Kashmir: An Ode To All That Was

Society

Snow pelts down to meet the raging crimson.

Winter broke upon an unassuming land of Kashmir on the day the screaming casually ended. The newspapers didn’t find their usual path of foreboding announcements. A breeze that would carefully caress your cheeks was missing in the atmosphere.

Any of these could be mistaken for the arrival of snow. The churning of the clouds under a bitingly cold sun that produced the white cotton-like structures that fell, nay floated. But none came that night. Nor the day that followed.

Electricity was the only dangling thing upon an everlasting silence in the wind–a testimony to an existing civilization that still breathed like a dragon up the abandoned ruins. No internet. Wakefulness prevailed, but not for more than 900 meters after which rows of men stood like statues made out of flesh and blood. In brilliant contrast to the hanging clouds overhead.

What were they waiting for?

Ice clings to the rocky mountains of the Himalayas and it rises and falls against the supporting curvatures unto which it clings on. They call it the Amarnath–the natural formation of the Supreme Lord, Shiva. For a moment, one could have sworn that the draconian place shook as a thundering black helicopter swooped in on August 2nd announcing a possible terror attack by Pakistan. About half a million men thundered into the seemingly peaceful valley and zipped up the place in barbed wires and iron barricades. And along the way, they shot the last remnants of the Instrument of Accession (dubbed Article 370) up into the skies leaving the land of white curtains lying naked under the glinting, moving, tearful eyes of the crown.

“This is the end of Kashmir as we know it,” the mother wailed.

The rest of India is jubilant. Social media is on fire with shocking hypocrisy. With the 73rd Independence drawing closer, the smell of colonialism is once again creeping into the place just moments after the cacophony of withdrawn Crown of England. The irony seems to be lost in the screaming saffron that dominated the day. Shri Narendra Modi, the right-wing leader, took to the stage and cried his victory for his government has finally unveiled what has been considered impossible: One India, One Constitution.

The largest democracy, in truth, however, has murdered the bed upon which its very sovereignty was founded; the very tool that curtails any desire for expanding power with authoritarian infamy. And it is as simple in its naked truth as it is profound: human rights.

What is happening (and had happened) in Kashmir is nothing short of human rights violation. An estimated 70,000 civilians, militants and security forces have been killed in the conflict. Over the past decade, teenagers were regularly targeted by the Indian Army in anticipation that the young Kashmiris would join the militants. And if these were not enough, the very motive of scraping the skeletal Article 370 to destroy the nationhood of a muslim-majority Kashmir should scream atop the pristine pure Himalayas which would likely be turned into Reliance Snow-clad Experience in the coming years.

In the midst of it all, a tearful Modi took to the stage to address the enraged, humiliated, spied-upon Kashmiris. He promised of benefits that would develop the valley upon its merger with the rest of India. The so-called left-wing critics of Shri Modi gushed into equal (if not more) quantities of tears. He basically said that Kashmiris are being curtailed of basic rights for their own good: a narrative that drives all authoritarians.

For now, the rest of the world is talking in excitement over the pillaged ruins upon which she stands. The black burka she is wearing is torn and through the myriad holes you could see a dangling smile etched upon her face. She is silent for now. But speak, she surely will.

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