"Roots In Kashmir" is an initiative launched by us, the Kashmiri Pandit Youth, to reclaim our Roots that identify us. Even though we have been hounded out of our homes and hearths in the Kashmir valley, our "Roots" are very much anchored in the Vitasta Valley. This is an initiative to protest and raise the general awareness of public to a level where our "fight for our roots" is felt, heard and acted upon.
2 years ago i had read a book titled ” We wish to inform you, we will be killed with our families”, based on ethnic cleansing of one certain sect in Africa, Rwanda. The title of the book stringed by heart and i knew i had to read it. Page by page the story unfolded incidents about how minority sect was murdered by majority. I, being the naive reader of history of Africa, read faster than i could consume, to get to the underlying cause, the reason for ethnic cleansing of the minority tribe. Apparently, i could not find one logical reason why Hutu , the majority, killed 75% population of minority sect, Tutsi. The book is a memoir of the genocide. Unknown number of Hutus participated in killing and arson against minority Tutsi. The survivor interviews make it known that neighbors , friends and co workers , with whom they shared land, lanes and boundaries of homes, were part of mob that attacked and killed them. The hate Hutus had for Tutsi, could not be attributed to any know or stated cause in the book by author. A similar hate was reserved for one particular community during time when Hitler ruled Germany. A fictional movie based during events of that time, related Jews to mouse, justifying that despite it being harmless, men have certain repulsive emotion for it. Jews, it meant, were mouse meant to be chase and killed.
Narratives are important, from both sides in fact, victim and his persecutor, for a victim cannot falsify history if his persecutor does not speak . History, alas, is often written by victor, because propaganda does become a substantial part, as it gets inked , unlike stories of victims which remain oral and hence diluted with time. Propaganda does not end with justification, its meant to project persecutor as victim and victim as his initial oppressor. There is some romance is showing how victims rose and rebelled against his oppressor. Same way like Jews were said to dominate the German civil society and hence all hatred was justified. But fortunately for Jews, world and their own kind, told their stories and inked their history. Also, fortunately for Jews, they ended up being on side of victors after the war ended.
It is important to understand the context written above. 2 examples , set in different continents, different zones. Yet, the cause for hate towards the victims is unknown, rather unjustified. Kashmir set in 85-89 was the same Germany and the same Rwanda. Yes, the stats where different in terms of dead’s of victims but the soul of anarchy was the same. A minority community, less that 5% of population was targeted. What happened and who did, is truth that is told by many, far more accomplished people than me. Haider, sets a narrative, that is different from truth and history of Kashmir. But my case is not against it, as freedom of speech is imperative for me and my kind, who struggled 25 years to find a voice in media , to tell our story. Haider can never and will never take away the fact, nor alter it, neither defeat it. When 20 years of media propaganda of masquerading persecutor as victim couldn’t box the facts, one film , a motion movie, can not change it. Haider, is just another reason, a reminder and a provocation for victims to fight harder, speak louder to tell their stories. In fact movies like Haider define why heart aches happen to KP men and women. It ensures that strings get plucked that have been dusted in last 25 years. I have not seen Haider nor do i intent to watch it. Haider again gives me a reason to raise my voice , in fact i have been raising my voice since 25 years, but ears get concerned only when i speak against Haiders and its kind. So lets thank the makers in their attempt to trample with facts and put blanket blindness to the exodus, genocide and continuous victimization of a minority sect. For good is always in comparison to a evil.
Speaking of evil as the makers converted, one of only two , sun temples in India, into a place of devil ( Martand Sun temple ) for a song sequence , a certain Muslim king of Kashmir, Sikander Butshikan would be happy in his grave. For he tried for one complete year to burn the temple down , yet its ruins stood the test. Its another case and fact that maker was informed and told story of KPs by people who thought, hopefully, he is making a fact based movie and not churning another mythical oppressor is victim propaganda. He chose to ignore it but we should make him remember it each time, every time.
PS : Have you ever thought where exilees and refugee’s kids go on summer breaks?