Inam ul Rehman | Greater Kashmir | April 5, 2007
Jashn-e-Azadi: We the slaves |
On 15th August Indian army unfurls the tricolour at historic Lal-chowk to celebrate their Independence Day and on this occasion only two things are visible on the streets of Srinagar: Indian army and stray dogs, this is the most telling scene of Jashne-e-Azadi directed by Sanjay Kak. Jashne-e-Azadi made by the son of the soil Sanjay Kak left me numb. Here is film which mocks at the India’s sham democracy in Kashmir without sermonise or patronising anyone. There is no linear narration. And he has defined Azadi not by himself but by the concerned people. It can range from metaphysical fight to revenge. He has brilliantly assembled collage of scenes and let people speak themselves. And in between-you blink and you miss the scene: has first time ever highlighted that the death toll of Kashmir Pandits killed is 200 only. Then, the symbolism, metaphors and similes used by the director are very telling. The documentary moves to and fro again and again. And in the prevailing confusion one thing that is unanimous throughout the film despite chaos and confusion people lounge for Azadi.
It may jar the pristine filmmakers but this is not made for them. One can find thousand faults with the film and it may be criticised for not ‘balancing’ but does TRUTH need to be balanced. Yes there is no mention of Kunanposh Pora gang-rapes by the army. Yes he is silent of Gawkadal and Bijbehra massacres and other such details. But let us give him a benefit of doubt. Because Sanjay talks of those actions where media (read Hindu media) was involved yet nothing came to limelight. He deserves more than bouquets and patting on the back.
He has also shown that intellectualism is not only about writing articles, delivering lectures, attending world conferences but visual intellectualism can be most telling—without sermonising, without boring and without catering to few intelligentsia classes; visual intellectualism is today the most potent weapon to defeat the forces of evil.
I am the one who is guilty of relishing Indian movies, enjoying songs, loving its actors when the same country has sent my one hundred thousand brethrens in graves. Jashne-e-Azadi reminds of Paul Valery who in ‘History and Politics’ writes: history is the most dangerous product evolved from the chemistry of the intellect. Its properties are well known. It causes dreams; it intoxicates whole people; gives false memories; quickens their reflexes; keeps their old wounds open; torments them in their repose; leads them into delusions, either of grandeur or persecution; and makes nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable and vain.
We have the knack of dismissing brilliant works; “we already know it”! There is nothing which we haven’t seen, nothing which we haven’t gone through, nothing which we haven’t experienced but there is everything which we have forgotten. It’s a film which must be watched by every Kashmiri. I cannot express the gratitude, but to say, I salute you Sanjay Kak for deifying odds. Your film reminded me slavery, the sacrifices, the sufferings of mothers and sisters! Prune it a little and sent it to every nook and corner of the Kashmir so that we can once again reinvigorate our sapping spirits. And yes it must be talked and circulated to other parts of India as well.