Kashmir : From an Ignorant Indian

I am a Nobody. I am not an Actor. I am not a Politician. I am not an Artist. I am no one significant in the broad landscape of humanity. I am just another person in a count of billions.

I haven’t studied political science or history. I am not an Economist or a Journalist. I am not the person who watches the News Hour every day or reads the newspaper on a daily basis. I am just another person trying to get through life by being the best that I can be. 

I keep my head low. I have opinions which I keep to myself. I see problems that need to be solved but I let them pass me by because I think I have no control over matters which are out of my hands. I let it go… All of it. 

There is no reason for you to listen to me. I didn’t help elect the old government or the new one. I’ve never been to Kashmir. I don’t have family originating or belonging to that region. 

I am Hindu by birth but practice no religion in particular, by choice. I don’t know if there are a 100 gods or one. I don’t know if I should refer to that higher power as Him Her or Allah, Jesus or Vishnu. 

I don’t know the answers to a whole lot of questions. I had to Google “Capital of Jammu and Kashmir” to make sure that it was Srinagar. Yes, I am that ignorant. 

However what I do know is that I am a person who does not want War. I pick up a paper every morning these days and scan through it. 

ISIS, Syria, Ukraine, Hong Kong and it was Kashmir today. Each side blamed the other. Each side harmed civilians who've got nothing to do with the politics of the World.

India, Pakistan… They didn't care. One villager said that they were forced to migrate away from their homes because they didn't know when the roof over their heads would collapse. I’m sitting thousands of miles away in a hotpot of global culture and you know what I worry about in the night? My mattress is not comfortable enough and I should invest in memory foam. 

Serendipitously, just last week I saw this fantastic adaptation of Hamlet, Haider. If there is another film which narrated the situation in the Valley as gracefully as this did, then I haven’t seen it. In the wake of the recent floods that devastated the region, this was a perfect reminder to audiences that Kashmir exists, in your own country and it’s fraught with problems that you will never face personally. 

In the past two weeks, people from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities asked me to explain the real problem in Kashmir. Every time I explained it to them, it hurt me because they asked me what the solution is. Every time I said that there is none. Our hands are tied because we, the people, don’t make those decisions. We, the people, can’t come up with a solution that would make everyone happy. We, the people, are not sure if war is the answer. 

Each government wants to take a tough stand and prove their strength. It’s a battle of egos that has nothing to do with the common man, not Indians, not Pakistanis, not Kashmiris. 

In an era of technological advancement and development, do we, the people, want our taxes to be wasted in wars where innocent lives are obliterated, defense arsenal is hoarded, environmental pollution is not given a damn about; whether we are on this side of the border or that?

I've promised myself that I won’t watch prejudiced news channels. I’ll try to be objective. I’ll try to not let myself get carried away by nationalistic sentiments that do more harm than good in precarious situations as this. 

Last evening, one of my professors shared this case study with us in class which reduces me to tears every time i watch it. Take a look.

It summarizes everything that you and I would want or what we need. Who enlightened us with this vision? Not a media house. Not any international body. Not any political leader.

I don’t know. Sometimes, I think if it were left to us, normal people, with no access to guns, nuclear weapons or suicide bombers, we would be sitting by the bank of Jhelum, sipping on hot chai and pulling each other’s legs.

Maybe, that’s just me. Or is it you too?

(This article is by far, one of the best ones, i've read this week. Click here)

Photo courtesy: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/life-as-they-live-it-faces-of-jammu--kashmir/15537159