Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

8/16/08

Intolerance is not a Kashmiri virtue

If someone were to call Kashmiris intolerant, this label does not stick and comes off like water slides off the lotus leaves. This is because Kashmiris are inherently a good-natured, reasonable and thoughtful people. It is this trustful nature that has been taken undue advantage off by successive invaders right since the Mughal invasion of 1587. Yet we never gave up our tolerant nature, because that is what makes us Kashmiris. We have learnt to adapt to the current circumstances, preserve our heritage, and have become very suspicious of our rulers; but inspite of all this, we never morphed into an intolerant society.

We will debate, argue, and make compelling arguments about why the other side is wrong but deep within us we know that the other person has the right to their beliefs and we feel that it is a part of our culture to protect the other person's right to say and practice what they believe is right for them. I will quote a line from a fellow blogger who once said that in the past when Kashmiris would argue, they would have a heated argument and still at the end of this argument inquire about the well being of the other person and ask him for tea afterwards. This is the same Kashmir that according to the book by Walter Lawrence, had almost a zero percent crime rate when he was stationed here as the Resident Commissioner back in the 1880's. Was this absence of crime rate because Kashmiris did not disagree on issues? I don't think so. It is human nature to disagree on the smallest trivial things. I believe the reason for the absence of crime was that Kashmiris always looked out for their neghbours even though they might disagree with them. The well being and security was a collective responsibilty. This fact just reinforces my conviction that Kashmiris are inherently a very tolerant people who will protect their opponents right to have an opposing viewpoint even if they might bitterly diagree with them.

The reason why I am bringing this up is that every single Kashmiri has a right to their own views - no matter what those views are. The same people who derailed the movement last time might rear their head again in this phase of the protests. I am talking about the people who killed hundreds of National Conference workers - people who were their own Kashmiri brothers. Just because people have opposing political inclinations does not justify them being targeted or harmed in any way. In my opinion, we have to oppose this intolerance with all our might. It does not matter whether a person is pro-India, or belongs to a pro-India party; these people have as much a right to their opinions as any other Kashmiri.

It will do the freedom movement no good if we focus our attention on boycotting or ostracizing pro-India Kashmiris. In every country and every movement, there are always people of the opposition whose political views are awful; but asking people to boycott such persons invites the label of being intolerant of opposing views. Kashmiris should not tarnish their tolerant image by boycotting workers and members of the pro-India parties like the National Conference or the PDP. In this phase of the movement we badly need foreign allies such as the left leaning parties of western nations. If we have to attract these left leaning parties, we have to be very particular about respecting the right of political freedom for every Kashmiri; even though they might be pro-India.

Instead of boycotting members of these parties we should focus our attention on making our voices heard at the international levels and forging alliances with the left leaning parties of these nations. We can do that by emphaiszing our tolerant nature and showcasing our tolerance of opposing viewpoints. If we have to garner world-wide sympathy for our suffering and have to win allies in different parts of the world, we have to learn to accept that there will always be people with opposing views who have every right to practice what they believe is best for them. We have to let the world community know that we acknowledge that a percentage of Kashmiris is infact pro-India, but we have to convince them that a very large majority is in favour of Independence. Further, we have to let them know that the only way we can prove this claim is through a referendum. If we boycott the pro-India parties or should some harm come to the members of these parties, it will do untold damage to the legitimacy of the freedom movement of Kashmir, which will be branded as sprung from forceful hooliganism, which definitely it is not. It is therefore my sincere opinion that each Kashmiri be allowed to practice freely without compulsion their own political views.

15 comments:

  1. Well, a good phrase intolerance is alien to kashmiri culture.
    What about intolerance shown by our local rulers of past and present, towards their opponents.Do you know_----- When hot potatoes and hot irons were given to people for listening AJK radio by infamous Qadir gandarbali, when people were forced to migrate across borders for having a different opinion, when in first so called assembly elections 90% got elected unopposed .when families of those who opposed rigging of elections were moved naked, When renegades and killers were rewarded with assembly seats and when people were fired upon by their own police.
    Newtonian third law of motion applies here EVERY ACTION HAS EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION.

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  2. brother it is true that we are a very warm hearted people ,but i stopped reading the blog when the pro indian lines started .those workers that have been killed had many innocents ,but i would like u to put light rather on instances when "pious islamic mujahids" killed their friends and kin over pre marital or promiscuous issues.

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  3. I would be honored to share the videos with you. They are posted on Youtube under my other ID there- RockeTalkfun. i will be posting three more videos today. It would be great if we could collaborate on this awareness part of the struggle.
    If there is anything else that i can do, please do not hesitate to ping me.
    Of course the videos will be on my blog, too.

