They call it Paradise, I call it Home ©

5 Years of Blogging

In Kashmir, People, Politics, Srinagar on 28 December, 2010 at 11:42 pm

5 years ago, this blog started with just a single sentence:

Ah! Kashmir: so near yet so far!

Kashmir, the dream of a Free Kashmir, remains so near yet so far today, as it did 5 years ago. It is near, for every Kashmiri breathes it and feels the pain of this geographical piece of land called Kashmir. These words may appear poetic, but they are not. The pain of Kashmir is felt, just like a cut by a sharp knife. This pain is as much physical as it is emotional. The images of Kashmir embedded in our memory are not, as most Indians might think and want to believe, of honeymooners, neither are they of a Kashmiri boatman selling shawls by the banks of Dal Lake. The images are of death. They are frozen in memory forever. When I think of Kashmir, two images flash in front of my eyes: of a dead body flowing down a river & another image of blood oozing out of a young man who lay and was shot in front of me. At that time my age was less than the fingers on my hands. Their faces I may not recall, but those images will remain fresher than the morning dew in my mind. Nothing has changed, and nothing will, for a long time to come. History is being repeated in Kashmir every single day. Young bodies plunge to their death in Kashmir – a paradise, I call home, but remains a hell to most of its inhabitants. There are a select few others in Kashmir, for whom it continues to remain a gold mine, what it should have been for all the 6 million inhabitants of the valley. Treading over the graves of a few hundred thousand, and the hopes and aspirations of millions, bothers them not. And, if they weren’t enough, as if Kashmiris needed a cherry on the cake, a breed of new Kashmiris, are seeing themselves as saviors of Kashmir, for they think they possess the knowledge to do so. However, Knowing that (facts and information) does not always mean one knows how (the ability to do things). However, we all tend to believe that if we know that, we know how! Seeing being literate as being educated and being knowledgable, leads to fallacies. Very rarely do people, who possess the understanding to see the differences in these three, tread this earth. This is just another pain Kashmir has had to suffer through the decades. Every other thinks he knows what is right for Kashmir, and they mostly consider the opinion of the uneducated majority, not worth a pinch of salt. Sheikh Abdullah thought so, as does Geelani.

Blogging all these years, has been a difficult learning process. Blogging about Kashmir here since 28th December 2005, has been emotionally draining in many ways. It is difficult to write down what you see, hear and live through every day of your life, and pushes you deeper into an abyss. Before I began writing here, I had another blog, which saw the light of day in 2003, but as almost happened to this blog: I gave that up, for it was getting tougher and tougher to write. The only time when I thought joy and Kashmir were linked was when I created a blog on blogspot sometime in 2001, but it never went beyond a single post on nun chai and Kahwa (the Kashmiri teas)! Perhaps, writing about joy and the nice things in Kashmir did not feel right, and I lost that blog too, as I did my will to write. It was a time of evolution for me: I was trying to understand Kashmir, its past and the present that I grew up in. There were contradictions I had to deal with. There were times I had to question who I should feel for? My pain, or the collective pain of Kashmir? Answers to some of which I have not yet found and may never ever find.

This pursuit of understanding Kashmir, took me to the most random bookstores in the most random locations. At one time I could spot the word Kashmir from a mile, something that irked my friends a lot. Three books I would like to mention, K.H. Khurshid’s book came by after a long wait, but it was worth every bit of it. It had some rare photographs of Jinnah in Kashmir, and almost brought together, K.H.Khurshid’s family. The toughest book to find was Aatish e Chinar, Sheikh Abdullahs biography. It took me to places in Delhi that looked scary and shady. It even pushed me to ask people to check at the offices of National Conference in Srinagar, of course to no avail. They did not even possess a copy in their library! A friend found a copy in Urdu in Rawalpindi, talk about irony. It was my handicap with Urdu that prevented me from asking him to speed post it (assuming that the postal services would let it through). Years later, an academician found an abridged version in a university library in the US, and emailed me a scanned copy. Given the wonderful download speeds of BSNL in Kashmir back then, I could never get my virtual hands on it, and to this day it stays faithfully in my inbox. I am assured it gathers no dust. Perwez Dewan’s two-volume book on Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh was the most easy to come by, the most costly, and the most useless. It appeared to be a compilation of Kashmir Gazettes, to which he should have had easy access, being an IAS officer. The only places he appeared to budge in with his opinion was when he presented as fact, his opinion, that most Muslim religious sites in Kashmir, were actually Hindu. Something the RSS does very well. And he also had discovered another Holy Cave. This blog also put me in touch with a lot of professors, graduate students, and journalists. Students from Columbia and the Ohio universities in the US referenced this blog for their thesis, and surprise, found it be very helpful. This blog even made it to the recommended reading list of a University of Leeds programme.A book referenced this blog. It got mention in the Kashmir Observer and also on a recent feature on The Week. One of the best emails I ever received was from an American journalist, who said that she found the blog spiritual. My review on Fanaa, showed up on the top of google results back then! My own commitment to anonymity, prevented me from meeting any of these people. But, it did at least give me an idea, that this blog, is being read and taken seriously. When professors favorite your blog and find it knowledgeable, that becomes an academic approval of sorts, and your care all the less for the threats in your inbox. And, to be honest, it feels good, not for self praise, but for the fact, that people are concerned and do want to hear you out.

