Solidarity with Palestine through a Kashmiri Prism

As we are in the last 10 days of holy month of Ramazan, this month reminded of 2010 protests in Kashmir by seeing and hearing the disgusting war upon Palestine people by Israel. Even the Pre Ramazan days were also having a somber political air, firstly because of the ISIS conquests if Iraqi Territory and the killings of three Israel and one Palestine youth which were covered widely by the media around the globe. Belonging and brought up in a place of conflict has some effect on how you think and what makes you interested so being interested in the Iraq issue and also Palestinian cause was natural to most of my fellow people. Just like you have a thousand and one views on Kashmir issue, same thing happened over Iraq. Well Palestine was an exception, as any Human in his senses cannot tolerate the Israel aggression currently so we had a rare opportunity especially on social media where voices were united against Israel for Palestine. Of course there were Israel supporters too from the Indian heartland. In the Pre Ramazan days when majority of Muslims were vocally against what ISIS was doing in Iraq, and also knowing that the Iraq Government is also responsible for the macabre condition prevailing there, there was a minority sitting on the couches like us all supporting the ISIS and when ISIS declared self-proclaimed Caliphate on 1st Ramazan, the joys of supporters of self-proclaimed Caliphate hit the roof top. And when asked why your joy has hit the roof top, their views were disgusting like they would abolish other sects who will not comply with what ISIS says, they will destroy Shia Masjids and Sunni Shrines, etc. and all this was propped by the so-called educated class. Also interesting to know was that the school of thought considered closest to them (the followers of official Saudi school) were also hand in hand with other Muslims in ignoring the self-proclaimed Caliphate. Anyhow this issue got overshadowed by the Israel aggression on Gaza. Gaza has been bombarded three times over last decade with huge casualties and yet Israel continues to get support of nations without an outcry. This Ramazan has all been about getting numbers of killed in Gaza during ‘Sehari’ and ‘Iftar’ time. A global outcry by the people all over the world irrespective of religion even Jews included who are against the blatant racist Zionism. How can Kashmir remain far behind ? Kashmiris always felt for Palestine whether Pre Militancy or Post Militancy. The elder ones still remember Yasser Arafat. Some people say that we have nothing to do with the Gaza issue are speaking a white lie straight on your face. If that would have been not the case, there would not have been a death of a 15-year-old boy at the hands of security forces in Kulgam, Kashmir who was protesting against Israel aggression on Gaza. Every where protests happened but no deaths were reported but continuing the tradition in Kashmir, the trigger happy forces killed this young boy. To top it all, this twitter savvy chief minister who probably has no understanding of grass root level politics and psyche of Kashmiris took a dig on those ‘organizing and orchestrating these protests’. This man should look at his own party, National Conference, who themselves were also protesting in front of the UNMOGIP office, thankfully with no candles in this summer day. The chief minister has left no stone un-turned in shaming Kashmiris on social media platform and has also not taken any lessons from 2010 protests where over 120 young ones died under his vigil. His only dictum seems, ‘Damned be Me, Damned be the people’. I see no difference in being apologetic & giving idiotic reasons for the death of the 15-year-old boy and those who are supporting Israel in India. Strange that a country who was once a supporter of Palestine nationhood has now become the closest nation of Zionists, after all now Israel is the largest weapon supplier to India. Also we would see the experts on News TV Channels openly supporting Israel aggression under the garb of decimating HAMAS. Well most of these experts out of straight hatred for Muslims have come out of cupboard with the Hindu Right wing party in power. These so-called experts act as blind when told about History of Palestine. Not only these experts but also a part of Indian intelligentsia parrot the same narrative of Israel. Well it is not surprising for me, if Indians have elected a right-wing party this year, that wave is continued by organizing social media campaigns by being in favor of Israel. I would like to emphasize whether there be HAMAS or no HAMAS, Israel aggression against Palestinians would continue as it was in past and those who are giving this self defense of Israel theory should read History of Palestine but alas! They even don’t know the History of Kashmir so i don’t expect much from the Indian trumpeters of Israel. The solidarity for Palestine cause by a common Kashmiri was there, is there and will be there even if India supports or not supports Israel.