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  4. hey there,
    i think you have made a good point here. i think kashmiris can achieve much more with tolerance and non-violence than anything else. if going by, as anon said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, then it's simply a cyclic action-reaction violent struggle where everyone loses and nobody stands to gain. New Delhi will have every legitimate right to suppress the violent struggle. let peace be with you in your cause.
    forgive me if i'm not too aware of kashmir's past, i live far away down south in India, but as someone who shares the same concern for the welfare of a kashmiri, i'd like to tell you with confidence that Indians aren't 'evil' as it is painted out here, there are a lot of them who do understand your cause. i mean, why force someone down to their knees when they don't want to? after all, this is what even we fought with the Brits for a hundred years for...freedom, didn't we? its really mean and dirty politics that's sadly consuming the common man everywhere. In my view, the leaders in kashmir, including the pro-autonomy ones and the separatist hurriyat party, would not want a solution, because as long as kashmir boils, only they stand to gain. i think its more of politics playing out in kashmir sadly, again. you'll need to be careful in who you need to follow and who you don't.
    also i have a few questions, what could be a possible solution in your view that will practically keep india and pakistan at bay and give kashmir its peace? i mean, if kashmir were to realize its independence, how easy or rather difficult do you think will it be to maintain it? is religion really a rallying issue for kashmiris?

    peace and love,
    Adi

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  5. @anonymous (first post)

    It is true that many Kashmiris have infact become intolerant and have committed unprecedented crimes against KAshmirirs; who were thier own fellow brothers and sisters of the nation. In fact, Ganderbali's crimes are so horrific that no Kashmiri has been able to reach the level of notoreity that he had (of course except the ikhwanis)

    my point was that inspite of the ikhwanis and the murderers of political workers, and the kashmiri members of the task-force, we as a nation collectively have not morphed into an intolerant bunch of hate-machines. we still resent the mention of these killers such as the ikhwanis, so-called mujahid's who murdered political workers and their own comrades, who belonged to some other outfit (remember late 90's when the mujahid's were targeting each other). We are drawn toward people who preach peace and dignity.

    Therefore, somewhere along the liine some people lost that touch with their culture and dderailed our movement.

    I will be writing today's post about how my views have developed from 'almost' pro-India to pro-independence. I hope you will read it and see my point of view that a persons views over an issue develop over time.

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  6. @taha_nishat

    Brother, i fully understand what you must have felt when you read the 'pro-india' lines but as i mentioned please read today's post where i will be talking about how my views have devleoped over time from pro-india to pro-independence and i urge you to as well keep learning about issues and dont just accept facts as they are presented to you. every kashmiri must develop their own views and not just because it is fed down their throats.

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  7. @lowtechgal
    thankyou very much.
    i will be checking those out soon and thanks again. I really appreciate that. i will post a link to them as soon as i figure out how to do that.

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  8. Dear Adi,

    I agree with you 100% that nothing can be gained by the eye-for-an-eye reaction. the cycle of violence has to stop.

    I hope we have more dialogue such as this so that we can mutually brainstorm a possible solution to this 60 year old problem.

    I have said earlier that in my view the only solution is a region-wise referendum. where each region of J&K has its own referndum to decide whethere it wansts independence, stay with india or pakistna.

    this is my view, ofcourse the idea of a debate is that we brainstorm other possibilites. i hope we can come up with other sceanarios that are also viable.

    thankyou all for your comments.

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  9. Taking some time off our duty schedule we the doctors of SMHS hav started a blog "www.kashmir-burning.blogspot.com"
    it is not available on search engines as of now. We really appreciate ur endeavour and a responsible role u r playing as a citizen of this unforgotten nation. Do keep on visiting our blog also, let us work in unison, as they say "AK TU AKH GAIY KAH"

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  10. I think our Hurriyat leaders are going to let us down big time....

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  11. More things there for you to see. I might be stepping on some toes on this new post, but I hope each point of view actually helps clear the fog.

    My next posts are going to be on the Kashmiris in my life. How they moulded my life- the happy memories, the laughter, the growing up.

    Crossing paths with these amazing people was no co-incidence I'm sure. It was meant to be. I'm so thankful it happened.

    It is late here- 2.42 am and I should sleep. I'll upload videos to youtube shortly.

    God be with you - in work and play.

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  12. Your blog is very well written and pretty balanced. Good crossing paths with you :)

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  13. @lowtechgal
    Thankyou for the kind words. All pleasure is mine in crossing paths with you. looking forward to the posts about kashmir that you mentioned. i will be checking them out on your blog.

    @kashmir doctors.
    great blog brothers/sisters. link has been posted.

    @chinar
    i agree with your observation partly because it is only Mr geelani who wants us to join pakistan. i have the utmost respect for the other hurrriyat leaders who opt for independence.

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  14. dear kashmiriis we all are standing with u if our efforts make u get out of any problem that is our pleasure
    ..........
    veethika
    ..........
    Google

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  15. Sir,
    I am an average Indian and I fully appreciate your appeal to bringing out all tenets of struggle even if some are pro India.
    I have a few questions,
    what is the vision of an average kashmiri vis a vis independence.Do they wish to accede to Pakistan or Be completely independent.
    What form of society do you wish to form secular or an islamic republic and strict allegiance to the shariat?
    Currently Kashmir has its own constitution how much would it be relevant in future.
    The last question and it might sound absurd to you,but why independence? why cann't the Kashimiri aspirations can be addressed as an autonomous state of India.

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