And to end I should mention why I remain anonymous. Being anonymous has a lot to do with my understanding that Kashmir owes a lot of its miseries to personalities. These personalities have manipulated and run over Kashmir. I do not want to claim to be a spokesperson for Kashmir, when I am not. It does not befit me to talk about atrocities in Kashmir, as I sit in an air-conditioned room, and raise my own stature. It is not difficult to make others feel, that you are wanted, I do not want to do that. Years back a politician approached me with promises of all the support I wanted. That was the last time he wrote to me. To rise above ones self is an easy term to use, but to actually do that, is difficult. Narcissism is a disease, that can afflict easily, and you wouldn’t know it before you are fully consumed. I do not want even an iota of it. So, I shall continue to be anonymous, till perhaps something in the future makes me think otherwise, but I will continue to write when I can, what I can.

'They Call It Paradise, I Call It Home'

  1. Whatever the situation be, it’s best to make the most out of it. You still have access to a large, vibrant and growing economic power which, contrary to your claims is by and large a secular country as well. If any Kashmiri has any ability worth his salt in him, he is sure to to be able to pursue happiness in India.

    I’m not flattering myself that my words will make any difference to you. Moderation and modernity do not come to closed minds. But this is what an ordinary Indian has to say to a fellow ordinary Kashmiri.

    • The whatever of your situation means 120 killings by your security forces, of young boys and children. You see the irony here? Most Indians have lost the understanding of the value of a life, but we haven’t, and that makes us more humane than Indians ever will be.

      Secular country? Really? Kashmir’s Jamia Masjid has been closed for weeks of Sundays! That’s the draconian country you call secular. Economic power? What of that? You actually think you can buy people? China is a better option then, a real economic power. But, as you can not see, and that is none of your fault, the fight in Kashmir is not for money, it is not for prosperity, and definitely not for material things.

      It might be difficult for you to understand why and how can a people want more than material things in life. Those who thrive on materialism, have a very tough time understanding beyond wanting a wallet full of money bills.

      Then you come up with this fancy idea of Kashmiris living in caves, being downtrodden, unable, without capacities; and challenge them that if any one of us has any ability worth our salt, they could pursue happiness in India. You just need to change the latter any. It is not any ability, but the simple ability of being boot lickers and then of course Kashmiris can pursue happiness in India. That’s what Farooq Abdullah did, that’s what Sajad Lone did, that’s what Mufti did. But, and it might come as a shock to you, the majority of Kashmiris are not that. The only peace India gives to Kashmiris is the peace of grave.

      Moderation and modernity are two fancy words thrown around a lot. If you mean that I should accept the deaths in Kashmir as they come, should accept the fact that India is now the most corrupt country in the world, should be okay with how even Bangladesh does better than India in terms of Infant mortality rates, should be ok with what you did in Gujarat or in 1987, should be ok with 0.7 million troops in my home; then you are right, it won’t come to me. I am sure it has to you, since you so well follow the latest trends in this mobile and connected world.

      And you had nothing to say, but what most Indians say, and are so wrong in what they say.

