by MC KASH
I came to Bangalore as a Hip Hop artist from #Kashmir with a lot to say and tell. However, I expected what every Kashmiri expects when he/she travels to India and to be honest, the Indian State did not disappoint. My performance was scheduled for 8 PM and even though the event was running a bit late I was categorically stopped from entering the auditorium by the Bangalore Police whose three-starred officers sorrounded me and threatened me with jail if they or the Pandits present in the crowd found my lyrics “anti-national”. They grilled me for over twenty minutes and only allowed me to go inside when the time for the event was nearly up. Even then, they stood beside the stage and looked as if they were ready to pounce on me. But the Heart of a Rebel…
I felt weak. The threats and the intimidation played heavily on my mind. But then I heard the overwhelming cheers coming from the #Kashmiris present in the crowd. They gave me strength to stand as I have stood for years: never compromising with the truth. Because the Heart of a Rebel…
As soon as I held the mic, the MC in me became one with my people. The first words I spoke? “Rest in Peace, Inayat. I do this for you.” Because the Heart of a Rebel never forgets. I asked the Bangalore crowd to mourn alongside Kashmiris and to observe a moment’s silence for what is currently happening in Kashmir. And then, Heart of a Rebel…
The Indian Police then ordered the sound guys to cut off the mic and the music as soon as the beat to my second song had begun. I felt the anger, not because it was humiliating, but because this is how India treats genuine Kashmiri voices. It doesn’t matter whether you are a young artist hoping to narrate stories or a victim of Indian oppression hoping to find receptive ears of solidarity in India. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED. If the fascists don’t stop you, the police will. And the good people, who can at least feel a degree of empathy, will vehemently sit scared and quiet. And that is bullshit. Where is the indignation? I went off stage, angry. The first Indian I encountered on the way, two ladies sitting together, I looked at them and screamed, “This is bullshit!”
After that, the place went in flames. #Azadi reverberated in the air. I saw one of the three-starred officers waving his finger at me, charging towards me in anger and screaming, “You did this. You’re going to jail now.” And then another officer joined and grabbed me by my shoulder. That is exactly when #Kashmiris formed a circle around me. We hugged and shook hands and smiled. We felt the power in being united and together. I have experienced the same in the protest marches I have been a part of in Srinagar. And this felt like home.
Last I heard, the Indian State along with its fascist groups is incessantly threatening Kashmiris in Bangalore. It wants Kashmiris to feel scared, wherever they are. The Police also wants to analyze the lyrics to the song that I performed. So:
“HEART OF A REBEL IS BEATING RIGHT INSIDE ME,
NOW HOW WILL YOU CONFINE ME, WHEN YOU CAN’T DEFINE ME?
HEART OF A REBEL! HEART OF A REBEL!”
(MC Kash aka Roushan Ilahi is a Kashmiri rapper who shot to fame in 2010 with his “I Protest” number. His latest song “Like a Sufi” took internet by storm.)
Note: Here KL in larger public interest reproduces MC Kash’s FB post detailing his Bangalore ordeal.