An Indian diplomat's recent call for the 'Israel model' in Kashmir should ring alarm bells.
It was a dark, chilly night. The words were colder still. A horde of outwardly respectable, people had huddled together - bundled up in their hate.
Attentively, they took in every ugly, dishonest and vicious remark of the Indian Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakraborty. The crowd, emboldened by delusions of grandeur, supremacism and a concocted history of wrongdoing, sat in a trance.
With sinister smirks - as if taking pleasure in the calls for ethnic cleansing, they ‘applauded’ his icy scheme. Finally, a ‘Final Solution’ to rid the disputed territory of Kashmir of its indigenous inhabitants and repopulate it with Hindus.
What is so revolting about the Indian diplomat’s language is not that it is so utterly undiplomatic. Nor, that it was blurted in seemingly polite company - rather, that it was brazenly spoken at all.
The Indian Consul General represents a billion people. He is chosen to be their voice of reason, sanity and balance. If this person, with his position, privilege and pedigree, so callously calls for a forced demographic change, then imagine the likelihood of such a horror.
His call for action, for imitating the catastrophe committed against the Palestinian people; for duplicating what the ‘Israelis’ have done; is bone-chillingly terrifying.
With the Indian consul general’s gruesome rhetoric, one ought to consider India‘s settler-colonial project and its unilateral, illegal and undemocratic revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy by abrogating article 370.
Yet, all those expressions of displeasure have not come with action. Still, the disputed territory of Kashmir remains the most protracted unresolved conflict on the agenda of the United Nations. It remains the most militarised place on the planet.
Frighteningly, it has the atrocious appellation of being a nuclear flashpoint. And, months ago, the reputable NGO Genocide Watch issued a ‘Genocide Alert’ over Indian government machinations in Kashmir.
In spite of all this, no matter how scary, we end up being right where we started. Crime, upon crime; threat upon threat; gross violations of human rights continue to be committed, and nothing comes of it.
More often than not, the culture, history, identity, and, most importantly, the will of the people of Kashmir has been deliberately obfuscated for political and ideological agendas.
In the US, a Kashmir tour was organised without the main ethnic/religious demographic Kashmiris - Muslims, who account for over 95 percent of the Valley.
In fact, this points to a longstanding Hindutva strategy against Kashmiris. The ongoing attempt to silence their voices, imprison their bodies, curtail their agency, and, even snatch their lives - all under the ever-watchful, but disinterested eyes of the world.
Undoubtedly, the people of Kashmir – its ethnic origin, culture, and language is unique. A fascinating fusion of the original Semites, Central Asians, Greeks, Persians, Afghans and Turks, amongst others.
Still, Kashmiri people, are just that – a people with their sense of history, purpose and destiny. Who, even with their significant internal diversity, have never been tied to Indian conceptions of self and society, rightly highlighted by the eminent Arundhati Roy.
Again, the people of Kashmir were never a part of historical India and, ancient Kashmir was overwhelmingly Buddhist, not Hindu. Moreover, every single historical document ever written on Kashmir describes ‘hind’ as a foreign country.
In fact, the idea of India has never resonated with the Kashmiri people. This, India finds unconscionable. Yet, the perplexing question is why? Is it not absurd, even delusional, to label someone, hijack their agency, and then compel them to concur? Is it not mendacious to claim normalcy, when nearly 100,000 people have died over the last 30 years? Is it not shocking, the sheer flagrancy of it, to enforce a ‘draconian’ communications blockade for more than three months, and outrageously compel – at the barrel of a gun, naked, cold men to chant ‘Bharat Mata (Mother India)?’
This is the profound, idiosyncrasy that explains Hindutva India’s insistence that Kashmiris are Indians. This, too, in front of Kashmiris – who look on in disbelief, and retort they are not.
Such is the theatre of the absurd, where myth, insecurities, identity-crisis, post-colonial fixations coalesce with complexes of colour and desirability. This is the irrationality of Hindutva infatuation with Kashmir.
Though, this is precisely what needs to be confronted, head-on. Why do they insist on forcibly label Kashmiris as Indian – then, in front of the whole world, talk about forcing this realisation through the 'Israeli Model'?
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