Friday, October 14, 2005
Does India care for Kashmiris
India calls Kashmir its integral territory. Talk Kashmir in any nook of India and you will have people drawn in. The government apparently sends subsidized goods to the Himalayan Kingdom and swears by its Kashmir connection. Ordinary people in India will have you believe that Kashmiris are as Indian as any Gujarati or South Indian. I am afraid that may not be the case. Saturday's Quake in Kashmir tells a different tale. As someone rightly put it," When mistrust comes in, love goes out."
None except the federal government came forward to help the hapless Kashmiris in the biggest catastrophe of their lives. I'm sure even the government was driven by political compulsions, because a civil society is a reflection of its government. When the people are apathetic and flunk to be touched by a disaster of such magnitude in their own country, I guess the government can't be blamed much. The Quake in Kashmir was as powerful as the Bhuj Quake in Gujarat some years back. Yet none of that urgency is in sight, anywhere.
There are no mass donation camps. No Banners. No school drives. No relief caravans en route. No newspaper and TV sensitization. No Bollywood -- Indian film Industry -- rallies to rally people. Ziltch corporate contibution. Isn't this place the paradise where the entire Indian upper class en mass honeymooned. The land of greens and golf-courses. Why did we abandon the tall pines around which countless songs of Hindi films were shot? This was Nehru's favourite abode. Where Indian leaders of every fibre used to ponder for endless hours. Isn't this place the bone of contention between India and Pakistan, which both claim as their own. I thought India fought wars for this swathe of land.
Why are the Indians so cut-off from People they consider their own? Why this gross indifference? Contrast the Quake with Gujarat. Cynics would say that Gujarat Quake killed more people and recent Tsunami affected more lives. Yet we forget that the people severely hit in Kashmir are only the poor. They inhabit one of the world's most difficult terrians. This compounds the misery, many-fold. And a human life is as precious in the shores of south India as the snow-capped peaks of Kashmir.
The average Kashmiri has been alienated from India since partition. While the Army's stupendous role in the Quake-hit areas has melted many hearts, what baffles Kashmiris today is the total lack of identification by the ordinary Indian. They are begining to believe that inspite of all the lip-service and the our people poppycock, there is no love lost between Kashmir and India. Once again, at the hight of a terrible human tragedy, Kashmiris feel alone. Forsaken.
Till the violent faultlines in Kashmir crack again!
India, Kashmir beckons.