Narratives & Counter Narratives

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Mehraj Din

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Strange! Isn’t it? The unusualness of Kashmir and its cynically calculated surveillance is experiencing a new trend of narratives and counter narratives on some of the most sensitized issues and personalities—Azadi and pro-resistance leadership.

Contextualizing the two majoritarian narratives will help us to understand the foundational premise of looking at the epistemological construct of such discourses. Some are appropriating, contextualizing not only the views of Geelani but actually the whole premise of resistance ideology using secular liberal reason as a tool for “rationalization of dissent”.

On the other hand, the counter narrativists contextualize the dynamics of occupation and its functional chasms rationalize their support for “all forms of dissent”.

Unfortunately, they are branded as “digital Che Guevara and online revolutionaries” without rationalizing their “power of argument” in the objective politico-historical context of occupations. The former narrative is a contextualization for a “democratic resistance against a brutal and calculated neo-colonial occupation” and the parallel narrative argues for “multifaceted resistance against a rogue fascist state”.

One rationalization is for “hunky-dory resistance against the military state” and another is a potent ideology of “prioritization of exterminating the occupier”.

The beauty of constructive debates lies in their qualitative argumentation not in countering the arguments by labeling it as mere rhetoric to buttress their highhanded quasi-intellectual indigestion. Some people have mastered the art of “being politically correct in public domain” and speak in literary-philosophical jargon with the tinge of decontextualized and misinterpreted passages from history to defend their unconscious and at times conscious “opportunistic alignment” with the occupational status-quo.

Unfortunately, they have failed in conforming the credentials of “digital revolutionaries” and even though if we consider the “research appropriate” still the support of these digital Che Guevara’s to multifaceted resistance against an established occupier proclaim their uncanny resemblance with the idea of losing the fear of consequences.

Invoking Islamic history will help us to contextualize the dichotomy; tradition proudly calls Muhammad as Nabi al Malhama, a warrior-prophet. He fought and was nearly killed in the battle of Uhud, as he was, unlike most other founders of faiths, willing to risk his reputation for holiness and to dirty his hands for the sake of his ideal city.

He was a no day-dreamer engaged in conventional speech-making. Islamic rejects the ideas of absolute political evil or absolute virtue. Power invariably limits virtue—but it need not to destroy it. Accordingly, Muhammad did not merely fantasize about mending the world while avoiding the moral risks of direct action. He moved beyond the comfortable catharsis of merely moral outrage.

The progressive libertarian intellectuals forget the shrewd chasms of “occupation” and fail to understand the difference between the histories of “state inflicted violence” and “violence as one of the reasoned responses”.

What we see in colonial histories is that there are some well-placed individuals nourished by European colonizers in European universities and crafted afterwards in mainstream politics who afterwards become the conscious allies of occupation. But the role of occupation in nourishing the counter narratives against the majoritarian narratives, and by the way have their own rationale of engaging with the occupier seems to be in line with “colonial reasoning” not the “reasoning of colonial subjects”.

Anne ‘Franks’ and Noam ‘Chomskys’ suit well in American society but Kashmiris need the likes of Alija Izetbejovic and Mariyam Jameelah.

(The author is a scholar at University of Kashmir. Views expressed are author’s own.)

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