There are two Kashmirs within a Kashmir. No, not the Pakistan and Indian Administered parts. These two Kashmirs exists within the Valley of Kashmir. There is a Kashmir all of you know about, which when searched for on Google gives thousands of results and there is a Kashmir, which doesn’t ever show up on google search. And it is this Kashmir which matters!
The Kashmir you know about is the Kashmir of the politicians. It is the Kashmir of Abdullhas, Muftis, Mirwaizs, Lones and Geelanis. It is the Kashmir of terrorists and Jehadis, the center of terrorism activity, if you are an Indian. It is the Kashmir of Jehad, the center of a fight for self-determination (more aptly put, the fight for inclusion with Pakistan), if you are a Pakistani. It is the Kashmir which tourists visit to spend their honeymoons and holidays in. It is the Kashmir in which Bollywood actors roamed around the valley, made merry and felt the breeze touching their hearts and minds. It is the Kashmir in which Hrithik Roshan (a Kashmiri terrorist in the movie Mission Kashmir) realises the futility of guns and calls Sanjay Dutt Abba at the end of the movie: and Kashmir gets reduced to a fight between a father and a son. It is the Kashmir that produces Saffron, Carpets, Shahtoosh Shawls, Paper Machie and Pashmina. It is the Kashmir of Apples, Almonds and Tulips. It is the Kashmir whose water is pure and sweet. It is the Kashmir of Mountains, Trees, lakes and Rivers. It is also the Kashmir of 0.7 Million Indian troops who are supposedly required to prevent the 1200 militants from snatching it away from India. This translates to 583 well trained security personnel to combat one under trained militant. This is the Kashmir which a select group of people talk about in Geneva, in Islamabad, in New Delhi, in New York, in Casablanca, in Brussels and in the five star hotels of Srinagar, Kathmandu and Islamabad. It is the Kashmir which self-appointed Indians and Pakistanis talk about over breakfast, lunch and dinner, paid for by their governments.This is the Kashmir you know of.
Then there is another Kashmir. The Kashmir of the people. It’s people to whom it has and always will belong. It is the Kashmir that scoffs at Integral Part and Jugular Vein claims. It is the Kashmir that has given it’s blood to it. It is the Kashmir that has not yet been captured by the lens, nor can it be. It is the Kashmir that has been conveniently lumped together in a single sentence ‘The people of Kashmir.’ Everybody talks about it but nobody understands it. It is the Kashmir that comes out in the dark of the night or the breeze of the morning for identification parades. It is the Kashmir that wakes up in the morning to the headlines of death and destruction, goes to the Kandur (bakery shop) and starts his day with tchai and tchot (Kashmiri bread). It is the Kashmir whose life is dependent on an identity card. It is the Kashmir that falls prey to a bullet of the military or the militant as it walks through the crowded bazaars or tries to find a place in the over crowded buses. It is the Kashmir that bargains with the vegetable vendor. It is the Kashmir that sees the day turn into evening and makes it’s way back.It is the Kashmir that lights up the gas lantern because there is no electricity. It is the Kashmir that makes a Que at the only telephone fee collection center and falls prey to a bomb many a times. It is the Kashmir that looks on as Hrithik sings songs of peace and beauty of the valley. It is the Kashmir that calls it’s land Kashir. It is the Kashmir that sees paradox in it’s being. It is the Kashmir that weeps within as it has no one to talk for it. It is a Kashmir that sees silently but is waking up within: slowly but surely. This is the Kashmir you do not know of.
Which Kashmir do you know?