To the German ambassador in India, a letter from Kashmir

This letter was faxed from Srinagar on 26 August 2013 to the German embassy in New Delhi and the Bavarian State Opera. List of signatories given at the end.

To,
Ambassador Michael Steiner,
German Embassy,
New Delhi, India.

Subject:  URGENT Protest Letter to German Embassy on scheduled Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir on 7 September 2013

On 22 August 2013, a press release was issued by the German Embassy that Zubin Mehta would be conducting an orchestra on 7 September 2013 at Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

The press release quoted you as stating that the concert was for the people of Jammu and Kashmir by way of a cultural tribute. The press release also reads that the concert was intended to give a message of hope and encouragement to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The concert, said to be a part of a “broader engagement” is being organized by the German Embassy and supported by the “competent authorities both at Central as well as at Union State level”. The costs of the concert are covered by “benevolent sponsors mainly from the business world in India and Germany, as well as “Incredible India‟ and the German Foreign Office”.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir take immense pride in our rich history of resisting oppression. We also have historically cultivated a sublime tradition in, and love for, music. Music  – which appeals to the higher truths of love, justice, dignity, and peace; which genuinely acknowledges the long suffering, and yet bravely resisting, Kashmiris; and which is performed for the actual public – is wholeheartedly welcomed. However, legitimizing an occupation via a musical concert is completely unacceptable. Art as propaganda, as abundantly documented, was put to horrific use in Nazi Germany. We are sure you will understand that we cannot welcome anything even remotely analogous in Jammu and Kashmir. Sadly, the occupation will be amply reflected in the demographics of the audience of the proposed concert – the list of “invitees only” is bound to be restricted to the members of the apparatuses of the Occupying State: from perpetrators of crimes, as heinous as murder, rape, and torture,  to the local collaborators of the State and perhaps some powerless, vulnerable and compliant few.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir, for whom this concert is purportedly meant, have been subject to an occupation by the Indian State for the last 66 years. These 66 years have exposed the people to various shades and faces of the Indian occupation. But, two features have been consistent. First, State brutality and absolute impunity. The institutional culture of moral, political and juridical impunity has resulted in, by some estimates [as of 2013], enforced and involuntary disappearance of at least 8000 persons besides more than 70,000 killings, countless cases of torture, rape, molestation and disclosures of  over 7000 unknown, unmarked, and mass graves. There have been no effective prosecutions of the perpetrators to date. Therefore, absolute impunity.

The second consistent feature of the Indian State has been its constant endeavour to forcibly  control the public, regional and international narrative on Jammu and Kashmir. From criminalizing  the popular  dissent and resistance as “terrorism”, “anti-national”, or “unpopular”, to the more recent obsession with portraying “normalcy” and “peace”, the Indian State seeks to obfuscate the truth and forcibly control the destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Since 1947, the Indian State has sought to use art, sports, cinema and culture to camouflage the real truth about Jammu and Kashmir. The scheduled Zubin Mehta concert is yet another attempt to control the narrative. It is an attempt to portray “normalcy” and “peace” to the international community and other stakeholders.

In this context, it is most unfortunate that the German Embassy should seek to collaborate, perhaps unwittingly, with the Indian State in Kashmir, recognized as an international dispute by the United Nations and the international community, without any sensitivity to the aspirations of the people, or issues faced, or the machinations of the Indian State. It is unfortunate that the German Embassy  lends itself to be party to an event that very obviously forms a part of the ongoing Indian attempt to control the manner in which the world views the unresolved dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

The German Embassy must be sensitive to the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace and normalcy, but not as hollow punch lines of State craft, but as real concepts that flow from, and are necessarily linked to ideas of justice, dignity, freedom and political choice.

The German Embassy must take serious issue with the fact that the Indian State seeks to disregard a European Parliament resolution, of July 2008, which urged the Government of India to hold an investigation into the alleged mass/unidentified graves in Kashmir, and called upon the European Commission to offer financial and technical assistance to the Government of India for this purpose. But, at the same time, the Indian State is eager to collaborate on convenient projects, such as a concert in Kashmir.

The international community, including the German Government, must not allow itself to be party to activities that seek to further legitimize the Indian occupation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Nuremberg principles clearly established that to be complicit in crime is to commit crime under international law. There is no place for silence. There is no place for passive collaboration that seeks to be unmindful of the real issues that face a people. An occupation cannot be ignored or conveniently forgotten.

A Zubin Mehta performance in Jammu and Kashmir, though a privilege, cannot be used to further an occupying State‟s narrative. Therefore, it is incumbent on the German Embassy to immediately recognize the reality within which this concert is taking place. The German Embassy must issue a statement accepting the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir, and recognizing the pain and legitimate political and legal struggle of its people.

