Kindly Deliver My Letter to the PM of India: Mahum Shabir

Guest Post by Mahum Shabir

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

Maybe it is silly to think that the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy will listen to the sorrows of a young Kashmiri woman-you have a billion more people to worry about. Maybe your interest in this letter would be piqued if I began by telling you that we have something in common-an education from two of the world’s best universities, yours from Oxford, mine from Harvard. Maybe it shouldn’t take a reference to where one went to school to get attention on a serious ethical issue at the center of democratic governance in India but nothing else has worked so far. I hope jaan pehchaan will work its wonders this once too.

I do not want to discuss the UN plebiscite of 1947 or the struggle for Azadi or Indian interests in hydroelectricity in Kashmir or the millions of other complicated questions that surround the K word. I have just one question that I believe has the shortest and simplest answer a question can have. No.

Should unarmed civilian protestors be killed with bullets by the armed forces in a democratic country?

The answer to the above question is ‘No’. Because that would be what the Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad sanctioned before the protests there turned into a mess. That is also what the King of Bahrain oversaw during the Arab Spring. I am sure you know that both of these countries are dictatorships, their leaders dictators but India is a democracy and you the Prime Minister. So how do you, as the man at the top of this democracy, sanction the murder of unarmed civilian protestors–not once, not twice but more than 200 times since 2008? Unlike your notorious neighbor where the armed forces have a will of their own the executive in India oversees everything-an executive elected by people just like the ones you authorize the killing of. If nothing else, you have 200 fewer voters to convince in the next elections. If nothing else, just the words ‘fewer voters’ should pine you. But you never won an election in your life. Maybe, this letter should be directed to someone else but then I wouldn’t know how to introduce myself.

I could also point you in the direction of democracies that have not resorted to the indiscriminate killing of unarmed civilians in the face of massive riots, petrol bombs, youth unemployment and political upheaval. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, the United Kingdom to name some. I am afraid even the fledgling trying-to-be-democracy in Egypt has a better record than you do. I could follow with a lecture in non-lethal riot management, the use of rubber bullets, water cannons and all else but I suppose you already know that. I know you know that because your education department is stressing the study of human rights in colleges in India. I read a newspaper article about it and it was a front-page feature. I don’t suppose the killing of another unarmed protestor in Baramulla today will make the front page of a national daily but he would want you to take this piece of advice, from his fatal experience for your human rights course-the right to life is the most basic one, when lose that we cease to be human and those authorizing its violation because we protested cease to be democratic.

[ The author, Mahum Shabir, says that she has seen nothing but war in Kashmir since the day she was born. She says that this piece is part satire, part literary absurdity, part truth. ]

6 thoughts on “Kindly Deliver My Letter to the PM of India: Mahum Shabir”

  1. Unfortunately there is no one in the present Government to listen her or comply the reality of politics. All are cog in the machine & have no answer logically or illogically.


  2. In the quiet words of Noam Chomsky, there is no point in speaking truth to power – they already know it.
    No solution but revolution.


    1. In the last century countless revolution of all shades ( left or right) has taken place , very few of them of bettered the lives of ordinary folks. In india or in kashmir case even if you the invert the ruling pyramid things will be same after some time .You change one ruling class and soon new class ruling have the same the contours as the previous one .
      What is require is cool & level heads to solve complex issue like kashmir , no side is in position can claim that their narrative has 100 % truth .


  3. Dear Kashmiris
    Please address your letters to the UN instead. To the general assembly if not the security council. No one in the Indian government cares about your suffering, they only lie awake at night thinking of ways to twist the knife in the wound.
    For god’s sake learn how to deal with the world, no one else can do it for you. India won’t give you freedom peace or justice, you need to reach the world outside. Learn from the Scots, the Irish, the Catalans even the Palestinians. You are smart, learn to fight smart.


  4. Ms.mahum……
    After reading your article i can see u puting the whole kashmir problem on indian not a havard nor cambridge almuni but a pass out
    From a and have a very limited knowledge of the subject and so i cant be as articulate or impecceble like you.i was born in srinagar and spend my best 15 yrs of my life in the lap of nature before i was told to leave or accept nizame mustafa and i being an kashmiri pandit choose the former.we were the last to leave because our good muslim neighbours advised us to go and it was tearful farewell from both sides , little knowing that it will be the end of road for us.after that that the hell broke loose and we went through the toughest periods of our lives which i cant explain.
    My experience says that kashmiri people are the most peace loving people on whom i can trust on any given day.Rich people started the azzadi movement and left kashimir.poor and un educated people were used and brainwashed in the name of jehad .let me tell u …a kashmiri people cant kill a fly leave alone killing innocent people.the problem started with AAZADI and most kashmiri people supported it without knowing what it was.we were the richest state in india and nobody slept with an empty stomach unlike other indian states.we lived an laid back life and had easy paced life. People supported pakistan to the hilt.whenever there was an indo pak cricket we were stoned with anger when india won and again stoned with joy when pak won.
    Now people have come to know what they gained and what they missed.
    I hve lot 2 write but have time crunch,but i will keep writing my heart whencever time permits.


  5. The only solution i see to Kashmir is make Kashmir masses rich through education , maintain health facility by good govern hospitals, generate jobs throughout india ask youth of kashmir to earn money in other parts of india and send money home, as other than tourism Kashmir has nothing to offer.If you beleive in Allah he is with you every moment , why only a piece of land to be fought for when entire universe is ours.


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