      • We Kashmiris need to deconstruct Azadi. Even Sheikh Abdullah did not believe that an independent Kashmir was geo-strategically viable. Most Kashmiris are themselves convinced that with Pak and China looming over the valley, an independent Kashmir is unviable. What Kashmiris deserve is dignity, justice, governance and promise of a better future. It must begin with goodwill, not bitterness. Governance and promise for future are in the hands of Kashmiris themselves. Indian govt must ensure that its forces which are there in Kashmir treat population with respect and ensure fairplay in all its dealings. Kashmiris also must let bygones be bygones rather that hold the next generation hostage to their sufferings, however painful they might have been. It is time to think benign, talk moderate and act with faith and trust. We owe it to our children that we are unprejudiced in our thoughts and honest in our actions and that we are as sensitive to others concerns as we expect them to be ours. It is time to own up to our own mistakes first and then expect repentance and apology from others. We are an old civilisation rooted in Sufism which believes in eternal happiness and we ought to get back to our roots….Rahmat

    • well u make me laugh .i didnt find a single road in kashmir wr blood of innocent kashmiri is not spread by ur broad and oepn mind Army in facthindu army

  2. I am now speechless about kashmir dispute. Better to say nothing

  3. I am pleased to know that there still are humble people in our society who work for the society but do not blow a bugle of their doings. Way to go brother.
    May Lord Bless You & Me.

    Viva Revolution!!

  4. U *****. U can hide ur identity but I have ways of finding out which computer u r using, and where u r located. I am going to ***** *****. *****. ….U better watch it

    • Dawoodx (@twitter)

      If you hadn’t threatened and abused me, I would have to rethink if you really are a fan (and enslaved mind) of Mushtaq Latram. Threats, abuses and extortion is the standard operational procedure for people like latram and his stooges like you.

      May you and your likes never be able to step in Kashmir.

  5. I am obliged to answer for anonymous sounds preachy. I am not finding fault with people of Kashmir but the problem in Kashmir is Islam which is out an out an Arab religion. Past conquest of Kashmir is directly responsible for plight of Kashmiris.I am not concerned with Brahmanical religion but local pagan religion which is a local to the people of Kashmir. It is ABOUT TIME THOSE PANDITS WHICH HAVE BEEN CONVERTED FORCIBLY IN THE PAST should be brought back to Hindu fold. Past conquest of Kashmir should be rectified because foreigners in Kashmir like Geelani , Sayyids have misused Kashmir hospitality and turned Kashmir into an Islamic ghetto. I respect Arab variety of Islam but what is Islam doing in Kashmir? Because Arabs do not allow other religions to have a peep in their continent why should indian subcontinent allow Arabian culture to thrive in Kashmir. That is greatest philosophical question of all times in Kashmir.

    • Can Kashmiri Pandits think beyond the past? Or will you remain stuck in the era that has passed by hundreds of years ago? Accept the present and the reality. We are Muslims – we care not what our ancestors were.

      Also, I would like you to give me a source for your claims that Pandits were forcibly converted in Kashmir?.

      Also, Kashmir was a buddhist region before the advent of Hinduims – who forcibly converted and destroyed the Buddhist religion?

      May it is time to go back to Buddhism, than Hinduism? Won’t you agree? If you are going back in time, why chose a time of your convienience?

  6. Lets wake up. Send our kids to school, create jobs, bring financial security and forget about religion, azaadi and occupation by India. 25 years back army was not entering into homes to plunder and rape. We were free to pursue what we wanted in life. It is the fundamentalist who have brought in this wave of terrorism and misery to the people of kashmir. Any kashmiri is free to go to school, get educated and pursue his career anywhere in India. Lets build trust and improve our lives. Bitterness will lead us nowhere.

  7. Your writing is filled with magic. You made me feel the pain of the civilians, not that i know anything of the reality of these pains. I too come from a militant-government torn land Assam. The state has been unable to ripe the benefits of the outside world. Its like we have been living in the dark ages for a long time. The government is as evil as the militants and it sometimes it feels as if God has left us long back. But i do believe a change would come. The so called “aam janta” which today consists of a ever rising number of youths is angry and fed up. Revolutions begin only after ages of struggle and oppression. The system will hopefully change someday.

    Great article. I love your clean and minimalistic blog design.

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