In Dependence

Arshid Malik

People-out-on-EidPlease do understand that while referring to the situation in Kashmir in the course of this piece of writing I am only referring to the social fabric and milieu of Kashmir and its people and very much desist from indulging in the debate of politics surrounding Kashmir since the subject is absolutely hackneyed and extremely critical.

“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.” – Che Guevara

The situation in Kashmir, I wish to deliberate upon this subject, is it really critical in a sense that it amounts to a particular “genre of conflict”. I am talking about the present with due respect and allegiance to the very disturbing past of the Valley. I am forced to broach this subject owing to the fact that many of my acquaintances, and most of them are only digitally known to me, enforce the view that Kashmir is “boiling” besides writings that appear in publications across the State and elsewhere; that something is very wrong with Kashmir; that Kashmiri people are living their lives under extreme duress and all and while doing so they attempt to regurgitate a very bleak picture of Kashmir which is strife-torn; that Kashmiri people have been denied some things which are very vital to their existence. I use the term “regurgitate” specifically since the picture painted, of Kashmir, by these people bears an antiquated and putrid smell. Sometimes I feel as if these very people are surviving by some ideation which practically does not relate to Kashmir anymore. It is a pitying stance that these very people I talk about take with respect to Kashmir and its people. I do not feel the same way and I figure that is because I am more open to reason and rationality rather than rhetoric and intrigue.

Well, by all standards Kashmiri people are living decent lives with access to excess amenities. Kashmiri people live an exuberant life which is sometimes nearly punctuated by sporadic incidents of violence or human rights abuses, which in any case is a global phenomenon since such things happen all over the world all the time. We live in plush houses that are made-to-order and regularly over-indulge when it comes to appetite. Our streets are no longer home to the budget cars as now you can spot a BMW, a Mercedes or even a Porsche while you are out to buy regular groceries. Our marriage functions are lavishly organized and in one instance when a visiting colleague of mine, a foreigner, was invited to one of our posh luncheons and was made to sit cross-legged around our traditional bulk-sized serving plate with three other guys he couldn’t stop asking “where are the other guests”. He had come to believe that at least a dozen more people were supposed to eat off the bulk-sized serving plate judging the standard by the amount of meat and poultry which adorned the hillock of cooked rice that sat on the plate. When we informed him that it was meant only for four and that load of more meat and poultry was yet to be served on the same plate he, in a very lazy tone, replied “knock yourselves out”. We laughed it over but I later delved upon the deceased situation and realized that earlier that day the foreigner had been fed stories about the plight and plunder surrounding Kashmir and its people and he had not just expected the bulk-server plate for dessert. Anyways, sometimes I wonder whether we are even eligible to be crying out for liberation from a “foreign power” because I think that we never earned that part. Not going back to what happened in the late 80s and the early 90s because this entire period gives me the jitters, I wish to localize on the post 90s period especially the period following circa 2000. People have been living full-throttle, building homes to sizes which they never even need for the 20th to the power of their immediate kin, cooking up meals for a few hundred people that would easily satiate the appetite of the entire population of a decently small country. We wear Armani, Versace and whatnot and clubbed with the Mercs and BMWs we are nowhere behind in the race for survival. So, where is the problem, rather the clause to the “degenerating conflict” that we so more than often refer to? I sincerely do not have the answer except the factoid that we Kashmiris always over-exaggerate and believe me, we tell unbelievable tales even to ourselves.

I think that we people do not have any right to claim our right to “independence” since we are already independent in a social sense. We are so practically out there, living our lives to the fullest achievable potential except for cases where we keep ourselves from attaining what is best for us and cases where we keep others from achieving their fullest potential because we are simply not in favour of that because of a persistent delirious emotion of jealousness.

Revolutions do not jump out off television sets or chafing dishes, my dear friends. Revolutions are borne off compassion for your very own and off a deep sensibility which is characteristic of your state of existence which must be troubled. We have other things to worry about, don’t we? We want our kids to study in schools which charge exorbitantly because we have load of surplus money which we do not know what to do with. We started revolution(s) back in time but all of them collapsed under their own weight because we folded over. Yes, let us accept that if we have any notion of credibility and honesty left to us. We are in a self-belligerent corner and yes, that’s what we have painted ourselves into. I dare say that we have brought shame to all of the people who at one time or the other cared about Kashmir and laid their lives for its cause. We are a shame of a people who only know how to trample upon everything that is genuine. We are corrupt, morally and otherwise to an extent that, again I say, we do not have the right to demand “independence”. We are in dependence of all that we do not need and all that we never wanted.

I agree to the Terms and Conditions of Kashmir Life


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