A love letter to Kashmiris, from an anti-national

Sabarish Suresh

(With the breakdown of machinery in Kashmir currently, facing adversity almost to the point of a civil war, the issue of Kashmir remains yet unsettled, however, prominent now more than ever. This is an adulation to the relentless struggle of Kashmiris and a condemnation of the Indian State that propagates such oppression using its foot soldiers.)

Kashmir- paradise on Earth with the most beautiful and exotic valleys, hills and lakes is also the State which has been the subject of oppression and violence of the Indian Security forces for decades now. Narratives and stories of Kashmir brings back the ghosts of the past that enlivens Agha Shahid Ali’s words: ‘I am being rowed through paradise in a river of hell’.

Cartoon: Mir Suhail
Cartoon: Mir Suhail

It is indeed true that they have made a desolation and call it peace. For the sustenance and obsessive hold of a nation-state, the oppression unleashed on you is unfathomable. But my dear friends, your struggle now is more significant than ever, for we are now under the rule of a Savarkarite-Hindutvadi Prime Minister who has epitomized the punyabhoomi nation-state ideology so intricately propounded by Savarkar. I wish they understand that Kashmiriyat and the love for each other prevalent in your state far surpasses any punyabhoomi-love gimmick. But your struggle is not in vain. It shows that fear can only be controlled to such an extent and not longer. It signifies what a lose fabric engulfs this idea of a nation-state, that self-determination becomes nothing more than a mere paradox.

The most inhuman, and insensitive, argument defending this subjugation of yours is the utilitarian seeming farce that special powers is required to control Kashmir for the security of India. But the irony of this is not so hidden. For the security of India, Kashmir becomes the bait, but wait, does that mean Kashmir is not integral to India(quiteobviously)? For where is the security of Kashmir? If the Indian Army is institutionalized for the protection and security of its citizens, then is it not the highest of crimes and greatest of betrayal if the biggest threat to Kashmiris (who the Indian State enforces as citizens) is from the very same Indian Army?

Countless rapes, murders, missing persons, unidentified graves and assaults is the unfortunate reality of your beautiful valley. The ubiquitous presence of the paramilitary reinforces and sustains the eerie message of insecurity and instability. If the Army Commander, in a recent release, claims that the villagers who would disassociate themselves from the militants, now join them in fighting the security forces, this goes a long way to show the level of resentment and gravity of anguish faced that leads you to lose all hope and despair.

But fear not my friends, we are facing the same struggle. Not to reduce and appropriate the diversity of struggles, but my point is that we face a struggle against a State that has grown to be grossly violent for the marginalized. And we are the anti-nationals facing sedition charges who denounce hyper-nationalism, people of caste who face savarna politics and appropriation on a daily basis, Muslims who continue to be subjected to sustained and legitimized islamophobia, the adivasis that continue to die, women and queer people who continue to face the brunt of brahmanaical- heteronormative-patriarchy and many more oppressed identities and individuals for whom fundamental rights and justice is nothing more than theoretical gibberish.

We remember KunanPushpora, and we remember Kupwara, and Gurez and Bandipora. We are with you in this struggle, against the Indian State who has eulogized hyper-nationalism, to the extent of waging war against its own people. The Indian State has waged war against Bastarand Manipur just as it has against you. We stand together in this fight against misplaced nationalism, and we stand with you in your struggle.

Sabarish Suresh is a fourth year law student from O.P Jindal Global University. He is interested in Criminal Law and Human Rights and actively writes on gender and sexuality.

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