If Kashmiriyat is not the real reason for Kashmiri separatism, then what is the bug that bites them and provokes them for ‘azaadi’? I have rarely heard a Kashmiri Muslim feeling proud about Kalhana’s Rajtarangini or the scriptures written in ancient Kashmiri Sharda script. I know for sure that if Kashmir ever becomes independent, memorials will be constructed for Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhat, Burhan Wani, Sabzar Ahmed and others, but I ask the Kashmiris whether they will construct memorials for Kalhana, Queen Lal Ded , King Lalitaditya and Avantivarman, who ruled Kashmir with glory?

There are approximately 200,000 Kashmiri Pundits in Jammu, Delhi and other parts of India. They are proud Kashmiris as well as proud Indians. They do not feel that there is any conflict or contradiction between the two viewpoints. 

It seems that the Kashmiri Muslims have a special problem in living happily in India, just like the Pakistani Muslims and Bengali Muslims, who eventually drifted out of India.

Kashmiris often say that they want to live in an entirely separate Kashmiri atmosphere where Kashmiriyat would be the only culture. Who is stopping them from living an entirely Kashmiri life within the boundaries of India? India belongs to 29 nationalities having their own national prides and egos. They have their own language and literature, their own local customs and religious festivals, their own food habits, dress and beliefs.

Kashmiriat will be fully protected in India but is Kashmiriyat the real cause for separatism? Had Kashmiriat been so important for the Kashmiris they would have taught Kashmiri as a compulsory language in the educational institutions of the Kashmir valley. Pundits would not have been driven out of the valley if the bonds of Kashmiriyat were so strong. Kashmiri would have been the administrative language in the secretariat and district offices.

If the Kashmiris had really felt that India was doing injustice to them and the Indian armed forces were indeed killing them like flies, how is it that no Kashmiri MLA or Minister has ever resigned in protest? How is it that they are still glued to their chairs, enjoying the loaves and fishes of office? If the Kashmiris do not display a sense of conviction, courage and character, only Islamic slogans will not fetch them any ‘azaadi’.

If memorials are constructed for Islamic preachers in Kashmir, will similar memorials be constructed for Nund Rishi also? If the answer to all my questions is ‘no’ then it would be logical to conclude that Islamic isolationism and intolerance is at the root of Kashmiri separatism. Many rulers in Delhi do not give much importance to Kashmiri nationalism. They pooh pooh their patriotism by saying ”it is nothing but narrow-minded Islamic fundamentalism which needs to be crushed by brute force”.

So Kashmiri Muslims have nothing to fear in India. No body will stop them from offering namaz or observing ‘Roza’ or going on Haj. Nobody will stop them ever from enjoying ‘wazwan’, their traditional cuisine. If they want to have tsochworu (special Kashmiri bread) with tea, if they want to use Kashmiri kangri in winter, nobody will stop them from that. If they want to use Kashmiri as the official language, nobody will object provided they allow the use of English and Hindi also so that people of Jammu and Ladakh are not inconvenienced.

The Kashmiris now have to prove to the world that they are now not fighting Indian troops for any Islamic communalism and fundamentalism.

Courtesy: Amit Kushari

The Statesman, Delhi