What does Afzal’s death mean? : Inshah Malik

Guest post by INSHAH MALIK:


Perhaps, beyond angry outbursts and slogans nothing was left of Kashmiri intellectuals engaged in understanding problems of home land. Afzal Guru was hanged and pens were strangulated. I was one of the people who protested at Jantar Mantar, with no strategy, no political statement, I bundled myself with others to the station, to enter a site of ‘mourning’. Kashmir has a rich culture and cultured production of ‘grieving’, when someone dies, everyone assembles and expresses grief verbally and through wailing. That is what I found myself doing.

For people in Kashmir, it was another grieving, just yet another but for people in India, it was a grieving and mourning over the death of cherished democracy which they once thought they had owned.  Perhaps, for Indian people who have struggled to restore justice to Afzal, had undertaken it as a project to restore democracy itself. The disappointment for them is much robust. This time when they ask me, what will happen to Kashmir? I say, perhaps something good.  Afzal’s hanging has affected the memory and history of conscious Indians beyond repair. I see people no longer argue with me instead appear somber. It seems the question, what is wrong with Kashmir? is now What is wrong with India? Afzal is a collective memory of bruised Kashmiris and newly hurt Indians.

Another, empty grave is earmarked for Afzal in Kashmir, next to Maqbool and this time Kashmiri responses are more informed, political and mature. With ethical formulations and critical thinking central to the discourse of nation-hood, Kashmiri people are evolving for a new genre of resistance, perhaps more international this time, hoping to carry along their Indian sympathizers.

The webpage I recently encountered says a lot about how people are gearing up to engage the world on Kashmir’s political resolution. The About Page reads:

This website is created in memory of Shaheed Afzal Guru who symbolizes and epitomizes the innocent oppressed Kashmiri Nation under Indian rule. This portal serves as a one stop resource for generating awareness pertaining to the execution of Shaheed Afzal as ordered by the Supreme Court of India. The materials provided here are already published newspaper articles, blogs and columns for helping improve the public understanding of the injustice meted to him. It serves as a researchable database about the man and his occupied nation. This website is an attempt to break silence over Kashmir.

Shaheed Afzal Guru was hanged on 9th February, 2013.

Here is the webpage: http://shaheedafzalguru.wordpress.com/

9 thoughts on “What does Afzal’s death mean? : Inshah Malik”

  1. ” I see people no longer argue with me instead appear somber. It seems the question, what is wrong with Kashmir? is now What is wrong with India? Afzal is a collective memory of bruised Kashmiris and newly hurt Indians.” Inshah Malik you have put it rightly, what Indians are capable of too, its citizens are prepared to be self critical and learn and move ahead. Wish the same could be said of the Kashmiris you seem to represent. looking inside and also being sensitive to others situations is as important in achieving your goals as it is asking for your due rights!

    1. etymologically speaking, ‘Shaheed’ is a word that has its roots in Qur’an the religious text book of Muslims, it means ‘witness’. However, in modern sense, many cultures used it, to denote the martyr. I don’t know why they would call him a martyr in that website, since i don’t own it. But lets assume I owe you answer, it would be this,

      Afzal did not get justice, a fact now widely accepted and from the point of view of a kashmiri who is too far away geographically from the vicinity of ‘umbrella of justice’, What Afzal is another ‘witness’ to the history of deceit and injustice. do I have to recount the dead and the cheated? do i?

  2. Well I can’t understand why these ultra leftist (aka Human rights activist) reserves all their emotional outbursts for defending terrorists only .Lets put the facts – insurgency is going in kashmir for last two decades. So many acts of violence of taken place , has single person hanged in kashmir till date . In most of the countries for any act which can be constructed as waging war against the nation death penalty is awarded, but in Kashmir no body has been punished .
    Now the standard argument is acts of terrorism takes place because injustice meted out to them or their communities , by this argument even the hindu terrorist can also justify their acts . But terrorism is terrorism whether of any color Saffron ,green or red .

    1. Madhur, what are you talking about? Good heavens, I’ve never read such ignorance. Aren’t you embarrassed? Get a brain, man. – an American agnostic from Iowa.

    2. When you say terrorist especially in Afzal’s case, I have to believe you mean exactly this ‘someone who buys a car after STF (state task force terrorize him endlessly), If this is the definition of Terrorist in Indian law, I want to request everyone to shut the afzal case up and throw it in the dust bin. If not, then you need to rethink on what are you addressing here. The extreme injustice you do in the way you address issues is perhaps a major reason that the politics in india is rapidly turning into set of ‘consciousness’ that attempts to safeguard, very narrow minded, petty self interest, to a certain sense, it is anonymous with a very restrictive mindset that also invests in profit-generation alone.

      In Kashmir, nobody is hanged, because they are not even allowed to go to court, they believe in out of court settlement, in this case it is ‘shoot’ and ‘kill’, by this method of justice did you know 100,000 Kashmiris have been killed?

    3. If by terrorist you mean, “buying a car at the behest of pressure by the STF (state task force) then surely Afzal deserves noone’s sympathy. Your loose analysis allows a lot of discrepancy to enter this discourse, do you mean to suggest that without using out mind ‘we must accept what the state has to offer’, surely if that is the way to go, India wouldn’t have freed itself off colonial subjugation. Having said that, even for determining someone’s crimes it should not rest on something like ‘collective conscience’ of majority, majority of non-critical lot.

      Yes, you are right when you say no one is hanged in Kashmir, perhaps because there are guns and tanks to solve everything and may be you are suggesting same be applied to India too, a 100,000 killed kashmiri people surely were not all terrorist as India would have you think. You have to defend Kashmir, if you want this shouldn’t happen in delhi.

  3. The attitude of the Indian government and the people is negative towards the two States which are not majority Hindu : Kashmir and Punjab.
    Punjab, its language, its culture and even the Sikh religion, Sikh history are all under attack by Delhi.
    India will only survive if all its people are allowed to prosper without some of being victimised.by the State.

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