If the establishment is expecting the anger against Israel to tone down which in turn is also a manifestation of anger against the Forces in Kashmir then they are wrong. Take for example the summer vacations in Kashmir schools were ordered a bit earlier from 15th July so as to thwart the protests but the protests still happened and till date it has resulted in one death. With Quds Day (on Last Friday of Ramazan or Jummatulvida) round the corner which actually was started decades earlier by Iran and is now commemorated all over the Muslim world including Kashmir, the protests are not going to tone down till then at least. With the world getting closer and closer and everyday the civilian death toll in Gaza getting higher and higher which include children and women, all we can do is hope against hope that it would end soon. I would like to end it with Faiz Ahmed Faiz lines,

Duur pardes kee be-meher guzargaahoon main
Ajnabi shahr kee be-naam-o-nishaan raahoon main
Yeh zameen par bhi khulaa merai lahuu ka parcham
Lahlahaata hai wahan Arze-e-Filistin ka Aalam
Terai aaqa ne kiyaa ek Filistin barbaad
Merai zakhmoon ne kiyai kitnai Filistin aabaad

On the unmarked roads of foreign lands,
In the unknown streets of foreign streets 
wherever my blood-stained flag was unfurled
there flourished the flag of Palestine. 
Your enemies destroyed one Palestine 
my wounds populated many a Palestine.

 

NC Debacle In Kashmir in The Modi-fied Phase

As i  am writing, the Right Wing BJP has emerged as the single largest party with Absolute Majority in the Elections 2014 of India and the ruling UPA has been reduced to a miserable double-digit number in the Parliament. As the opinion polls along with the exit polls of various hues had correctly predicted the gain of BJP lead NDA, still there was a counter opinion that the BJP may not win that big because of the faulty exit poll results in last two General Elections but this time they correctly predicted the wave of Modi which many had rubbished as a myth. It is after a very long time in the electoral history of India that a clear mandate has been given to a single party which is also a right-wing party drawing its inspiration from Sangh Parivar. The rise of Modi in India has opened a plethora of questions about in which way India is going which will be probably be answered in coming five years till the next elections. Everyone will have an eye on Modi’s policies from across the border to within the border and how Modi will deal with issues pertaining to Ram Mandir, Article 370, Minority welfare plus the economic issues. As a Kashmiri, like all other fellow citizens of Kashmir, observed the elections with keen eye even though a common Kashmiri knows that whether it be UPA or NDA, Kashmir Policy will remain same. If we look at the overall poll percentage of J&K, it is near about 50% with individual Poll percentages of Jammu as 70% and Kashmir standing at nearly 30%. There appears a clear division on the mood of people present in both regions with majority of Kashmiris not wanting to vote & majority of Jammuites wanting to vote. Looking at the results, out of the 6 Parliament Seats in J&K, PDP has bagged all 3 seats & BJP in Jammu has bagged the remaining 3 seats, two from Jammu & one from Ladakh leaving the coalition government of NC-Congress to bite the dust. Although Kashmiris by and large hadn’t voted in the elections but still everyone wanted to know the result for the curiosity purpose. Many pundits had predicted that PDP will do well in the Kashmir seats but this came as a surprise that they went on marching on all the three seats of Kashmir leading to defeat of veterans like Dr. Farooq Abdullah & his two associates.

APRIL 13, 2002 - FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE  TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR.  FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO
APRIL 13, 2002 – FAROOQ ABDULLAH, then part of NDA, JUMPED INTO THE DAL LAKE TO MARK THE TWO DAY BAISHAKI FESTIVAL AIMED AT ATTRACTING TOURISTS AND REVIVE TOURISM IN KASHMIR. FAROOQ IS SEEN SWIMMING IN WORLD FAMOUS DAL LAKE . PTI PHOTO

