Author: Saadut
•9:27 PM

During my childhood playful kids would aim wildly accompanied with shouts of ‘Yemis lagg’i tem’yis lagg’i sarkaer’ie‘, followed by ‘maharaj saaeb’en ch’e zindgaani’. Not aware then of its real meaning, kids would repeat it only to convey a disclaimer for any hit, target or the resultant loss that may have resulted from their reckless aim. In later years its meaning became more clear ‘whosoever may be hit, I am not responsible’ and ‘only the Maharaja has the right to any life’ (also akin to ‘long like the Monarch’). Surely this saying must have passed on through its practice over centuries of oppressive monarchic yoke, that often treated Kashmiris are bonded slaves, not worth any right to life. Then soldiers of the tyrannical aristocracy or henchmen of the bloodsucking feudal system, when the powerful minority class ruled over the deprived majority; often aiming at, maiming and torturing them to instill fear or force slavery. All this would be done with no fear of consequential justice, driven by feudal impunity and afforded by ‘Yemis lagg’i tem’yis lagg’i sarkaer’ie.

While Kashmiris may not have been any better under the Afghan Durranis (1753) or the Sikh invaders (1819), this slogan is likely to have been coined for the Dogra rule (1846), clearly the most repressive of all eras in Kashmir.

When India and Pakistan transited to democracy post 1947, Kashmir more or less remained the same, where monarchic anarchy was packed by India in democratic wrappers and forcefully retained. And with the continuity of the ruling political anarchy and deprivation of commoners on ground, this ‘Yemis lagg’i tem’yis lagg’i sarkaer’ie’ also continued.

During the reign of Gulab Singh, a governor bragged to Jacque Mont a French traveler, "I hanged 200 Kashmiri Muslims in my first year of office, for no better reason than to frighten others off".

Winding down to year 2010 and the same vicious circle of killings continued. Most of the youth killed in 2010 were not part of any protests while others were killed in non violent protests by Indian forces. According to a recent report by Kashmirs premier health institute SKIMS (‘Profile and Outcome of Violence Related Injuries of Patients During Civilian Unrest’), most of the casualties during 2010 agitations in the Kashmir were as a result of head injuries. Clearly forces of the ruling state were aiming to kill, wanting to inflict maximum human loss on civilians. Ironically the non violent protests of 2010 had been sparked by earlier killings of innocents by Indian forces; killings that were either aimed at winning rewards or just to terrify commoners. That one Governor of Gulab Singh’s rule was now replaced by thousands in uniform, ruled by the same indifferent monarchic class.

G.T Vigne (in ‘Travels in Kashmir, Ladakh, Iskrado ….’page 241 Vol 1, London 1842) writes “He (Gulab Singh) then ordered one or two of the (human) skins to be stuffed with straw; the hands were stiffened, and tied in an attitude of supplication; the corpse was then placed erect; and the head , which had been severed from the body, was reversed as it rested on the neck. The figure was planted by the way side that passersby might see it, and Gulab Singh called his son’s attention to it, and told him to take a lesson in the art of governing”

A reflection of what Gulab Singh did then was visible in ‘The Mass Graves Of Kashmir’, The Guardian (Monday 9 July 2012) which pointed to horrific crimes committed against Kashmiris by Indian forces. ‘“These documents, seen by the Guardian, also reveal horrific practises, including one sizeable cluster, confidentially probed by the government itself, where men from the Border Security Force (BSF) lopped off the limbs of suspects and fed prisoners with their own flesh.”’ ‘The Guardian traced one of the victims, a shepherd Qalandar Khatana, 45. Hobbling on crutches, bandages covering his ankles, both feet having been sawn off, he recalled: "I was held down, a BSF trooper produced a knife and then I passed out as the blood gushed from me."’ (Also see ’Kashmir’s Torture Trail’ by Channel 4)

Such crimes have not only been committed and continued in clear knowledge of the ruling state and the Indian dominion, they have been concealed and these criminals protected with shameless impunity. Had there really ever been any transition to peoples rule in Kashmir, away from the earlier monarchic tyranny, such war crimes against civilians by a military state would either not have existed or would have been contained and acted against legally by the ruling ‘democratic state’. Tragically even after thousands of such horrific crimes against civilians in Kashmir have been exposed, the Indian state (and its arm in Kashmir) has not bothered to act or redeem with justice.  

