By Aaqib Javaid
Thirty Kashmiri girls on army tour have stirred up a hornet’s nest in valley. Most of the valleyites are blaming these girls, their parents for “going against the wind”. Bereft of any solid argument, the whole reaction appears a knee-jerk besides a selective outrage—as if those jumping to guns are flawless having no history of compromise in a colonial set up.
While demonizing these daughters of vale, we invoke the choicest human rights abuses committed by army in Kashmir: deaths, disappearances, dungeons, dreads… We are angry, mad, irate. The step has stirred anguish in us.
But, what we do in parallel to this—turning up life-size (in last poll, 70% of us were there), falling in line to finger puppets to power. And let’s not forget the long queues for police, paramilitary, army recruitment drives. I am sure some of those at forefront accusing these girls—who happened to study in Army Goodwill School and bound to act on army diktat—must have queued up for these drives, too. Didn’t that move to keep “unemployment at bay” make them hypocrites?
If it is a question—okay, yes, the same beaten question of surviving in a vicious setup—then why to single out someone, and subject them to mob lynch. Aren’t these tours happening since 1998 when army accused in brutal human rights abuses in Kashmir wore a “winning hearts and minds” mask?
So many questions for this selective outrage!
Before demonizing our daughters for dancing to Army’s tunes—obviously, any pinhead will tell you, it was a moment created for camera, and circulated to prick us deep—shouldn’t we ask ourselves: Why are we still sending our sons, daughters to avail that PM scholarships? Despite inviting persistent bad press, we still seem at peace with Delhi’s gimmick aimed at disturbing our young mindset. Why aren’t we give up on this largess, messing with our young and restless, projecting us if we – Kashmiris are so desperate for Delhi’s media-hyped “benevolence” to fund their education.
Why not flood our Facebook walls with outrage over this deliberate messing with our minds?
But, no, we won’t express our resentment beyond occasional outburst rooted in shallow understanding of a deep state at work. As long as money is coming—even if from our tormentors—till then, let the “show go on”.
During such occasions, how low we stoop, score—overlooking the fact: Aren’t we trading with martyrs by shaking hands with our slayer? You see, besides selective outrage, ours seems the case of a selective reminiscence.
By adhering to the same reminiscence, we never detest to rally behind strikes.
Coming back to our case of selective outrage—blaming these teenagers for this army tour equally exposes our moral weakness: to pass the bucks. We always blame leadership and conveniently fail to blame ourselves for the faults we committed at societal level.
Before dismissed as sermonizer, I believe this blame game must perish to realise something grave. If our daughters are ‘dancing on other’s tunes’—shouldn’t we spare a thought, and ask: What about our own tunes? Why we have failed to recreate a tune like Ragda—the jig that once set our hearts and minds on fire—unlike Sadbhavna’s Goodwill bogey.
I believe time has come to rise above blame games for the collective good. Let’s share the blame and heal the wheel. If that sounds too much, then consider this: When 2014 floods almost devoured Omar Abdullah’s government on ground besides triggered hate for Delhi’s shallow, showy support—then weren’t we, Kashmiris, there for each other? Didn’t we get together to resurrect the broken lives again? We did, and we are proud of that synergy—something hailed by Allama: Zara Nam Ho To Ye Mitti Bohat Zarkhaiz Hai Saqi.
(Hailing from Doru Islamabad, Aaqib Javaid is engineering scholar at DIT University, Dehradun. Views expressed are author’s own. )