Kashmir: The History of Humiliation

Oxford dictionary defines the term ‘Humiliation’ with the lexicons like shame and sadism. Online Britannica Encyclopedia defines said term as, “to reduce to a lower position in one’s own eyes or others’ eyes, to Mortify”.

Let me get to the point that I want to discuss. You must have often seen that it’s in the news quite often, “The day after paramilitary CRPF personnel resorted to indiscriminate firing on militants’ funeral procession at Redwani in south Kashmir district led to leaving eight people injured, normal life remained paralysed in the entire district amid shutdown and restrictions”. The news was printed in the 3rd page of the local daily. Whereas, the 1st page of the local daily read CM of Kashmir meeting the HM of India, with the colour photograph of the duo shaking hands. Not to mention that the prior news never makes to the national media. I hate abbreviations. All these abbreviations HM, PM, FM, CM and whatever have berated our lives.

This is the dual age of corporatism/agitation, war/peace, power/powerlessness, and media/aloofness. Added to this is the age of humiliation and further humiliation. I have a very close relationship with the same. I belong to the land of humiliation. Kashmir has a record of Dishonour and Degradation. Our humiliation dates back to the mythical creation of the Kashmir Valley. It’s said that Kashmir once was a huge lake called ‘Satisar’ and the people used to live by its edges, afraid of a demon who used to eat them and then hid inside the lake. Some say that it was the result of the Kashap-Rishi (a saint) and others confer it was the Vihara (wild Boar) avatar of the Vishnu (one of the most important Hindu gods), who stuck the mountain near the Baramullah (old – Varahmullah) and drained the lake dry. Sarasvati (wife of the Hindu god Shiva) killed the Demon by engraving it under the mountain of Zabarwan in Srinagar. It’s said that Kashmir is derived from the word ‘Ka-water’ and ‘Smira-to take out’ (Both in Sanskrit). So of water we were taken and flushed down the drain, later.

It seems very mythical, but there is an important message encrypted, a two faced message, one that the people were humiliated and traumatised and second and more important that ‘truth and belief always prevail’. Undoubtedly, Kashmiris still are very traditional, religious and variably mythical. Further, the resistance, which the Kashmir and Kashmiris have put forward since the ages, prove the quote of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, oldest book on the Kashmir history, which says “Kashmir and Kashmiri’s can never be won with a might of the sword, but with knowledge and mysticism”.

The cycle continued and the history entered another history carrying the same message of humiliation and oppression.  During the coarse there has been so much of bloodshed and Kashmir fell from one foreign ruler to another. Notable examples could be the Hindu king ‘Mehrkul’, who killed hundred Elephants, just to hear them cry, by throwing them down the cliff and the million people because he  doubted their chastity or the Muslim ruler who earned the name of ‘Butshikan’ (iconoclast), concerning the fact he earthed temples and idols and made many to mass migrate. The afghan Durrani’s Era is still feared and the Sikh-Dorga regime was the most notorious and dreaded.

It was just an insight, which I’m sure you would be familiar with. But the most important part of the topic is the humiliation under the present circumstances from the viewpoint of a Kashmiri youth and that’s where I would be emphasizing on. The biggest humiliation I believe that we face is the presence of the alien forces, the Indian military and Para-military police. They are unlike us. Culturally, ethnically, religiously, and in every possible way they are different with us, including the colour and Staple Food we eat. Even our origin is different. Arundhati Roy, the famous writer and an activist, beautifully articulates it by saying ‘Kashmir was never a part of India’. And I want to assure her that it’s not even now. Let me exemplify it, imagine me, a typically Kashmiri looking with a long nose, fair with yellow skin and speaking Kashmiri, am told to police you. Just imagine how it would be? It is humiliation for sure. Added I would be given the special powers to identity check you, burgle into your home, capture you, disappear you and to kill you without answering anybody and anyone. Yes, essentially its oppression, but underneath this all is a thin line of humiliation and cowardice with which you have to live and it’s never highlighted. Identity check is really very humiliating; I mean who has to show identity to whom?

The concept of democracy is equally humiliating. India being the sweet-heart democracy of the world at present is strangling Kashmir with the presence of 7-8 lack (0.7 to 0.8 million) military and paramilitary forces, the highest in the world. The ratio of civilian and military-paramilitary is Kashmir is whooping 7:1. Sometimes when I’m alone in my room trying to sleep, I feel the wild orgy all around. The military is looking at us, looking at everything we do. Our walls are porous wearing the military uniform and speaking alien language. India still enjoys the status of largest democratic country of the world, which is opening her economy to western lords. The people’ mass agitation campaign of 2008 and the lesser ones since then should be called as the pivot of democracy which the Indian state crushed by killing more than 60 young boys, unarmed and vulnerable, in 2008 alone and many since then. Democracy without justice is Demon-Crazy.

Around 100,000 Kashmiris’ have been killed so far, about 12000 are missing and many rapes have taken place since the armed struggle broke in 1989. But the pity is that India still doesn’t believe in the disputed status of Kashmir, leave independence alone. This is the height of humiliation. Then, there are the bi-partite talks among India and Pakistan. Are we the herd of sheep or the flock of chickens?

Certain types of businesses which were always considered a taboo in Kashmir are been promoted by the state under the name of modernization and tourism development. Alcohol is a taboo is major Muslim countries and so is it here. There are some big liquor shops in Kashmir at present which have been given the 24/7 security by the state. A major sex scandal was unearthed in 2006 in which the young vulnerable poor girls were doped, filmed naked and later used as call girls for the VIPs and VVIPs sitting in Delhi and big Government houses. Two active ministers, DIG police, Military offices and many more were caught in the scandal. Later the case was transferred to Chandigarh where the main pimp and all the accused were let go. I won’t call it humiliation, it’s like someone spitting on your face and later taunting by showing you the finger.

Now even the civil society has turned sadist at large. The corruption is widely spread and there is no scope for the respect and humility in general populace. The cases of drug usage are steeping high and it’s surely state backed.

And there are thousands and thousands of Humiliations which a common Kashmiri has to face. Some of them are immediate and arise everyday and most of them are the accumulation of thousands of years, lingering and recapitulating.

I would like to end the topic with the couplet from famous Urdu Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, translated by Agha Shahid Ali;

Why complain? Holding up our sorrows as banners,
new lovers will emerge
from the lanes where we were killed
and embark, in caravans, on those highways of desire.

Shoaib Rafiq

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