If there's anything I find trying, it's a complete misreading of something I've written by people I don't really care to invest time in. But the misinformation is so annoying, it must be set right.
Last September I wrote an opinion piece in the Hindustan Times 'Are We Ready To Let Kashmir Be?' which was followed by the usual noise and backlash from trolls or other readers who saw much in the piece that I did not even imply. As happens always, the noise faded after a while, and I even had a few civilised though very opposing responses such as this one by Primary Red. One does not have a problem with a different point of view. One even welcomes it provided it is done with a certain amount of reason, sense, civility, absence of silly assumptions, and an impersonal-ness. [I made that last word up.]
Anyway. I was linked to a Tweet about my article [but no mention or tag given to me, hmm.] This post happened yesterday, and it's coming on to almost a year since I wrote the column in 2010, so I was a little surprised at the timing. Soon after, surprise turned to irritation turned to amusement.
Just to quickly get back to certain observations made by AnonWriter Ji, the writer of the piece ['Ji' implies a lot of respect as I gathered from his blogpost where he has addressed me as Sabah Ji every single time ~ yay! thank you!].
I'm going to keep it short and simple. Here we go. AnonWriter Ji's quotes in blue:
1. 'Sabah Haji starts with why does it justify to be called a Kashmiri for those living in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. How can a person from say Ladakh , who may not even be able to say “hello” in Kashmiri call himself a Kashmiri ? How can a Dogra from Udhampur , Jammu , Kathu , Samba call himself a Kashmiri when he hardly knows the language or doesn’t even live in . How can a a Gujjar Muslim from Poonch or a Shia from Kargil call himself a Kashmiri , when they speak a different language ?
Errr. Yes, thank you. I never said a Ladakhi or a Dogra should call himself/herself Kashmiri. I was speaking for people like me who live in the Jammu belt but speak the same language. Instead of repeatedly implying that this is a Kashmir Valley-specific movement, please know that there are substantial portions of the Jammu pahari belt that identify with the sentiment. Within Kashmir, I can call myself Pahari. Outside, I take the generic Kashmiri to apply to me. To quote myself [since it was an opinion piece coming from me about what I feel]: 'We speak Kashmiri. So that's our identity.'
2. I would be delighted to know how does a 5 or a 6 year old child know what different nations are ? What “Azaadi” means ? Why India should be hated ? Does this not get picked up while watching how the elders behave or act . This is purely a behavior a child from any community in Kashmir or elsewhere is likely to pick up from the parents or elders he/she witnesses each day .
I would love to delight you, but am at a loss as to how. I tried to do this in simple English in the original post but it seems to have escaped your notice.
If you pick up my line immediately after the one you've quoted: 'Somewhere between infancy and childhood, I had picked up unwittingly on what most of my family and people felt.'
Now, when I say my parents or any of my cousins'/friends' parents or any adult that I know of, did not feed us kids revolutionary mantras or hold daily sessions to tutor us in the art of 'knowing something is wrong', it is quite possible that that is exactly what I meant, and can you believe it, that I was actually stating the truth! You can, of course, imagine that we are some sort of sick 'others' where parents don't even know how to bring up their children without introducing politics and prejudices in their heads, but that's your call. And has nothing to do with what I've written. What you're saying quite simply then is that I'm lying. Errr. Oh-kay... *shrug* Whatevs.
3. Sabah Ji has very intelligently tried to balance and clear the issue of exodus and atrocities upon Kashmiri Pandits. Now isn’t that interesting , nowhere a courage to call spade a spade ! Instead she goes to extent of even blaming , yes you have read it right , she has ‘blamed’ some Kashmiri pandits of ‘communalising’ the ‘movement’ as well.
Ah. My favourite bit. Where you play the famous Muslim versus Pandit card, implying that because I am a Muslim I don't think what happened with the Pandits at the time of their departure was wrong.
And slightly hyperbolic outrage that I was blaming some, yes you read it right! blaming some Kashmiri Pandits for events around the time.
I am not into the blame-game you and other easily side-lined Kashmiris are so fond of on the Twitters. That Pandits were made to leave is indisputable fact, as is the reason why. That there were Kashmiris - Muslims and Pandits - who worsened the situation, is also indisputable. I am not blaming the entire community for having to leave. I am not stupid, but thank you for attempting to imply that. It amuses me even today.
4. Can Sabah Ji pls let us know if Subhas Chander had killed innocents and raped women ? Did Bhagat Singh go out and plunder places of worship of others?
Hmm. Let me see... NO! These two heroes of the Indian Independence Movement never did rape women or plunder places of worship that I know of. You really should read your history textbooks closely. It's all mentioned in there.
Now, Bhagat Singh Saheb was in fact hanged for shooting a police officer - I am unable to comment on whether that qualifies as killing an innocent or not. [Also, according to Rang De Basanti, random people were shot by the revolutionaries. Okay, okay, I won't take facts from a movie. But awesome film it was! Have you watched?]
Anyway. What these two gentlemen did advocate, which is what I was referencing, d....uh!, was violent resistance. The same ideology that was the armed resistance in J&K in the '90s. I don't support it, but I find it laughable that people throw this in our face all the time as if India's Movement was something wholly sacrosanct and its leaders never had to resort to violent means to get their point across.
Another beauty by you of course is the implication that ALL the militants of the time were into killing innocents, raping women, and plundering places of worship. Nicely done! But, mehhh, lame. Not so. Certainly outrages were committed, there were horrible crimes done, and again, this is indisputable fact. I'm not going to ask you to look at the outrages done on the other side because apparently they don't matter.
Am also not into comparing wrongs or pitting numbers against each other. We know how that works.
What's next, what's next?
5. As for someone asking “Aap Hindustan se hai ” to people in Kashmir , all I can say is that the argument is a bit to stretched by Sabah Ji . Unlike her, I am from the valley while she is from Doda district .
Tsk tsk. AnonWriter Ji, there you go calling me a liar again. And also all my friends and their families who have told me that their tour guides have asked them this question. Erm... What does my being from Doda district have to do with the simple fact I stated that tourists from India ARE considered as coming from Hindustan, and therefore not Kashmiris? I'm not saying it happens to each and every tourist. I'm saying it happens, and has happened often enough. My point was one of Kashmiri identity. I'm sure the very intelligent and quick-witted tour guides even KNEW the tourists were from Hindustan and therefore asked them. You see?
Oh, forget it.
This was fun. *insert smiley*