Let me remind you all that these Kashmir elections came after a series of catastrophic events in Kashmir with a government headed by Omar Abdullah whose tenure will be remembered more on Twitter than in real books. The way Omar Abdullah led coalition has been routed is something to be worth discussing. After all with the Shopian Gang-rape flip-flop incident in 2009, 2010 mass protests against excesses of security forces leading to death of around 120 men, the J&K Cricket board scandal with Dr. Farooq Abdullah involved & the state government’s silence on Afzal Guru’s hanging in 2013, how can anyone dismiss the backlash of all these years of miss-governance. If we look at the state of affairs of Omar Abdullah Government, it appears only on Twitter through his tantrums. Mr. Omar Abdullah would be only head of state who would curtail the internet connection of his own subjects & go on giving messages for the general public through that medium. If anything we could deduce from the messages he posts during tough times, it appears as if he got a dictation from corridors of Delhi and he is reciting back the words pampered to him for the Indian Media. Even during the current election campaign he shot up with statements which appeared more of arrogance than as a head of state, that he is not accountable to those people who don’t vote in the elections, crossing all limits of decency of the chair he is holding through the glue provided by Delhi. How can the legitimate anger which everyone holds against the regime of National Conference be not foreseen trough the tremors which was felt on May 16 ? How can Dr Farooq Abdullah who had a Kashmiri speaking father tell that fellow Kashmiris are ‘Mahachors’ & get away with it ? For how much long Kashmiris have to bear the tantrums of Delhi by imposing on us the Abdullah Family & not doing anything to solve the Kashmir problem. How long before a Kashmiri CM who in a state assembly says, ‘Main kya karsakta hoon’ on Killings done by security forces ? How long before the Abdullah clan raise the bogey of Secularism & all that stuff which by the way no one buys in Kashmir. These are legitimate questions which a Kashmiri always asks to Kashmir policy makers in Delhi but gets no reply.

Having said everything against NC, it is not that PDP will do wonders, if one is an evil the other has been accused to be a lesser evil and at times the collective lesser evil has done also a damage to the Kashmiri psyche. With results pouring and with it  jubilation of Modi supporters across India being seen, across the border, Mian Nawaz Shareef has congratulated Modi & also invited Modi to visit Pakistan which may be seen as a positive signal from Pakistan having a will to cooperate on Kashmir issue and it seems that Pakistan is less concerned how Modi is viewed internally in the country. We all know that BJP is against Article 370 which is actually now only a symbolic article ( which Congress Party at Center has made hollow in all these years) in Indian Constitution which lays the foundation of Kashmir acceding to India, whether Modi is going to touch it or not is going to be seen in future. Although Article 370 bogey is run by National Conference to hoodwink the Kashmiri public yet the public knows that National Conference has been a party to the erosion of Article 370 all these years.

In the post Modi scenario, definitely across all spectrums there will be an introspection that what lead to rise of Modi and what lead to fall of Congress. Definitely the fall of Congress has more to do with the rise of Modi. The desperate measures of UPA 2 like the hanging of Afzal Guru out of his turn & not returning the dead body to his family will definitely haunt Congress and its partner NC in Kashmir for years to come. The scams done by UPA, the passing of Bills in Parliament hastily, the ever arrogant attitude of Congress men, the failure to estimate the popularity of AAP in Delhi, having a weak PM candidate who delivered wretched speeches in election rallies, etc all lead to the downfall of Congress which stand as a two digit Party. Saying this i know Congress Party will do a home work rightly next time or next next time but of National Conference, i assure you all, even all the perfumes of Arabia & all the wisdom in Humanity will not help the National Conference and its first family to have a soul-searching within self because their souls remain buried somewhere in North & South Blocks of Delhi at unknown destination there.