Regards,

1. Dr. Altaf Hussain – Author, Pediatrician
2. Adv. Parvez Imroz – Human Rights Defender, President – Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society
3. Zareef Ahmed Zareef – Poet, Civil Society Activist
4. Mohammad Anwar Ashai – Civil Society Activist, Businessman
5. Abdul Majid Zargar – Columnist, Chartered Accountant
6. Bashir Ahmed Dar – Civil Society Activist, former Secretary, Department of Education
7. Zahid Ghulam Mohammad – Columnist, Author
8. Dr. Javid Iqbal – Columnist, Physician
9. Hilal Mir – Journalist
10. Najeeb Mubarki – Journalist
11. Huma Dar – Academician
12. Mohammad Junaid – Academician
13. Wajahat Ahmed – Academician
14. Zahir-ud-Din – Author and Journalist
15. Abir Bazaz – Academician
16. Arif Ayaz Parrey – Writer
17. Suhail Masoodi – Academician
18. Fayaz Ahmed Dar – Researcher, Civil Society Activist
19. Dr. Mirza Ashraf Beg – Civil Society Activist
20. Samreen Mushtaq – Social Worker
21. Uzaifa Basu – Social Worker
22. Ifrah Mushtaq – Social Worker
23. Imran Majid – Human Rights Defender
24. Salman Bhat – Human Rights Defender
25. Uzma Qureshi – Social Worker
26. Parvaiz Ahmed Matta – Human Rights Defender
27. Khurram Parvez – Human Rights Defender
28. Shakeel Qalandar – Civil Society Activist / Member, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies
29. Sajad Hussain, Social Activist

30 thoughts on “To the German ambassador in India, a letter from Kashmir”

  1. Such concerts are neither here nor there. Abolition of article 370 and full integration of J&K into India is the only solution to this problem caused and aggrevated by Islamic Jihadis. India has no option but to fight this venomous, hate-based ideology.

    1. On what basis would you want to integrate J&K into the Union? A national identity that the people of Kashmir reject? Surely not a religious identity.

      The only way that I feel Jammu and Kashmir can be integrated into the Union is if the Government of India undertakes some drastic steps.

      Firstly, we need to remove the suffocating presence of security forces from civilian areas. Post the armed forces to the international border and the LoC. Simultaneously, we need to issue apologies to the entire populace for our transgressions of the past 66 years and make genuine efforts to right wrongs, such as through financial compensation. It goes without saying that we need to also broadcast this message loud and clear, so that any and all security issues such as terrorism from Pakistan and PoK has no legitimacy and that they will be solely responsible for any violence.

      Secondly, we need to put forward a referendum to the entire populace of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We have to guarantee them full rights as citizens of India, have to repeal any special provisions that are in place that would allow the state to abuse power and above all present them a comprehensive social and economic plan that outlines the benefits of being a full-fledged member of the Union. At the same time, we ought to also make it very clear that joining Pakistan would be folly, considering the condition of that failure of a country, and that independence would be dangerous, since Kashmir would be a small, landlocked country with two very belligerent neighbours in the shape of China and Pakistan, who would very likely take over the young nation without much compunction.

      Thirdly, we need to ensure that every eligible citizen in the three main regions goes to the polls and that there is no fraud. If need be, we need to invite the foreign observers to monitor the entire process, preferably NOT from some islamic country. We also need to honour our commitment and respect whatever decision is reached.

      If the decision is in our favour, then great. If not, we need to ensure that the people of Ladakh and Jammu are not lumped together with the Kashmiris. If need be, there will have to be a partition of the state.

      This might be an idealist solution but it sure as hell is better than the current state of affairs.

      Oh and we need to tell Pakistan to stay the fuck out of this. A referendum in PoK would be useless due to the skewed demographics there. It is not realistic to expect the a united Jammu and Kashmir unless we are prepared to go to war.

      1. We need to disarm terrorists and destroy terror camps in Pakistan in the first instance, we need to make it clear to Pakistan sponsored jehadi mind set to give up their chants for the Jehad and Aazadi. We need to allow full flow of the constitution of India in Kashmir. We need to understand that there are much grave problems being faced by the people of this country than what Kashmiri people have faced and that too for their own Fault. We need to make Kashmiri People understand that by keeping them in constant and continuous strife only a handful of people have sold and are still selling their sufferings to the Muslim World and are earning huge financial support from them. We need to stop this business of hypocrisy and normalize situation . Identify the real enemies of the people and isolate them from interfering in our lives. We need to severely punish the anti national war mongering brigades of separatist mercenaries.

