Choking politically, environmentally: Is this the freedom our forefathers fought for?

Right from the European parliamentarians’ visit to Kashmir, to the stifling air pollution and then Whatsapp snooping, situation in independent India tells that we are not that ‘free’ afterall

Representative Image
Representative Image

Humra Quraishi

I feel very sorry for all our fathers and grandfathers and great- grandfathers for the tremendous sacrifices they made to see us free ‘azaad’.

Just pause and look around, what’s become of our azaadi!

The present government prefers to get a bunch of ‘phoren’ European MPs to give that nod of approval to the very obvious destruction of structures, human and otherwise, taking place in the Kashmir Valley. Not too sure whether those MPs from the various European countries who were made to visit the Kashmir Valley in that hurried- scurried way would be sleeping well, in peace and tranquillity. After all, they were made to picnic and go about on guarded tours on the very terrain where lay the blood of the Kashmiris killed by the governmental guns, pellet or otherwise. That’s a different matter altogether that all those tell-tale signs and stains were quickly wiped clean by the Sarkari agencies because those foreigners weren’t supposed to see any of the bloody mess!

Quite simply put, for the lure of that little holiday to the Kashmir Valley, those European men and women had to presumably parrot the government scripted lines on the Kashmir situation. Off they went back to their countries after this ‘enjoyable’ get-away. But here, once again, we were subjected to another round of the ‘all’s -going- okay’ lullaby, sung by a bunch of women and men brokers, goon brigades and an array of opportunists!

Actually the short visit of this bunch of imported parliamentarians has been quite an eye-opener. For, till now one was under the impression that the various dubious characters fitted into the right-wing brigades were the only ones calling the shots, but now women brokers have also occupied centre stage, helping with deals and what not!

We are not even azaad enough to halt these manipulative moves of sabotaging realities by the right-wing. We are scared to tell the world at large that the dark truth lies deeper, far beyond those faulty projections. In fact, the azaad world should be in a position to well grasp the everyday disasters heaped on the people of the Kashmir Valley. Nah, the parliamentarians from across the world needn’t take a broker’s help to land there but they can do so on their own, in their official capacity. So that they are azaad enough from the military and government authorities of the day, to go about freely visiting detention centres and prisons.

In fact, each lane and home of the Kashmir region holds out a sorrowful- traumatic tale. If only we were free enough to hear those screams and sobs in-between those haunting offloads! If only we were left free enough to cry out in grief and shock, seeing so many young and also the not-so-young Kashmiris sitting in detention, imprisoned, bruised and halted; if only we were free enough to see that today there isn’t a single fence-sitter in the Kashmir Valley, as absolute anger lies spread out against the government of the day; if only we were free enough to go about travelling in the Kashmir Valley, to see for ourselves that very visible hurt dripping from the eyes of the Kashmiris; if only we were free enough to raise our collective voice at the military might in sway, boots controlling human life!

Right from the early 90s I have been noticing the situation in the Kashmir Valley but could have never really foreseen that the ground realities would reach this dangerous level – where boys would be picked up by the security agencies, where their mothers and fathers would be more than threatened to keep shut, where homes would be broken into if not set ablaze, where midnight knocks would get compounded to midnight kicks!

In fact, last week as viewers saw that bunch of hastily imported European parliamentarians on those shikara rides, they swayed their heads in great pity and disgust at the basic human sensitivities of that imported lot dipping so terribly low that whilst human beings in the Valley are getting subjected to the worst forms of tyranny, those joy rides were taking place!

These disasters have been taking place right from Kashmir Valley to the plains where our basic freedoms are getting snatched away in every possible way. Look here, I am not azaad enough to cook or eat or store what I want to! Questions are raised how I pray or even how I greet. not long back I had written in the confines of this column that the moment I say rather aloud ‘as-salaam-alaikum’( may peace be on you ), all eyes get focused on me, as though I am a full-fledged terrorist or an upcoming potential terrorist. And if I offer namaaz five times a day or fast thirty days in a year I’m labelled a fundamentalist! Why? Quite simply because I’m following the fundamentals of Islam. Such is the level of this communal poisoning we are getting subjected to! Such is the propaganda getting unleashed against the largest minority community of the country, where the right-wing rulers are using rather misusing every possible opportunity to run down an already battered and shattered community.

Now with snooping around, it has become all the more clear that ours is not really an azaad land. We are no longer free to talk or think-aloud or to even move around freely! Agencies are controlling, keeping a watch on us, on our words, on our moves …our everyday lives!

I really do want Azaadi from this political pollution throttling me every single day. The environmental pollution is adding to the woes around. Rulers do not want to focus on this as it does not suit any of their agenda dictates or the set guidelines. It seems they would want us to die a slow, painful death …what with breathlessness and restlessness, colds and coughs holding sway.

Which one of the rulers is really bothered, whether we die a thousand deaths each day? When things get out of control they will perhaps engage yet another broker to cart along yet another bunch of right-wing parliamentarians from West or East Europe to take them around on pony or camel rides. For all those free rides, all that they will have to do is to sing along that all’s going fine with the pollution scenario in India. Nah, they didn’t see the slightest trace of pollution! Afterall, masked they were from head to toe, with purifiers revolving around them.

Never mind, if all our organs together with the vocal chords will soon be left so very severely damaged that it will be difficult to even cry out in revolt and rebellion.

Perhaps, this is exactly what the rulers of the day want to render us so very weak and helpless that we remain totally under their control, under their commands!

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