Sep 30, 2023
Sep 30, 2023
by Shoaib Rafiq
The story dates back to the era when humans started to cocoon out of their ancestral goblins. It was the common strategy applied to eradicate the unwanted-resilient–vulnerable-fringe populations. This is the tale of humiliation and further humiliation, the history of humankind.
With the advent of the 20th century, this trait has replicated and survives as multiple copies in our DNA. We inherit it, Xerox it and keep it. It’s showcased in our libraries, beautifully printed in the wide reaching newspapers. Our prime time TV and the hollow discussions on the news channels and their content are full of it.
I understand the humiliation as a common Egyptian does. He immolates himself in a frenzy to acclaim justice from the economic and social clampdown erected by the shark eyed dictator, strengthened by the most democratic state of the world. I feel like an adolescent Palestinian, who weaves the tales of his homeland as he has heard from his defeated, dispersed and exiled ancestors. I walk in the crude wooden boots of an Adivasi, who lives for a day – everyday, to retain his land and the way of life. I’m a Kashmiri.
Write it down, ‘hoisting a flag or not, would make no difference either to Kashmiris or to the BJP’. While as, seeing the ignominy of the majority on a small climaxing Kashmiri populace and the shielded-chauvinistic media and society, does. It’s a game of disgracing, who can and who cannot. It’s about power/ powerlessness, arrogance/ humiliation and between blade and flesh.
How would it be to the one who faces the humiliation on a day in and day out? One who grew up in the atmosphere of mortification and brooded in the same. How would it be, once, when the subjects look into the eyes of the master with anger, anguish and pain and ask for his due as fellow human beings? Should we appreciate him for doing so or shall we chaperone ourselves within the cloth of shame and lair. And value our flamboyancy in the boxed cities with its boxed apartments and boxed lives.
Humiliation is the common thread that connects all these zones of un-equivalency. India and its ever mounting presence in the region with its military might, reminds every Kashmiri of all the pretences, fictitious agreements and the blood spill Kashmir has witnessed since India’s inception as a country. What moral right does soldiers from the planes have to identity check us, the mountain people, is the cry of every commoner here. Who have lived here since the time immemorial, played with its waters and have become one with its folklore. Then, to detain and languish them in some notorious jails, and call it Papa2 or Cargo. What a euphemism! Kill them in the most atrocious fake encounters and label them as terrorists as well as one of their own, in the same breath. Royal trickery. Than come one day, after killing 135 young men and women (for a year, all unarmed protesters), with the tri-colour in hand and the saffron flag hidden in the armpit – to claim the region.
As a young boy, every evening I used to walk down a mile to the infamous Lal-chowk, to gain contentment that my father was alright. All of my peers did, too. We Rosary our relations, keep them closed in our fists and hearts. We count them on our finger tips. The sight of the military-wala was one of the most excruciate spectacle to us. We used to run away at the sight of a military convoy. Young and old, men and women, all squeezing in the byzantine lanes and by-lanes of Srinagar. Shying away from the ardent eyes of the men in uniform, who have been brought to police us. Police us? A humane cry creaks out of my bosom while writing this, where we not supposed to be humans. Are we, less humans or a herd of sheep, whose destiny is decided by the zealous nationalists and the deserters over a cup of coffee in a cosy and pompous news studio.
In these intervening years locals were killed – absconded - maimed, women raped and children orphaned. The titular commissions were appointed and broken. The justice remained the farfetched fable. One only used to read it in the government crafted text books. The sex-rackets were unearthed, in which many politicians, police and military- men were caught and released. Every single fabric of the society was torn and our society was tattered into bits. Kashmir was turned into the quagmire of the spies and counter-spies. More than humiliation, I believe its felony.
Society is like a giant animal. It has loose ends, but once dazed it tries to bounce back to the normalcy. The young Kashmiri boys today, gaze into the eyes of one who petrified his parents and grandparents. He is dauntless, with stone in hand; his heart has turned into a stone. I’m perplexed by the appalling number of youth, from respectable lineage and well to do families, turning up in arms or without them, against the powerful and almighty state. However, who is driving them to do so, is not a million dollar question. No doubt the political settlement remains as the crux of it, but it’s the humiliation and added humiliation that acts as the catalyst.
While the state is all obsessed about its power and fictional rise in the economy, it has become callous to the millions who suffer of resistance. Resistance has become new terrorism. In fact, we all know the truth. Even those in the studios or the ones who speak in the parliaments, we are abreast with our dichotomy, but we like to remain silent and speak oblivion. Speak oblivion until the resistance dies of the slow brain haemorrhage.
What would the master prove by hoisting a flag in the devastated and gutted state of its slaves? How brave it would be to imprison the entire frightened population indoors or in captivity or underground, then to unfurl the flag to the troupe of military boots and the cold gun barrels.
To the single flag they hoist here, we unfurl the thousands and lacks of black banners – embedded in our hearts, like the assemblage of wounds we had suffered and are still suffering with.
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