Arshid Malik

The  lens through which outsiders look at Kashmir is myopic as it does not recognize the variables that actuate the essentiality of the people living down here. Almost all the assessments done about Kashmir focus on the levels of physical violence, more in the shape of casualties taking place here while no one focuses on the levels of psychological violence which people of Kashmir have been facing for decades now. Kashmiri people are deeply hurt, and yes all of them and this is a fact which the very people who are affected by it do not realize. They only react to situations in anger which they relate to in an individualistic manner and are never able to connect it to the paradigm of mass psychology, the torture they have been facing as a collective lot and the thus shaped attitudes and life styles in general.

Decades of ongoing violence in Kashmir and the associated webbed structuredobstructions,for instance having to prove one’s identity when stepping out of home, on the roadside, the unending barrage of military forces into homes, the mesh-like spread of military forces’ pickets and the unending ant-like impositions of troops surrounding the length and breadth of the valley, all of these and more such “violations” have hurt the people of Kashmir at a cataclysmic level. This hurt is lodged deep inside the subconscious of the people here, sparing none.

The reason that this hurt has been segregated into the subconscious is relevant because of only one reason and that is people of Kashmir had to live somehow. People understood long back that the caravan of life had to move on and thus the deep lying hurt was pushed into the subconscious. This hurt surfaces, though, at certain inopportune times when we find a Kashmiri bursting into fit of anger and crying hoarse.

One of the most intriguing manifestation of the long-drawn hurt of Kashmiri people surfaces during protests. People are out on the streets for obtuse reasons. The causes which propel protests, more often violent than peaceful, are difficult to fathom in consonance with the general life a Kashmiri lives. By this I mean the way a Kashmiri works, eats and sleeps which is not unlike normal people yet when we apply the idiom of hurt to this very common man or woman things turn ugly. People turn “monstrous” and don’t even mind losing their heads to the bullets and shells of the controlling forces. Their blood is on boil. What is surprising is that people of a certain locality will be functioning normally till an eventuality turns them around and the buried hatred jumps to the surface. It is like a bubble that pops when pricked.

This hurt is obliquely symbolic of the Kashmir of today. Though unapparent, it is the mechanism of the general anger found among people here. The lifestyles, if one were to minutely study, are impressively suicidal. People in Kashmir smoke a lot, eat unhealthy food, survive on pills and syrups and don’t generally care about their symptomatic selves. Everything, figuratively, points towards a collective negative trait that seemingly appears ingrained into Kashmiris.

Categorically people outside the executed sphere of influence of Kashmir politically see the valley as an importune and regressive place prone to incidental violence but what they don’t see is the propulsive factors leading to this retrogressive attitude of the people down here.

What is surprising is that people living down here themselves do not realize the pedagogy of the instilled hurt. People here potently associate and affiliate their dissonance by way of anger directed towards the instruments of the State, their fellow beings or their own selves with basically “insignificant” political demiurges. No association, not even unintended is drawn to the flip side of life in Kashmir and that is the “historical” hurt?


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