When repression rules, nothing of the oppressed is spared. Wielding their power against the weak and infirm is no bravery, but forces of oppression and their political masters are no brave men, but war machines in lust for power. “Bakhti, .. was assaulted by six soldiers. “One by one, they raped me, while my five year old son was forced to watch, weeping beside the bed,”(Kafila, Feb 23rd, 2013)  the story of Kunanposhpora where a whole village was gang raped by soldiers, then barricaded and denied justice for decades, continues to haunt Kashmir. Such countless heinous acts were committed, as Maharaja Gulab Singh would tell his son, “to take a lesson in the art of governing.”

Not only does this military oppression run as a rule in Kashmir over all governance systems, civil medical systems that normally cater to common medical health in India, have also discriminated against victims of this oppression in Kashmir. The patrol made him get up and escorted him to a house. They tied his hands and legs and Manzoor noticed that the house was his own. The irony of it was venomous. The army personnel tied his hands and legs again. They dunked him face first into a bucket of water. He was then made to lie flat. A rod was shoved in and out of his anus” “Manzoor channeled the little energy he had and as his voice was finding words, the officer slammed his boot on Manzoor’s wind pipe. He was then electrocuted several times. Every time he was asked and tried to reply, he was choked by the officer with his boot. The electrocutions were also interspersed with beatings.” ‘…surgery(in Srinagar hospital) had a thin 15% chance of success….Manzoor Ahmad then went to Delhi on his meager income to get treated at AIIMS….and once they learned he was a Kashmiri interrogation victim, AIIMS shunned him. Manzoor had traveled for nothing.’ (Kafila, October 16, 2013 Courage is silent and Stoic – Tortured in Kashmir: Aditya Prakash).

Murderous oppression having become a norm, the ruling political class not only acts indifferent to this but also sustain in power because of its continuity, surviving on a fear psychosis driven by their military arm. Recent news of ‘Army plotted to kill Bandipora youth: Police probe’ ‘Soldiers of 13 RR killed Irfan Ahmad Ganie on June 30’ (GK 28th October 2013) and ‘magisterial probe…..has indicted the army for killing in cold blood a 24-year-old student from Baramulla’ (The Telegraph, 24th October 2013) was treated with morbid silence. None of the ‘in power politicians’ found these reports of cold blooded murder by Indian army worth commenting upon, leave alone acting against. Instead they pretended busy with across the LoC rhetoric; war mongering out of Kashmir while calling for LoC truce whilst in Kashmir. All this talk of war against Pakistan and this denial of concern for civilian killings back home were only aimed at securing marks with their dominant power controlling centre in New Delhi.

Human tragedies in Kashmir don’t stir any conscience for this political class, on the contrary this conflict has been used by them to stay put in power. Any genuine efforts at justice dispensation would surely point at their being an alibi in all these crimes and unseat them. ‘Yemis lagg’i tem’yis lagg’i sarkaer’ie, maharaj saaeb’en ch’e zindgaani’ has been blatantly practiced by them to stay in power, where commoners are the lambs sacrificed for the rule of a Monarchy.

This Monarchy will survive till we continue to become its fodder. 






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On October 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM , Unknown said...

One day Inshallah all this will change and we will be the masters in our own land. It will be hard for us to avoid thoughts of punishing our one-time tyrants in revenge. I hope good will triumph however.

On October 30, 2013 at 10:00 PM , Shabir A Gilkar said...

This article rightly put the light on unfortunate conditions of Kashmiri's about which hardly any one is interested in to listen as we don't have oil.