Ghetto This Land

Riyaz Rashid

For a long time now, Kashmiris have been crying at top of their voices that their holy land is being turned into a laboratory for emulating models that find their origin in Israel. And with each passing day, this realization is coming to fore that the ultra right wing party – BJP – is hell bent to force their ulterior agendas on hapless Kashmiris. But there was a sort of solace for Kashmiris that these BJP men would never conquer an inch space inside valley of saints, leave apart succeeding in their hideous designs. But every story that hangs on such a delicate balance of wishful thinking has to end on a sorry note.

And this wishful story of Kashmiris too ended with a bang! It happened just after God’s wrath had left them like unclaimed children and they were looking for solace from any which way possible.

The ‘solace’ finally came from an old seasoned politician, Mufti. He came like a Pied Piper mesmerizing the once-bitten-twice-shy Kashmiris, promising them a ‘better future’ and a ‘respectable life’. And these helpless Kashmiris followed him in troves, and voted him to power. But once he got what he wanted the Pied Piper forgot what he had promised! Now you must be thinking what it has got to do with BJP? Or where does this party of ultra rightist fit in this narrative?

Let me tell you another story. It is a story of a saint who had a wish to turn a beautiful vale into a fabled water body. He prayed for years on end to get his wish fulfilled. But there was no one who could have helped him fulfil his wish. And then came the Pied Piper, playing his magical sonnets, and offered him to help realize his dream.

The Pied Piper finally joined his hands with the BJP and vowed to do the unthinkable.

And, finally the process of turning the beautiful vale into “composite compartments” started. There were times when people belonging to all faiths lived close to each other without bothering about each others’ identity or political leanings. But that was long time ago.

These newly thought out compartments are part of a longstanding dream that has made BJP join hands with the parties that they have despised before the elections. But as it is said, one has to give something to achieve a larger goal. And in this context, the larger goal seems to be change in demography of a place that has resistance flowing in its veins.

But will Pied Piper succeed in duping the helpless Kashmiris over and over again in a short span of just six months, remains to be seen.

There is something in Kashmir’s air that has kept it going since centuries despite witnessing turbulent times for most of its history. And that something has kept its conscious alive and kicking in face of such aggression. Let us see how the resilient Kashmiris will fare in the face of new invasion, an invasion that threatens their very existence. But then Kashmiris are used to face such existential threats. Its history is full of such events. Being hospitable in nature should not be mistaken as weakness! It rather shows our willingness to accommodate rather give-in!

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