There has been nothing from us at the Jashn-e-Azadi blog for a while…
One reason is that we have been working to finish the film for the first preview on March 13th. And it seemed appropriate to observe a discreet silence before the film first appeared before its audience. But the more serious reason is that we have been waiting and watching, reading and soaking in, wondering what direction this blog would take. There have admittedly been moments of quiet despair when it seemed to have disintegrated into an ugly, abusive, damaging brawl. At other times there were moments of lucidity that held out the kind of promise that the blog set out in search of –
Mar 9th, 2007 at 9:28 pm
Some Kashmiri Pandits are showcasing their intolerance. They would like a Kashmir without Kashmiri Muslims. There would be Kashmiri Muslims who would also like the opposite to be true. Either we ask for permission for both communities to wage a war to decide the issue, or we also listen to those who might like to take a different route to freedom. If every Kashmiri Pandit and Muslim is “equally” entitled to speak on behalf of themselves both individually as well as in their idea of the collective, we should have the civilized sense to hear them before we decide to throw stones at them. I am amazed at the brutality of people’s opinions which seek to divide between those voices which have suffered but still manage to be critical and those voices which have suffered and ended with hatred. If suffering isn’t as banal as vegetables weighed on a scale to find out who suffered more, then every human being has to be granted his and her own view of suffering. No civilized community or individual can create a gulag to exterminate the critical voices of human suffering. Though we all would regretfully bow down our heads before those who suffered, we also cannot fail to point out that suffering alone, alas, cannot become a justified condition for war and hatred. Both Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims have suffered, and it is about time they respected each other’s suffering. But respect for suffering doesn’t mean that one has to behave like a butcher and the other has to behave like a lamb. The list of mutual grievances would surely be long and a contested one. But war and hatred will not allow the grievances to be put on the table. We are no longer in the Medieval Era where we would expect our local warlords and chieftains to fight battles and our respective Kings to win the wars for us. If we respect ourselves as thinking, democratic citizens we have to show it when it is most easy to succumb to medieval mindsets. We have to resist this barbarism of abusing those who would like to add their own story to this larger story of suffering Kashmiris. Your history comes in the way of Sanjay Kak’s memory; Kak’s memory comes in the way of your history – don’t brutalize this Aga Shahid-ian entanglement with vulgar retorts. You can elivate your own sense of suffering only by respecting his story. Or else, we have known suffering to be not always successful in humanizing people. Or else the Jews should have treated the Palestinians the way they would have liked the Germans to treat them. I remember an RSS rumour-story from my father where Gandhi was painted during partition as a Muslim in disguise. The same mentality seems to be working against Kak’s credentials. Kak’s film on Kashmir cannot get a verdict before it has been shown. You cannot turn so restless and timid about someone’s imagination. All those who are calling Kak names are Hindu Ayatollah’s. People are ready to turn sick for the sake of a diesase they love. The name of that disease is hatred. Those who are mediocre become the bussinessmen of hatred in any society. I have mixed pleas with harshness because I don’t think people are going to change overnight. So I thought I should better take them on from all fronts. I am not very sure whether this blog on the film should have been started before the film was screened once, but it has all the legitimacy in the world to promote and gather a wave of interest and opinions. I hope the film gets a civilized response from the people of this country. I hope Indian civilians do not behave like the Indian army.