By Maria Khan.
People are running on the roads, defending themselves from bullets using teeny-tiny stones, there is a state of chaos and misery spread almost everywhere, people are chanting slogans ‘Hum kia chahty? Azadi’, ‘Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan’. Some evil looking men in army uniforms are rushing towards unarmed people. They are so huge in numbers and outlook that they are overpowering the whole scenario of Azaadi.. and there lie the unarmed, shattered, miserable people; protesting, walking, dying and again repeating the cycle because what they want is neither ‘Ehtsaab’ nor ‘Isteefa’, what they really want with all their heart is their fundamental right – Azaadi!
This was the picture of the ‘Maqbooza Waadi’ painted by state television in the mind of almost every kid born in the 90s era. I am luckily one of them. At least I got to know there is some land that actually exists and people there want to be a part of Pakistan, Yes! Pakistan! The particular land that is suffering from the lack of acknowledgement by its own people that ‘Pakistan main rakha hi kya hai? Halaat daikhain hain yahan ke? Amreeka jaa rahay wo wahan hi settle hojana, Pakistan k koi halaat nahi!’ and Kashmiris want to be a part of this land for ages and ages! How very strange!
But what if I was born in the 90s and I grew up watching the suffering of people of the occupied valley? If just watching the scene switching channels and getting emotional for a few minutes is what I can do for the land that desperately wants to be a part of my homeland is justice, then O! The Nobel Laureates! Consider me a part of your team too. Because people are being butchered when they utter the wish of being a part of my homeland and all I can do for them is getting emotional, with teary eyes, and think of watching another Bollywood movie for the sake of killing time! What a use of time and resources by the youth of my age who actually can raise voice to change the fate of Kashmir.
Let me tell you a life changing tale now, the story, whose heroic figure and his struggle can be inculcated in the curriculum of international institutions just like they acknowledged the leading figures fighting for independence of their homeland and presented them as a model to build some really motivational stories around. But wait! If only their hypocrisy won’t stop them from doing so then they actually can. What course that would be? It would bear the title; ‘The Kashmiri Nelson Mandela’, do you know him? NO? Then all your life has been a lie.
I’m starting off with what compelled me to widen my horizon regarding what is happening in Kashmir. It was a hot, humid day of 8th July, 2016. The people were fasting, throats were parched, and the sun was burning with all its wrath and majesty. I was sitting in the office of a renowned Television channel, as an internee observing the surroundings. The ticking sounds of the keyboards dominated the freezing cold silence of the thoroughly air conditioned office. 6 screens in front of my eyes, a news pops up! ‘Burhan Wani martyred’! With all the screens showing a side window of an extremely handsome boy with what beautiful features, my God! Being stuck in beauty of his face, I was left all in awe. ‘Who is that boy’? I inquired my fellow internee, ‘I have no idea, lets google him’, she suggested the all-time best solution adapted by our community of students. I Googled, I searched on Twitter, I watched on YouTube, I heard on Facebook and what all I did afterwards, was to sit in silence for two long hours and feel ashamed of myself and the things I invested my resources in.
If Burhan could raise his voice, the voice that scared the hell out of occupational forces and the elites, the voice that echoed in the grief stricken valley, the voice that created a thousand Burhan like figures in every home of the dismal valley pouring out hope and desire, the voice that became such powerful and vigorous that if not silenced, was going to shake castles of the mighty. If Burhan, a 22 year old Burhan, a handsome heroic figure Burhan can single handedly do so, why can’t I just use my keyboard and pinch and pinch and pinch the class that has attached labels on itself as the torch bearers of humanity and are good for nothing. Why can’t I just pinch them that you cannot deprive Kashmiris of their basic right, you just cannot snatch their fundamental right, you just CANNOT!
The Burhans of Kashmir have grabbed their tool, they have all become freedom fighters for their land, and they want us to just endorse their struggle for freedom. Can we just spare out some time of our 3 hours long movie session, endless gossiping, backbiting, Facebooking, dub smashing, snap-chatting and such useless activities and help Kashmiris in their struggle of watching the day when the long awaited miracle finally happens? Yes we surely can. Just by putting ourselves in place of Insha, in place of Burhan, in place of Yasmeena and our other martyred Kashmiris, we can actually feel what it takes to die in one’s own land merely by raising voice for freedom. Let us all get united and raise our voice so that we can see the dawn rising on the day when the slogan– ‘Hum kia Chahty? Azaadi’ turns to a long- awaited miracle; ‘Hum Ly Chukay Hain Azaadi, Thaa Haqq Hamara, Azaadi’!
Maria Khan is student of Media and Communication Studies and Lobbyist at Youth Forum for Kashmir. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org