But this separatism is not called by name because it belongs to the majority section of the society. My separatism wins elections. It works magic in north Indian politics.
The feeling of separatism among the people of a bordering state is easily identified. But there are two types of separatism. In a state or region like Kashmir and North – Eastern states, separatism is identified in such a way that there is a group or more than one group of people who want to secede from Indian nation and they carry out “actions” to fulfill this desire. They try to galvanize public support through their “actions” and harm government machinery as well. But have we ever identified the separatism that is professed by the majority section of the society?
I belong to a Hindu family of north India. Right from the beginning, a separatist feeling against Kashmir has been cultivated within me. A survey can be conducted in entire north India to know how a relationship with Kashmir has been nurtured among the people of this region during their childhood. If I ask 100 children, they all know Kashmir only through the materials available in media. I want to repeat the story how I was introduced to Kashmir. I was born in the early years of 1960s. While going to school or returning back, I was told that Kashmir has a separate flag which is different from Indian tricolour. Like prime minister of India, it also has a prime minister. There is a separate section in Indian Constitution for it and Muslims are in majority there. Since Pakistan follows Islam, therefore loyalty of Kashmir people is also doubtful.
Interestingly, there is hardly any book on Kashmir which narrates the true story of accession of Kashmir into India. Particularly in Hindi, there is no such book yet. I saw a Facebook post, which was liked and shared by hundreds of people. The post contained the names of books which could prove helpful in understanding Kashmir. Dozens of them were in English, but there was none in Hindi. A book that can develop affinity for Kashmir is not found, but a book is available to associate you with cow. Since school days, we have been taught to relate everything with cow like “G se Gai” (G for cow); “Gai hamari mata hai” (cow is our mother) and so on. There have been films on Kashmir. But they didn’t really associate with the fields and lives of Kashmir. Instead, they used to associate with ice – balls which were hurled by the hero of a Hindi film on his heroine.
They also used to associate with the mountains laden with ice, which was eye – catching for the people belonging to the plains. In rhetoric, Kashmir was the crown which was a symbolic reminder of a Hindu king. And yes, the national catchphrase – “from Kanyakumari to Kashmir” – was made for our ears. Like books, there was so such film that could integrate with the people of Kashmir. For a child like me, Kashmir always remained in the mind as a beautiful piece of land and a threat to our nation. It was viewed as a threat at that time because Pakistan has an eye on it. In other words, a sense of insecurity was developed towards Kashmir. While the sense of insecurity generates separatism among minorities, it produces aggression among the majority section of the society.
If any cultural organization that has utilized Kashmir issue to the optimum level as a shield for its politics, it is none other than the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS). During its cultural activities, the Sangh narrates how atrocities are inflicted upon Hindus in Kashmir. There are many handbills that recount such stories. Photographs, without any forensic test, can also be found. An art of generating separatism among the people of north India towards Kashmir has been an integral part of Sangh’s cultural activities. The turning of cultural activities towards Right is the factor that separates people from each other. However, for the majority section, it triggers integration with the motherland. Motherland means the assets of the mother. Sangh’s story of atrocities on Hindus completes with the attacks by Muslims. Its literature is devoid of Kashmiriyat, a sentiment that motivated Kashmiri people irrespective of their religion to fight against the invasion of Pakistani tribals and laid their lives. The list of martyrs against Pakistani tribals includes those names only who participated in the war due to their faith in Kashmiriyat, not because of their belief in Islam.
When I see the materials on activities related to Kashmir in media, it reminds me of those days when Panchajanya was the only nationalist mouthpiece of RSS in Hindi which used to come to those who were the regular visitors of Shakhas in our city. This mouthpiece used to paint a negative image of Kashmir and depict it as a Pakistani base and a place where atrocities are inflicted on Hindus. Today I find various editions of Panchajanya, which have developed technically and emerged as TV news channels. Interestingly with growing numbers of nationalists in media, separatism against Kashmir and Kashmiri people is multiplying within me. More they become loud, more I secede from Kashmir. Really, I have become extremely secessionist. I am hostile against Kashmiri people. But I am known as a nationalist. My sensitivity is humane, but it is divided on Kashmir. I am sensitive towards Kashmir, but am equally insensitive for Kashmiri people.
The separatism towards Kashmir within me is the nationalism of my beloved India. I have grown up with separatist tendencies. But this separatism is not called by name because it belongs to the majority section of the society. In a parliamentary democracy, majority is crucial. A separatism catered by minorities is dangerous for the parliamentary politics. My separatism wins elections. It works magic in north Indian politics.
(This article was first published on kafila.online).