A nation builds on the power of collective efforts of a society that are shaped by the directions of its intellectuals. The foundations of a society that are conceptualized and build by intellect are the ones which sustain the ravages of time and the erosion of social incumbency. Hordes of doctors, engineers, lawyers and bureaucrats may be tagged intellectuals by common lexicon, but in reality the ones who work for the continuity of a set social order often oiling their own gears & purses by their professional positions they hold are no real intellectuals. The real intellectuals are the ones, who stand up for cause, speak for a positive change, hold the hands of downtrodden and the deprived: often getting into a collision course against the social oligarchs, seeking with an unconstrained vision. Fortunately for a society intellect is not inherited down the family, unfortunately for the intellectuals they often become victims of the countervailing forces of venality and nepotism. A vibrant society must have mechanisms of intellectual peace and social safety accorded to that peace, in order to thrive. And if you want to destroy a society top down, it is this intellectual peace that is targeted, this social safety that is nullified.
Kashmir conflict has held a no bars policy of killing, erasing: traumatizing a society repetitively. All sections of society having been targeted generally, the erasure of our intellectual class has been selective and systematic. When they kill the intellectual they just don’t kill the human, they intend to kill the process of change associated with him, the thought of resistance, they try to subdue the efforts of social rebuild and renaissance. The killing of an intellectual is the murder of a voice ; silencing the agent of change. The intellectuals and thinking minds of a conflict zone have always to walk on a thin line in the middle of extreme forces, often running the risk of antagonizing either or both: a formidable task. All along the decades of conflict there has been a widespread feeling that Kashmir is witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy its intellectual life, to create a thought vacuum and to neutralize any efforts of positive social and political change. The killing of every intellectual is followed by the blame games of state and non state forces, and in none of the circumstances has follow up justice been dispensed. The state takes a lame refuge in its preoccupation with the law and order, the ‘in the greater interest of national security’ repertoire, while the non state forces take refuge in ‘state stronger and more reachable than us’ and ‘state out to defame’; thus both shredding any accountability and blame. In the friction of this conflict it is the society that gets crushed, pulverized and ground.
The killing of Maulana Showkat today at Gawkadal is another ghastly reminder of the intent of the extreme forces of this conflict. We shall soon have the blame game running full steam, but none of the rants of these blaming opponents can and will repair the loss to our society, nor is there any hope of dispensation of justice. By erasing the thought leaders and social torch bearers of Kashmir, these extreme forces are forcing intellect desolation and inanity on us where in the society is left in disarray with blanked out social progression paths. This is nothing short of forcing an intellect holocaust on Kashmir. Maulana Showkat’s social contribution is well established; his efforts to improve the education standards of Kashmiri’s led him to work for the creation of the Trans World Muslim University in Kashmir under the aegis of JAH, which was to work under the guidelines of the western educational policy. His killing follows the irreparable loss of leading minds of Kashmir over these years, who have been eliminated under the cloak of Kashmir conflict by internecine and slaughterous forces, who disregard all rules of engagement and human cost in this blind war.
The killing of Dr. Guru (1st April 1993), an intellect, a reformer and a visionary whose bullet ridden body was found abandoned. The tragedy followed the funereal procession of Dr Guru, when Indian security forces fired on the funeral and killed Ashiq, brother in-law of Dr Guru (who was holding the coffin) on way to his burial. The blood soaked dead body of Ashiq had to be picked by his own father in the middle of Barzulla chowk, the crowd of mourners having been dispersed by the unprovoked firing. How heavy a burden of a fathers shoulder!
Jaleel Andrabi (killed on 8th March 1996) was taken away by forces personnel on the Indira Gandhi road; his dead body was later dumped with torture marks all over it. The case against the killer Major (who is also accused of killing 11 persons including Andrabi) has been proven in the court, the culprits arrest ordered: but that is where it stands till now, justice beyond a court order has eluded for want of state action and will.
Dr. Farooq Ahmad Ashai, (killed in 1993) a noted orthopedic specialist and a human rights activist was killed by gunshots from a CRPF bunker in Barzulla, targeted at him. A void unfilled, a gap open left in our society.
Pandit Hriday Nath Wanchoo (killed in 1992) who voiced concern about human rights in Kashmir and had filed numerous writ petitions against custodial deaths was shot by assailants silencing one more sane voice from Kashmir. The writ petitions consigned to quiescence and muteness, the voice having been subject to a permanent lull.
Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq (killed 21 May 1990) and Abdul Ghani Lone, (killed 21 May 2002) were two towering political voices from Kashmir who were shot and killed, forcing contraction of sane political discourse in Kashmir. In none of the case was any justice dispensed.
The list seems unending, all major faculties, all schools of thought of our society having been trampled, decimated. I quote from one of my earlier blog
“In his rage the imposer had also felled many mind humans, scholars, intellects who were guillotined for their thoughts, decimated for their value. They were made extinct to make this nation deprived of a road direction; the imposer uprooted the milestones, the path markers of the nation. We were being robbed of our guiding minds.”
In their fight for annexing our land these forces have murdered our bodies, killed our souls and guillotined our intellect. The real intent of these killings being to dismantle the holding pillars of our society, fragmenting us into smaller and divided units, making of ease the trampling efforts over us. This forced hollowness on our society aims at making us collapse from within, create delusions and speedup our extinction.
How many more to this unending list, till our society realizes the oblivion and desolation that we are being forcefully herded into? Expecting justice from any of the forces, the state or the non state is self deceit. Both the state and the non state cherish our body count, build on our misery and capitalize on our disarray. If we don’t speak up against this felony of thinking minds, this forced annihilation and carnage now; we may not retain the faculties and prowess to speak up again.
We can live as a lemming’s society and collectively, silently walk to our destruction or we can speak up, condemn and speak for justice in one voice and be heard. But the time to speak up is now.
"I know that they pursue me and will kill me. It is a matter of time; I will be killed in a month or two or less ... but I prefer to die for my ideas than on a bed of illness or aging." Lounes Matoub, the Algerian singer, poet and intellectual days before his assassination.
The killers may have physically killed these scholars and intelligentsia but they could not silence their thoughts, could not erase the ideals they stood for and cannot falsify the truth they believed in.
Friday, 08th April 2011