Tyranny makes itself manifest in all sorts of shapes and sizes across the passage of time. In our country last year it was the government this year it’s mother nature who seemingly has turned on us as a whole though we are here to discuss the first bit.
As of recent I sat down to talk with a native of Kashmir so I may learn more about what they went through since the scraping of Article 370, a move that was regarded as a masterstroke by the childish media that dominates our perspectives on things.
Here are a series of questions asked, the answers to which will provide you with an actual on ground perspective of what was and what is going on.
Do you feel safe when you step outside your house?
“No. If we go to market and we know “halaat theek hain” still there’s a fear kahi teargas shelling na ho jaye achanak se grenade blast na ho ya worst encounter.
Last year I went out to market with my mother to buy something and then suddenly tear gas shells exploded in that narrow lane (shops were allowed to open back then, September-October 2019, early in the morning till 8 – 9 am) People started running everywhere, coughing, shopkeepers closed their shutters it was horrible you couldn’t breathe at all. And after 2 days we saw the news that grenades exploded there. We DON’T EVEN FEEL A LITTLE safe when a boy/man of our family is out. There have been many cases of disappearance and then the body is found somewhere else or not found at all. Fake encounters and stuff. My mother, chachi, nani constantly fear if their sons go out. Even I do, I pray constantly for their safety (my chachi won’t even let my cousin go out to gym at times). It was winter of 2015, Gowhar Nazeer, a young man, I think he was 22 y/o, of our lane (the lane where I live) went out to buy milk, as his mother asked him. His father said he was shot in the head by army personnel But the army said he was hit by tear gas on his head. Either way he died and it was my own neighborhood. He was the only son and his mother still says I shouldn’t have asked him to get milk!!”
What was the condition among the people you know and you during the 5 month internet ban?
“One, frustration. We didn’t know anything. I was out with my relatives attending a marriage function, and first the internet snapped, second we heard there’s going to be a curfew so we had to rush home, third, it was all panicky hard to hire a taxi/ride home Then calls and everything stopped Then the next day we heard that article 370s been aborted (it was on the evening of 4th August internet snapped first) I cannot speak for everyone but obviously it felt like being betrayed, angry and how it feels when someone takes away their promise puts their claim on your home no mention takes away your basic rights. There was no means of communication for few weeks not even newspaper, except radio. My mother father were out of country, my uncle in Delhi. There was no way to communicate. For important calls we had to go to the police station and we just went twice the second time my grandfather was denied. It was like being thrown back in time. No schools, no colleges, no markets, nothing at all. Just staying at home day and night.But we’ve had so much internet ban that me and some of my cousins shifted to books and literature long back. We had to stock our daily supplies because you can’t go out anytime to buy anything. Alhamdulillah we had our homes atleast. There were many poor who didn’t have anything to eat at all but Kashmiris are giving neighbors. My grandfather asked us to keep the gates closed (which he never does) for some Mujahed might come in and then the army will blast our whole home. There was no way we could’ve planned a protest or anything. Just keep it in. (As if they’d have heard what the Kashmiris had to say)”
What impact have jobs/businesses faced of people you know locally?
“Of course it faced heavy losses. The businesses, market was all closed. People who depend on tourism, Horticulture. everything. We had construction work going which was abandoned as all the non Kashmiris were asked to leave the state before the lock down. I don’t know about other companies but the essential duties like the petroleum products they were still working. Even in heavy curfew, if they don’t fear army/government, they (the businessmen etc) have to fear locals getting enraged at them for working when the whole state is in denial.
What is the condition of Education- schools/colleges now as compared to one year ago?
Education- schools, colleges have always been (at least for as long as I’ve known) uncertain. Even back then in 2010, I used to study in an army school, my school went on even in strictest curfew. It was located inside an army camp. But my cousins, their school remained shut for months at a time And then they had to do all the syllabus in a day or two. The degrees you’d normally get in 3-4 years get extended to 5-6 years, and that’s common knowledge here. If I think of a year ago today at least we have online classes going.
Have you ever faced discrimination of any sort for being a resident of Kashmir?
No. I’m very thankful to the people around me, at school in Delhi were very loving but my father said they had a hard time finding a home/flat for rent in places like Jaipur, Mumbai.
Any concluding remarks?
” Yes. There are some points I’d like to add
It is what I feel. I’ve grown up studying about India and I’d have been happy being with India until the recent years since Modi Government.
I’ll admit I was a little excited that now they might bring development get people here jobs, unemployment is a great issue here, but then when nothing happened
When even in Covid this government is issuing urgent land auction notices for non-kashmiris. When they listen to no Kashmiri, what good are they going to be for the people, they removed all the representatives we had. I fear they might end up exploiting our lands and resources
It is disappointing till now what great developments they’ve made/ making.”
I hope this was a means for you to feel, to empathize with the people there and what they are facing. Remember, there are people who are poor who suffered the consequence of this impulsive move 10 folds than the normal well off residents.
Remember to help them in anyway and every way possible, you reader are a means by which the people of Kashmir can be liberated from their shackles of tyranny.