  2. Entirely Ridiculous argument! Would this civil society question the basis of Kashmiri’s hate towards India – basically hindus and muslims as per the grand leader cannot live together if the ruler is secular? I am no supporter of India policy in Kashmir and a lot of time find it to be oppression driven, but Kashmiri argument for freedom is equally filled on hatred and a fascist philosophy.

  3. This letter is a smart political use of an international event to press home the grotesqueness of continued military occupation of Kashmir against the will of its people and the ethical poverty of all such cultural collaborations that may effectively water down or evade that fundamental fact.

    Beyond this move, I hope there are other creative and cultural means of expression lined up to push this act of resistance forward. Hopefully it will not be just another hartal on that day giving the state an easy run, but instead, songs of dignity and freedom (azadi) sung by the people of Kashmir will reverberate not too far from the venue.

    Hopefully, the state will have the dignity not impose curfew and lock the local people up as it is wont to do around critical events in Kashmir.

  4. Interestingly all these undersigned are Muslims who supposedly are representing Jammu and Kashmir. They couldn’t find a single Hindu from J&K to sign it? So much for their secular movement!!

      1. his point is be inclusive….when you showcase yourself to represent entire population of jammu and kashmir include diverse voices irrespective of religion.

        1. The set of people who happened to sign this letter seem to carry Muslim sounding names. They as far as I believe, are not trying to be a representative sample for the religious composition of the society in Jammu and Kashmir but putting forward a logical claim. If it were a requirement before signing any petition for it to be representative in all respects, why should one only consider religious identity as pivotal and not caste, class, gender, region, ethnicity, age, language, sexual orientation, ideologies, individual preferences so on and so forth? There would be infinite forms of identity that will need to be included so as to represent the actually existing diversity of ‘voices’ .

          May be asking everyone directly through a UN mandated referendum is the better idea. Till that continues to be denied, some people will keep referring to the J&K as an illegal Indian occupation and rightly so, notwithstanding the sound of their names.

          1. You did not address the question raised by “A Regular Joe”. The point is well taken that an overwhelming majority of the people in Kashmir Valley are against the Indian state and a substantial number of them want `Azadi’, for good reasons. The ruthless human rights violations by the Indian army are well documented. It is also true that the signatories of every statement need not be a representative sample of the entire population of J&K.

            But seriously, can you point to any evidence which shows that a nontrivial section of the minority community within the state of J&K support this cause? Is there any leader from the minority community within J&K who endorses the freedom struggle? If not, this shows that this freedom struggle, if anything, cannot be called “secular”.

            And just in case you consider me to be a religious fanatic, I maintain that the same kind of reasoning shows that the people from the minority community within India as a whole (in this case belonging to the other religion) are discriminated against.

          2. Sir, with all due respect, your comment seems disingenuous at best and misleading at worst. The points made by regular joe and abhishek, is simply this–that one cannot send letters claiming to represent the viewpoint of ‘The People of Jammu & Kashmir’, and then have all signatories from only one community. (Granted, the majority community of the state). I find your defense of such a representation dangerous, for what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

            If a similar letter were to be sent to the President, Prime Minister and Supreme Court of India, pressing for the construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya, signed by the members of only one community which happens to be in a majority in India as a whole, would you be so willing to accept that letter as legitimate and justified?

            The fact that such ‘representative’ letters are sent, is a tacit admission of the non secular nature of the azadi movement. Whether it started like this or not can be debated ad nauseam, but the fact remains that it has for a very long time now, been linked to (and driven by) religious identity.

            It would be a refreshing breath of honesty, to hear proponents of azadi candidly admitting this, rather than hide behind platitudes of a secular struggle. Why not also work at bringing the movement out of the influence of religious fundamentalists, with which it has got so enmeshed?

        2. If entire population is subjected to oppression sure the approach would be “inclusive”. Wonder why no brits participated in Non-obedience movement of Gandhi against British? But natural, a snake no bites a snake!! And what diverse voices you talk of! Only two voices exist – occupation and occupied. The voice above is of occupied from every corner of Kashmir.

          1. Your analogy is misplaced. We should instead ask, “Did the Muslims in India (the minority community) participate in the freedom struggle against the British?” Now consider this question, “Do the Non-muslims in J&K (both the exiled and resident pandits and the people of Ladakh) endorse the freedom struggle against India?” I guess we all know the answers.

            I do not dispute the claim the Indian state is the oppressor and the people of Kashmir are the oppressed. The people of Kashmir indeed have the right to fight back. But please, do not call this a “secular” movement. It ceased to be so after the death Sheikh Abdullah, who was truly secular and had a vision. In recent times, just look at the kind of leaders who are at the forefront of this movement. Can one seriously compare one SAS Geelani with the likes of Nehru, Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan? One cannot, at least not if one is living in the real world.

