Those who don’t know stark realities of Valley are the loudest supporters of govt decisions on Kashmir

People who haven’t been to Kashmir and have never witnessed stark ground realities are the ones who are talking the loudest in favour of inhuman governmental tactics unleashed on the civilians there

Those who don’t know stark realities of Valley are the loudest supporters of govt decisions on Kashmir

Humra Quraishi

Is the ‘K’ word now the latest taboo word! Yes, so it seems…Today, people are too petrified to talk about the caged Kashmir and Kashmiris. If they dare to do so, they do it quite subtly and within ‘safe’ company.

Unfortunately, it’s the bogus-hollow-heads who are parroting the government's Hindutva line trickling down that typical Hindutva Agenda into the very psyches of the hundreds and thousands. This is rather too obvious in those biased and tilted television debates and also in the ever-so-fake discussions on the circuit.

Mind you, people who haven’t even set foot in the Kashmir Valley and have never witnessed the stark ground realities are the ones who are talking the loudest in favour of the inhuman governmental tactics unleashed on the civilians in the Kashmir Valley.

Here, in the capital city of New Delhi, if anyone tries to argue out with the facts and figures, they do so at their own risk. Here are the details of what Professor VK Tripathi experienced last week. Before that, let me introduce this retired New Delhi based Professor to our readers. Till his retirement, he was teaching Physics at Delhi IIT and also runs the Sadhav Mission for communal harmony. This internationally known Physics professor travels extensively; holding talks, giving lectures, distributing fliers.

Now, this was his latest experience– “August 5, 2019, Government moves on Kashmir and ongoing seclusion and confinement of Kashmiri masses have been a matter of concern for all of us for the past 5 weeks. During my flier campaign on the issue, I realised that the countrywide passion aroused by these moves is equally serious….On August 18, 2019, Sadbhav Mission decided to give a memorandum on Kashmir to the President of India. We submitted it to his PA with 83 signatures in early September and sought a 10-minute audience with the President. We also brought out a flier and made 2000 copies in English and 6000 in Hindi. …On September 9 an extreme reaction came. I began walking and distributing fliers from IIT Delhi towards Asiad village, Gargi College and Moolchand Hospital. Half a kilometre before Moolchand, a person came out of a car, snatched the bunch of 100 fliers and said, “Desh ke khilaf parche baant raha hai, kisne diye hain, bataa.” (distributing fliers against the nation. Tell, who has given you these). I said, “I have written these, what is the problem?”. He said, “Pakistani, gaddari karta hai, boodha na hota to teri aisi pitaayee karta...” (Pakistani, doing treachery! Had you not been old, I would have given you a good thrashing!). I said, “Bete, you can still beat me but tell what anti-national have I written?” He uttered a few abuses. Around that time 3 policemen arrived on motorbikes. One had my flier. He said, “someone has given me this flier and he was also unhappy. Stop distributing the fliers.” I said, “I can stop but please read it, you will feel it strengthens national unity.” The car owner told the police to file FIR against me and left. One policeman was nice. He enquired what do I do and politely asked me not to distribute the fliers there as people were objecting. Then I left. After walking another half kilometre, I distributed a few fliers and then took a bus to return home.”

VK Tripathi continued with his mission of distributing fliers– “English copies have been exhausted in JNU, DU, JMI, IIT and DU colleges. The response was mixed, warm in some places, passive in most and some hard heads.700 Hindi fliers have been distributed in Mewat and Alwar and 3000 on Delhi streets. For every 100 passive persons in Delhi, I met 2 persons appreciative and 3 passionately assertive that our flier was against the nation….On September 11, I distributed 500 fliers at ITO, Delhi Gate, Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan Hospital area. 4 people expressed strong support for the government’s move (but were not abusive) and 2 appreciated the fliers and rest were passive. 30-40% of these people were Muslims.”

After talking to Professor Tripathi, I have been thinking- What if Tripathi wasn’t an academic of that stature, instead a young student activist? Would he then have been spared by the cops or by the Hindutva goons driving around?

What if his name or surname wasn’t Vipin Kumar Tripathi? What if his name was Vilayat Khair Tabhish or any other Muslim name and surname? What if he was a Muslim with an aunt or uncle residing in Pakistan? What if he was a Kashmiri shawl-seller or even an activist-academic from the Valley? What if he looked a Muslim – with a skull cap and beard and an achkan or sherwani?

Needless for me to give the details of the aftermath then. You can well grasp what insecurities and violence and questioning that could have come to the fore.

On whether fliers can be capable of solving the fascist poisoning spread out, Tripathi said– “You can not turn to police, courts or parliament. We have to find a solution (far beyond fliers) to this madness… I have noted heightened assertion of sectarianism by the rich and musclemen and grave apprehension of destabilisation of citizenship (countrywide NRC) by the minorities.”

An offshoot of sorts!

As Tripathi continued with his mission of distributing fliers, he also visited Prayas Balgrah (jail cum reform centre for juvenile criminals). When he held a 40-minute meeting with the 30 boys, he realised that one-third of the kids were Muslims.

This fact should be a wake up for the Muslim community. Not only in terms of trying to reach out to these boys but also to sit back and ask themselves - why are more Muslim children taking to petty crime? Has the community failed them? Has the community deprived these children of their childhood? Doesn’t the community need to question itself?

This fact should also be taken into consideration by the AAP government in New Delhi. I’m well aware of the great work done by the AAP government aimed at bringing quality education to the most disadvantaged. It should also try to reach out to the disadvantaged children on the minority communities through educational and vocational training centres.

Also, AAP’s top brass - Manish Sisodia and his team – should try and take mainstream education towards the madrasas, so that together with Islamic studies the madrasa children are well versed with mainstream education too. It will be a big step in reaching out to these madrasa children.

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