This place called Kashmir is a strange place and even stranger are the people living here. Not that I personally subscribe to that view but that that is part of the narrative that has been advanced by the Indian politician-military-media nexus. This morning as I was out on a walk, I ran into a CRPF jawan who was posted on duty in the lane leading to my house. As I was feeling the pinch of the subzero temperatures in the wee hours of the winter morning and he smiled with a friendly hello, I stopped and out of sheer curiosity wanted to know if he was not feeling the same way like I did, as one would have naturally expected in respect of someone who hailed from the plains of India. To my surprise, he said “It is perfectly fine” and that “the biting cold of winter in Kashmir didn’t hurt me”. This aroused my curiosity further to know more about his experiences in Kashmir, especially regarding how he felt dealing with the local population which, I thought, he would describe as unfriendly and hostile. Again to my astonishment, he retorted “They are such a nice, warm and friendly people”!
Well, what does all that add up to? What he had said is what Kashmiris actually are: warm, friendly and hospitable, even towards those who are under orders to treat them as enemies and hence to resort to overkill even in the face of no great provocation from unknown quarters. Cynics may surely dismiss such views about Kashmiris as being over the top. Despite the demonization and vilification of Kashmiris by the Kashmir-bashers who are in this campaign while being aided by the supine Godi media, I personally tend to go with his take on the people of Kashmir, precisely because the fact remains that Kashmiris hold nothing against India or its people, save those politicians/policy pundits/vested interests who are hell bent upon unleashing a life denying mission in Kashmir in pursuit of a malicious agenda which is the sole reason for the latter’s stubborn refusal to peacefully resolve the Kashmir tangle.
Exactly same is the story of KP’s who have no reason, absolutely no reason I repeat, to demonise KM’s as anti-nationals, communal brutes -as the ‘real villains of the piece’ that, at least a huge section of them, would want the world to believe. This because they have foolishly allowed themselves to fall into the trap laid for them by the self-same ‘netas’ who have successfully brainwashed them into treating the latter as their betenoire in pursuit of their thirst for pelf and power, never mind the gore and blood that that may have to be spilt in the homes, hearths and highways of Kashmir. What a shambolic state that these men of straw, these petty politicians have turned this society into, which used to be considerably open and egalitarian not long ago – a natural corollary of spinning and buying into false narratives!
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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