By Maria Khan.
In the woods of my valley
Moves a tiger with a notion
Showing slaves a way to truth
With the world opposing his action
He knows how to fight the evil
and the bounty on his head
In the days of his innocence
He rose up to fight the death
Inspiring millions with his love
From a hamlet, came a rebel
Leaving his enemies in fear & shivering
Like if he was born to fight the devil
Yes, I support him and his cause
and to the mid-night he brought dawn
So my people cried in rage
It’s our hero, it’s one, & my dear, it’s BURHAN
(A Tribute to Burhan Muzaffar Wani by Fahid Hameed)
Right after a day, on the 8th of July, 2017, the people of Kashmir, Pakistan, and admirers of valour and strength all around the world will be commemorating the martyrdom of Burhan Muzzaffar Wani, a young, handsome, straightforward, daring and iconic figure who emerged as a hero and a symbol of courage, bravery and fearlessness not only in his life, but also after his martyrdom at the hands of the coward Indian army in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
If we look into the Kashmir conflict, the largest, pending, unresolved issue on the pages of United Nations, we can undoubtedly say that it was Burhan Wani who changed the outlook of the Kashmir issue and gave the issue a new perspective and dimension by effectively utilizing the digital communication technology – the Social Media and Social Media Networking Sites. He was a league of his own in this regard and motivated hundreds of thousands of youth living in the Indian Occupied Kashmir to resist the Indian Occupation and openly criticize the brutality and atrocities which Indian army has been committing in the valley since decades. His video messages, in which he convinced youth to join his party and fight for freedom, went viral on Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Twitter. Those video messages were a nightmare for the Indian leadership as Burhan boldly supported the idea of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan and expressed hatred for India. Those particular messages were totally unbearable for the leadership of ‘Rising and Shinning India’, those messages shook the castles of the mighty and they came up with a solution to silence that voice which gave voice to thousands of people, the voice which started a chain reaction and the voice which was never going to die. Totally unaware of this particular fact, the Indian army ‘tried’ to silence that voice without knowing the consequences of their coward act. The consequence which emerged in the form of ‘Kashmir Uprising 2016 from 8th July 2016 – To Date till freedom’ followed by ‘Kashmir Student Uprising’ accompanied by the ‘Kashmir Batwomen’ emerging on the landscape and Kashmiri youth coming to the forefront with new conviction and firm faith in the notion of ‘Azaadi’!
The wave of Uprising that started post Burhan Wani’s martyrdom is being led by the Kashmiri youth who are leaving no stone unturned to wake and shake the inner consciousness of the flag bearers of humanity to resolve the Kashmir conflict according to the will of the Kashmiris living under Indian Occupation. This uprising has been referred to as a decisive phase in the history of Kashmir conflict. Since July 8th, 2017, 140 people have been martyred in the valley, 16,840 injured, 7,760 pellet injuries have been reported with 67 youth totally blinded for the entire life, 590 women have been molested, 15,320 people have been arrested under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), yet the stance of Kashmiri youth regarding Azaadi has not moved a bit, the conviction has strengthened and the faith in idea and struggle for freedom has been reassured. With each passing day and with each person being martyred, the certitude in the desire and struggle for freedom has increased many folds and beyond.
I would like to share my own experience here. Like majority of the youth, I was totally ignorant of the Kashmir issue before Burhan Wani’s martyrdom. The only understanding I had of the Kashmir conflict can be largely accredited to the visuals shown on Pakistan Television during my childhood. As I grew up, I can hardly remember any private news channel probing deep into the issue or any educational institution in which Kashmir issue was being raised except for the National Days like 5thFebruary that too was restricted to one debate on Kashmir or a national or cultural song being presented by girls and boys draped in the cultural costumes of Kashmir. Not much effort was being paid to actually tell the students what the Kashmir conflict was all about and what its significance was.
But, just on the 8th of July, 2016, the Kashmir issue was being understood, probed into, and pondered upon, not only by me, but the majority of youth which was previously unaware of the Kashmir conflict. Wrapped in the Pakistani flag, with a relaxed and contented face, a jewel of heaven, being honoured by thousands on his funeral, Burhan Wani revived the desire of and struggle for freedom thus giving a totally new meaning to all the process, the Social Media Led Freedom Movement. A person referred to as a ‘Tech Savvy Militant’ in India among the oppressors and a ‘Freedom Fighter’ among the Kashmiris, Pakistanis and sane minds throughout the world gave rise to the never ending phenomena, the phenomena that was feared by the Indians, the phenomena which engaged the warm blooded youth of Kashmir. A phenomena which inspired youth like me, once totally alien to the Kashmir issue, to write a full fledge thesis on the role of Social Media in the Kashmir Uprising 2016 as perceived by the youth of Pakistan post Burhan Wani’s Martyrdom. A phenomena, which is now immortal, for sure.
Shaheed Burhan Muzzaffar Wani will always be remembered as a person who dared to be different. He is a true depiction and representation of the valiant Kashmiri youth who defies every shackle of oppression and occupation. He has emerged as an iconic figure and a freedom fighter for his land. He has inspired the youth of Indian Occupied Kashmir where every other youth is now a Burhan in himself, openly denouncing the occupation. Indian Army might have thought that killing Burhan could silence the deep rooted wish for freedom, but sadly, it has turned the other way round. Welcome to the era of the Burhan. The era of Bravery. The era of Courage and Strength in Kashmir. Killing Burhan was sadly not the solution, rather just a beginning of the end of occupation. Just watch out Indian Army and beware. Be very ware.
Student of Media and Communication Studies and Lobbyist at Youth Forum for Kashmir. firstname.lastname@example.org