To Barkha Dutt, With Conflict

By Dr Qayum Hamid Changal

Barkha Dutt

Before I pour down my thoughts ahead, I want to assure you that I am not writing it under the influence of any country, sect or group. Neither am I Arabinised nor radicalised. These are the massive terms that represent neither me nor any other Kashmiri. We are simple people. We are only humanised.

Recently you hosted one debate on NDTV by the name The Kashmir Dairy. It talked about the soaring number of young boys picking up the arms. The debate was mostly healthy and thought-provoking. But, some of it was absurd and I wished to be there and answer back politely, though I believe if detected anti-national it would have been edited or entirely deleted.

One of your panelists vomited out the words contrary to reason or common sense. Enough asinine, he said that the people of Kashmir are “thinking-wise” a hundred years behind.

I disagree! I disagree! I disagree!

Had it been the case as the panelist propagated, we would never be exercising the last rituals following death of our Pandit brethren. Nor would we save the people irrespective of creed, caste, religion or sex when floods hit Kashmir. Didn’t we save your armed forces too, be it CRPF, army or police?

We respect our womenfolk more than the humans in New Delhi. We don’t let any Nirbhaya die on the middle of the road.

I know today if I all of the sudden stop chanting the slogans of “Right to Self Determination” or “Azadi”, the same panelist would address me as a wise soul with a great intellect.

Dear Barkha, you had been in Kashmir lately to report from ground zero. But, all you tried to make a point at the end of the debate was mostly irrational. You talked of growing radicalisation by witnessing our womenfolk wearing the Abaya. I mean, seriously?

I don’t want to go into the discussion whether the Abaya is an Islamic dress or not. But, the sisters here wear it to please the Almighty, not any radical school of thought.

Everyone has the right to wear whatever he or she likes. I hope you understand that no piece of cloth or a thread of beard shall harm any living or nonliving being.

I request you to visit the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura. You shall see so many Abaya– clad female doctors and paramedics treating the patients with utmost care and professionalism.

Visit banks, schools, colleges, government, private offices — they are everywhere. They are in every part of the world.

But, according to you, that makes them radical or extremist or danger to the society. Barkha, for your kind information, even I have a beard. And, does that make me the radical doctor?

Religion was always imbibed in the roots and shoots of Kashmir conflict. It is not new, as you learn it. Since my childhood, that’s early nineties, till date every chain of slogans start with “Allah-hu-Akbar”.

The slogan “Yehan kya chalega… Nizam-e-Mustafa” is as old as this Kashmir conflict. So, it was always there. The thing is, your goodself and some others didn’t recognise it before.

“Engage” seems to be the key word of your discussion. I sincerely believe, the government of India must seriously think about engaging the Kashmir leadership and the people of Kashmir “insaniyat ke dayire mein”. It is nothing new, you know it far better than me that Vajpayee proposed this formula and it sort of worked.

I am looking forward to another debate where these young souls of Kashmir who have picked the guns should be taken seriously. It is for the first time in the last ten years that the number of local boys is more than the foreigners. It must be taken as seriously.

Not like some panelist advising to launch an offensive against everybody who is anti-Indian government policies, I hope peace and prosperity hugs our Kashmir sooner the better.

Dr-Qayum-Hamid-Changal-in-MaldavesThe author is a Kashmiri doctor based in Maldives

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