Indian Media’s obsession with Young India Protests in Delhi

Last few days has been one of the busiest days for media in Delhi with the bigwigs of media going live from Raisana Hill & India Gate as the protests are going on over the gruesome gang-rape incident which happened in a bus in Delhi. It has been a week & the girl still remains in critical condition. The media reports say that the clash in Raisina Hill resulting in over 100 injuries has been the biggest since 1991 & which continued the next day also with more injuries including a cop battling for his life. The protesters which represent the young generation demanding action be taken against the accused arrested swiftly & there be a stricter laws for punishment of heinous crimes of this type. Well the situation now has turned a little bit violent & the media seems to be in a frenzy mode by constantly focusing not on the issue itself rather on how the young people in the Delhi Metro want to spring up a new spring & India has woken up just now. Well seems the media forgot that in case of Anna Hazare agitation earlier, same connotation of new found romanticism with protests were used. With every protest in Delhi, the comparison with Arab Spring is done loosely which started two years back. Media constantly pointing out Jantar Mantar, Raisana Hill or India Gate are India’s Tahrir Square. Why not ! The Arab spring was successful & is currently going on to uproot the regimes. But can the media don’t go far away to the Lands of Arabia & come back to north of Delhi & also rewind the time to the summer of 2010 in Kashmir. Can’t the media draw the similarity or you believe the dictum that public memory is short & lets catch what is hot. Here the media is criticizing with its head on that the police force used in Delhi is excessive & with excessive they say water cannons & Tear Gas Shells. Both interesting & intriguing to know that no gunfire is used & may it not be used yet the media say it is our Tahrir Square. In Arab Spring, in any country, every sphere was involved but here in India, the protest hasn’t at all been some pan-India movement apart from some minor protests in some cities. Well it doesn’t matter whether protests are held all over India or not but the thing is that why is the media pinning so much hope on the protests ? There were protests in Kashmir in 2010 too. What happened ? Excessive or you can say harsh & brutal force was used to quell the protests in Kashmir but very few in the heartland opposed it just all in the name of nationalism & when force of water cannons & tear gas shells are used against the protesters, media says the Delhi Police needs reforms ! Is the young India in Delhi just violent & the young Kashmir some obnoxious species ? Yes, the anti-social elements are there, were in Kashmir protests too, no doubt but that does not paint the whole picture black. You say that when stones are used, bottles are hurled on policeman, wooden poles are uprooted at India Gate, they are due to oozing of emotions & should be duly addressed but use different yardstick for Kashmir which had led to over 100 deaths of youngsters in 2010 & no restraint was used. There too emotions were oozing, they too had hearts pouring in grief, not also to forget to mention that the conscience of youngsters were jolted. They too were the representatives of young Kashmir. There also the civil society was aghast over the brutal use of force & called for police reforms but none in the media listened. From 2008 – 09 – 10, many people died due to the excessive use of force in controlling the riots, never heard of any punishment in Kashmir. May be the media thought that it is not fashionable just because of this K conundrum. Last two years have been dormant & government says that they are fully prepared in controlling any riot in Kashmir but can the past be forgotten ? It keeps on flashing back when the protests in Delhi are seen on Television sets. Had the Indian media & the elite been as outraged as they are now, some expectations i would have thought but i see the success of the ongoing protests as very bleak. Media is throwing weight behind this agitation in Delhi just for the sake of it, we know it, Kashmiris have had their bitter experience. The people of India haven’t yet understood, they are pinning hopes on the government to do some miracles. They think that system will change by these protests, little do they know the designs & the games of the politicians. The young India hasn’t understood India but a common man in Kashmir has understood how India works so he will easily brush off these Tahrir like connotations. If young India thinks that standing up on iron poles will lead to anything then they should know Kashmiris have conquered & climbed the famous tall clock tower in Srinagar many times to address their demands & it hasn’t helped. Getting baton charged by Policemen will also get you nothing except some bruises. The system just plays with you & your emotions & fools you with the help of the lip movements of the constantly babbling politicians who run the system. The whole media saga reminds me of tweets of a popular Female TV journalist who faces the nation at night in India. In August, 2000 at the height of the protests in Kashmir, she had written, ‘In kashmir, little boys are dying or getting hurt.In rest of india, rich mums,dads converting india into a playground for their spoilt brats.‘ Another tweet was, ‘Kashmir’s future shd surely be decided by the kashmiri people. Not by India’s armed forces.’   As more than two years have passed & still the journalist appears optimistic that the system will deliver by constantly beaming from Ground Zero in Delhi, she is either fooling herself or making a fool of us by constantly igniting false hopes. I have not pinned any hopes that the current outrage over the heinous issue will reach to any logistic conclusion as the issues fizz out sooner or later here. India being said as a reactionary nation is rightly called because due to the vastness in incompetence bugging the governance as whenever they try to fix an issue, another hole props up to sink the ship & the vicious cycle continues leading to forgetfulness of earlier issue. Besides don’t understand the logic of protesters that harsher punishment will stop the crime as i think the problem is that the already existing laws are not applied with full conviction. India being a patriarchal society has to change its attitude towards women not just by words but by showing the respect. And as far as Police over-reaction is concerned, have a look on Kashmir, you will not talk anything on the police action in Delhi then. A week has passed since the incident, the girl is still not out of danger. Let us hope the media doesn’t forget her in the wake of the globalized Christmas celebration & the Indo-Pak cricket series going to start this week. Merry Christmas…..