Letter to Narendra Modi, from Kashmir!

Irtif Lone

Dear Narendra Modi Ji,

 I  have had this urge to write to you for a long time now.  Or probably it looks long since you have had a spectacular victory. It has almost shattered the oldest political party which had become more of mother-son party as you often referred to. And there is this one thing I wish to tell you before anything else, I see in you the power of democracy. Or how else would someone belonging to such a humble background rise to such power and authority.  But, then I wouldn’t lie, I so much wished it wasn’t you.  Well, let’s leave the bitterness for the end. See, in all this I almost forgot to congratulate you.

It feels good to be writing to someone as big as you. What do you call it? Yea, 56 inch chest. There are certain things on which I totally agree with you. But, little less than the ones I disagree on. That perhaps should not put strain on our relation. The relation of you being the culmination of democracy and I an occupational subject, you being born in free India and I in utter subjugation, you the first political citizen of India and I yearning for Identity.  We have quite a relation, don’t we?

To put the things in perspective, I have known you since the 2002-Gujrat riots. I was a student then, studying in Chhattisgarh. It was a newly carved state those days. But the riots scared me so much, that I went home, never to return back.  Not that I felt any change in the behaviour of people I was staying with. They condemned the riots much more than I did. But the fear took me and my family over. Not also that I hadn’t seen violence, in Kashmir it is part of life.  The first early memories, I have, is probably of bloodshed.

Well, but then let’s get to the basics first. I am not sure, if you have been briefed about the problem in Kashmir. And I am in no doubt that you soon will be, but the narrative will be far from truth. There is a need that you give some attention to this problem, knowing that you fought this election on the agenda of development.  But, Kashmir is not at all a developmental problem. It’s much more than that.  People in Kashmir seek right to self determination.  And it’s not today; it has been so since the independence of India. Because you were born a couple of years later after the Indian Independence, I would like to inform you that it is India which took the Kashmir issue to UN on 1st January 1948 and the resolution was adopted on 21st April 1948 which put forth plebiscite and gave the people of Jammu and Kashmir an option to chose their fate.

That’s an old story.  But, I am sure you must have an idea about the “teenocide” which has occurred and surged in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Between, I don’t know if you know what teenocide means. It is a term invented by a Kashmiri economist, a one word elucidation of what has happened. And I am sure you must have felt bad about the killings. Like the other day you said, that you will feel the pain if the puppy comes under the wheel of the car you are just a passenger of. I totally understand your emotions. Between, to strengthen your statement, let me tell you, in Kashmir dogs have more rights than humans. Human killings are daily news, sometimes hitting the last pages of a newspaper but if a dog is killed that would probably make to the front page.  So, be sure I totally understand your emotions.

But, I have some admiration for you. I remember watching the video more than couple of times, when Mehdi Hasan offered you the skull cap and you rejected it, in front of people and more than that the camera’s who were capturing the moment. At least you were honest enough to do that. Why should a Hindu nationalist who has been a part of RSS cadres be cowed down by losing some minority votes? It’s a democracy, where it’s always the majority which wins.

And well, enough. I am not good at writing letters. And maybe you will never get to read this.  But then how else would I have satiated this urge to write to you.

With love, hope and fear from Kashmir

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