danger and uncertainty of life is a bijouterie in the soils of this land. Being human is given but keeping our humanity is a choice. If our choice desires to find the lost paradise, we pray to the end of miseries of the Maej Kasheer and the Kashmiri people working on a solution to the crises. The solution to every crisis seems a mark ought to be easy but the real solution is when it is executed sincerely with a promise of selflessness to serve and more of love and the spirit of attitude to save Kashmir.
(Writer is Advocate at Gauhati High Court)