Author: Saadut
•7:12 PM

Some days back I visited the main hospital in Srinagar, the SMHS hospital that sits in the jumbled center of this mangled city. Inside the hospital the scenes resembled an aftermath of a war, where sufferings and ordeals formed a seemingly endless queue. I, along with my friend (a senior doctor) was coordinating the visit of specialists from mainland India for critical Ophthalmological surgical intervention for victims hit by pellets. For all the guts, I may have or may not have gathered from living decades of conflict in Kashmir, I could not stay for long in the inpatient area. You looked at the closed bandaged eyes, or the pierced the blood shot attempting to open yet closed eyes, or the shut and dark eyelids those were dotted with countless holes, and you would want to breakdown in a lonely corner, somewhere in a dark seclusion where none could see my helplessness. Withdrew hurriedly from what I could not bear to witness, did not want to believe and wished had never happened in the first place. I retreated to a runaway that knew a denial was not to be.

Back home the images of the hospital came flashing in front of my eyes, before a ‘black out evening’ (when we are supposed to shut out all lights in Kashmir as a mark of protest) and frighteningly sleepless nights. A horrendous disquietude prevailed all along. The feeling of infirmity pushed me to try how it would feel for these kids to be in a permanent dark, and the next day morning I tied a cloth on my eyes, pretending to be blind. The pretending could not last for more than two hours, during which I banged on two doors hitting my head once, shattered a glass of water, slipped on the lobby steps, while my books, my papers and my laptop pretended to not know me anymore. Behind the tied cloth on my eyes, was a fearsome darkness with no end, an eclipse where no planets moved, where the night knew no borders. Then I thought about the kids in the hospital, with pierced and shuteyes, shuddered at the unspeakably horrendous and petrifyingly looming darkness. And I sunk again in a saddening recluse !

Main kis ke hath pe apna lahu talash karun,
Tamam sheher (Mulk) ne pehnay hue hain dastaanay.

While there seem no respite in the ‘dark hours’ in Kashmir, our enforced darkness remains willfully invisible to mainland India, where a major part of its ‘blaringly noise emitting’ media and political enterprises are busy pushing Kashmir further to the margins, measuring Kashmiris by their scale of  ‘collective conscience’. In such manufactured debates and rhetoric, that is only aimed to harden the common mindset in India and take it further away from facts, the truth is concealed and layers of deceptive falsity are added under the premise of ‘national interest’.

In this manufactured rhetoric, where anchors and politicians in India have taken the task of ‘Posturing and Pontification’, too seriously, the larger question remains unanswered. Has this vile rhetoric actually helped the nation or harmed it? And does this rhetoric have any power to actually change the truth on Kashmir or to even alter it? Has vilifying Kashmiris day in and day out not actually pushed them further to the margins, to a point of no return?

That the Kashmir issue exists as a political conflict for decades, that consumed thousands of innocent lives is undeniable. And the refusal to accept this fact as willful blindness on Kashmir is lamentable.

Ironically silence of mainland India comes from political calculations in other states of India, where any talk on Kashmir is treated as anti-national. But such silence can’t ensure closure of factuality for long. The ‘pressure cooker’ in Kashmir will only keep simmering, till the need for a resolution dawns on them. The Indian political state, and the media that sides with these political powerhouses, are only doing the greatest disservice to the idea of India, as a nation, by confiscating the truth and pretending that all is well, facts being contrary to that. While the Kashmir issue is not any easy puzzle to solve, with so may claimants and stakeholders, an initiative has to be made somewhere.  We have already lost two generations in Kashmir to a bloody conflict, while the third generation that grew amidst the violent upheaval under the shadow of guns, crackdowns, humiliations, deaths and denial has been hardened by the contretemps of this mayhem.  Taking them on board may not be easy but there is no other option, for their unaddressed anger will only cascade into a harder stance for coming generations, making peace more elusive for Kashmir.

Given the complexity of the Kashmir issue, no abstract papers can work. But an honest initiative at resolution has to be made. And that initiative will not and cannot flow from the barrel of the gun, for we have seen too many wars and tragedies in Kashmir for decades. That initiative will have to start from realization of the issue and acceptance of the need of a resolution. New Delhi, Islamabad and Srinagar will someday, one day have to talk, but how much innocent blood that realization seeks, only providence knows.
Till that realization dawns on these powers, may Allah save the kids of Kashmir and may Allah restore the sight of the willful blind outside Kashmir.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where words come out from the depth of truth

Into the heaven of Freedom, my Father, let my country awake”  (Tagore)

31st July, 2016

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