(Editor’s note: A heartrending piece by our Kashmiri brother Saif Ali Budgami, who is appearing here on Mouqawamah Music again after his brilliant essay ‘When Kashmir Was Sold By The Oppressors For A Paltry Gain’ was among the week’s most viewed articles. Here, Saif documents the rise of Hindutvadi abuses against Kashmiris inside and outside the Vale and answers the question routinely asked about why Kashmiris take up arms with a simple yet even more poignant question, “How would you feel if it was you?” Powerful work which will pave the way for true understanding of Kashmiri rage and allow us to increase our Striking Star Solidarity with the people of the Valley to higher, more efficient levels. Minor edits were made for accuracy. ~ Jonathan “Madd Cold” Azaziah)
by Saif Ali Budgami
Salaam dear readers. Don’t get frustrated. Be sure that this is actually all about Kashmir and the injustices that are all done in Kashmir. Let’s go together to see what’s happening inside Paradise Kashmir. You may not believe it, but you definitely should. Because the horrors we experience are all true. And yes! It has been happening for decades.
The journey starts as crimes against Kashmiri people outside Kashmir are rising day by day. People, who had left their homes to adjust to a so-called peaceful environment, either to make their careers or to uplift their lifestyle and earn their daily livelihood. The students who went for studies have been mercilessly thrashed and driven out of their homes, colleges and universities. The property of businessmen has been looted, destroyed and vandalized and they too have been kicked out of their homes. Nowhere, but in the world’s so-called largest democracy.
This all took place after the Pulwama IED blast on the 14th of February, 2019 that resulted in the death of 41 CRPF occupation soldiers and many others wounded. On one hand, after the blast, militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad took responsibility. On the other hand, India blamed Pakistan for the attack. Pakistan had denied it at the first go. After the attack, Indian media presented this incident in such a way that everyone would hold Kashmiri people responsible and it labeled all Kashmiris as terrorists. Simultaneously, a unique slogan in the Hindi language decorated the whole of India. The slogan was, “Kashmir Ko Barbaad Karo, Bharat ko Azaad Karo (Destroy Kashmir, Free India)”. And anything opposite would be labeled “anti-national”. The next day, the wild and inhuman rays of “patriotism” and Hindutvadi ultra-nationalism enlightened so called patriotic Jammu, the winter capital of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Sixteen persons were injured and approximately thirty cars belonging to Kashmirs were burnt to ashes. And these “patriotic” flames engulfed all of India within hours. Social media networks were adorned with the videos, pictures and contents showing hundreds of Kashmiri students, traders and businessmen being callously and pitilessly beaten up and lashed to the ground.
North India was also at the top of the list in its show of pure nationalism and “patriotism” in beating and looting Kashmiris. On Friday, social media networks were filled with the videos of the incident that was shared by millions of people, which showed the Kashmiri traders being beaten and their fabric property vandalized. The Kashmiri traders were consistently trying to defend themselves and exclaiming how they could be held responsible for that attack. The more “patriotic” thing was that the video on social media received thousands of comments and most of the commenters were in lockstep, expressing high appreciation and boosting the Hindutvadi goons for beating the Kashmiri traders.
In Ambala, a village panchayat forced house owners to evict Kashmiri people. Similarly in Dehradun, many female Kashmiri students locked themselves up in their rooms and houses out of fearing of sexual assault after hundreds of people had gathered and threatened them. And “brave, patriotic” goons had no fear admitting that they were targeting Kashmiri girls in the town openly. In addition to this, there were more dangerous cases recorded in other places, like Maharashtra, Aligarh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Haryana and Delhi. Many cases went unregistered. And likewise a tragic incident took place in the capital city of India, Delhi! An engineering student of RIMT University in Punjab from Hassan Abad Srinagar had to visit Delhi and in the evening hours, at least five nationalist goons caught him in the middle of the road and started frisking him before snatching his wallet as they saw his identity card addressed with Kashmir. They all pounced on him and whipped him to the ground ruthlessly.
Despite all these tragic scenes, we did witness some people who prioritized humanism rather than nationalism and “patriotism”. They offered Kashmiri brethren a place to be safe from inhuman nationalism. However, the people who rescued or wished to rescue Kashmiri people have been labeled as “Anti-Nationals” and “Pakistani supporters”. The biggest and leading so-called “Anti-National” group was Khalsa Aid, an international nonprofit and relief organization, run by the Sikh community. But its relief and help is not limited to the Sikh community only. Rather, it serves the needy and all of humanity. They did rescue thousands of Kashmiri students and gave them security until they were able to return to their homes safely. After Kashmiris witnessed the real essence of humanism over “patriotism” from our Sikh brothers, thousands of Kashmiri businessmen, schools, hospitals and clinics offered various free services, including admissions, courses, medicines and even surgeries to the Sikh community. It was a reminding to all those Hindutvadi goons that “Love begets love, and hate begets hate.”
After all this inhumanity and wild mistreatment of Kashmiris by Indian nationalists, the Indian regime and its allies in the populace want and expect we Kashmiris to welcome them with bouquets of flowers. And those nationalists who think so are totally wrong. They will all get the opposite of their expectations. Human instincts will surely compel all the victims to find any chance to take vengeance upon their oppressors.
In reality, it is India and Indian oppression of the Kashmiri people that compel Kashmiri youth to take up arms. All these incidents are the practical evidences of their recruitment nationally. I want to ask these patriotic and nationalist Indians: Please, you tell me! How will an MBBS student will react to you when he was ruthlessly beaten and driven away from his home after spending his three or four years to get a medical degree, and his parents are standing by eagerly waiting for their son to return as a doctor with that aforesaid medical degree?
You tell me! How will an engineering student react to India, after he was wildly thrashed by more than 30 Hindutvadi goons with bamboo poles in front of his classmates, teachers and friends? His parents were impatiently waiting him to present them the gift of the engineering degree and release them from the hardships they had been consistently facing. They were helping make their son’s career in the college he was ultimately kicked out of.
Your nationalism should accept such reactions from Burhan Wani to Manan Wani! We see that it is your nationalism and “patriotism” which have pushed them to pick up guns. When you pledge to block all the ways of the people to survive, they feel easy to die for their own cause rather than to live for you. You know all these students and businessmen had left their homeland actually trying to escape from the conflicted and disturbed environment; they tried to run away from the education system which sets only 150 or 160 working days annually due to continuous strikes and shutdowns. They had peaceful and undisturbed expectations from your “patriotism” and nationalism. But alas! They didn’t know they would get certificates of terrorism instead of MBBs, Engineering degrees or Doctorates. When you have already labeled and certified them terrorists, what labels will you give them if they take the step of armed resistance?
Latest version of “patriotism” was recently seen in Luckhnow UP, where Saffron Nationalists beat some Kashmiri dry fruit sellers. And when the man asks them the reason, he proudly and strongly replies, “They are Kashmiri.” It seems the status of simply being Kashmiri in India has become a crime and an act of terrorism now. Is this the nationalism M.K Gandhi had suggested? Is this the “democracy”, that the world is calling “the largest”? Is this the “patriotism” you are proud of? Is this the nationalism you speak of? If yes… Then we Kashmiris are all proud to be “Anti-Nationalists”!