          2. This analogy reflects accurately (maybe unintentionally so), the dark underbelly of the azadi movement. You have very blithely likened the minority community in Kashmir, to the British colonialists in India!!

            So it does not matter to you. that the minorities–Buddhists, Pandits, Sikhs, had lived in Kashmir for many centuries, and surely had as much right to the place as any of the majority community? How can you compare them to the British in India, who arrived with a racist philosophy of being superior to the ‘native’, who usually considered only Britain their home?

            The Kashmiri minorities, whom you seem to hold in such disdain, always considered Kashmir their home. Why should they not think of themselves as Indian in terms of nationality? How does that lessen their rights in their home state? Sadly, your comment seeks to cast them as ‘the other’ whose views are worthless, merely because they do not endorse the struggle for azadi.

            No one is denying that the majority in Jammu & Kashmir has suffered in the crossfire between a violent separatist uprising, and the ruthlessness of the state’s response. Yes, a balanced solution reflecting the rights and aspirations of all Kashmiris needs to found. But it is high time the proponents of azadi publicly rejected the regressive and exclusionary view of the minorities. The leaders of the movement need to introspect, that it is perhaps due to the amount of importance they give to the minority opinion, that there was never any real support for the movement from this section.

            And as for your simplistic statement–that there are only 2 voices in Kashmir, that of the occupier and the occupied–I beg to differ and add a third–the voice of the ones who were victims of a genocide and forced to flee from their homes. The voices of the victims of ethnic cleansing, many of whom continue to eke out a life in refugee camps in Jammu and elsewhere.

  5. Its quite amusing to see leftist, or perhaps confused leftists, in an effort to critique the Indian state’s occupation of the Kashmir Valley, supporting an independence movement which is based on the fascistic notion that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together.

    I, like all rational people, condemn the oppression of the Kashmiri people by the Indian state; however, to say that the independence movement is a ‘rich history of resisting oppression’ is a bit ridiculous. I wonder whether the forceful eviction of kashmiri pandits in their thousands was part of this heroic tradition? What do the people of Ladakh and Jammu feel about it?

    When will the Kashmiris understand that fighting for a national identity is meaningless? No matter how many nations are created, the rich remain the rich and the poor continue to be exploited.

  6. how secular they are….where are all the kashmiri pandits…..not a single hindu in the list???

  7. Kashmir movement is a communal movement nothing else. Further use of the word Jammu people is disgusting, jammu have one of the highest density of kins in indian army. Native jammmu known as dogras are among the elite indian army soldiers who will fight all the indian enemies as well as hinduism enemies till their death. So plz dont use jammu or ladakh for your communal islamist cause. Ladakh people demanded UT status for many years the no of ladakhi youths is indian army is more than that of muslims from uttar pradesh itself shows that jammu and ladakh people will die for the tricolour and also kill enemies for the same tricolour. Jai Hind

  8. Do we want Zubin Mehta, a supporter of the aparthied Israeli state, performing in India? No irony here that Germany is supporting him – cruel wages of sin – even as Israel is involved in a genocide of the Palestinians, who were NOT responsible for the Holocaust.

    1. If there were any justice, Israel would exist not in the Middle East but somewhere in Central or Eastern Europe. However, now that the country has been in existence for 65 years, you can’t exactly drive the Jews into the sea and recreate the old Palestine.

      That said, I would like to point out to the ardent opponents of Israel that it is, like most of its neighbours, is an artificial state created as a result of the events of the First World War and colonialism. However, unlike its neighbours, it has a more free society, with more freedoms than any Arab country and there is genuine opposition towards the orthodox, religious fanatics that sadly are in power. There is opposition within the country towards settlers, towards the demolitions and forced evictions of Palestinians.

      I don’t know if you have ever lived in an Arab country but I have. I grew up in one. Their attitude towards Israel and Jews make the Zionists look like angels in comparison. The prevailing sentiment is a very aggressive, hyper-religious one. There are demonstrations in Israel by Jews against the atrocities their state commits but I have yet to see or hear of demonstrations in the Arab world asks for the Jews to be viewed as humans.

      Are the actions of the Israeli state reprehensible? Yes. Is the situation since the past 65 years one constant denial of a homeland to an entire group of people? Yes. Is blind hatred of Israel any solution? NO. Get some damn perspective on the issue before you spout the same old rhetoric that has gone so far as to support Islamic fanaticism, made Israel defensive and given more ammunition for Zionists to say, ”It’s us against the world. We are justified in defending ourselves”. It has not gotten the Palestinians much.

      Final word, I one of my acquaintances is an Arab-Israeli from Nazareth. He says that in spite of difficulties with the conservative Jews and their allies in the Israeli government, he knows that his life in any Arab state would be rubbish, not in the least because he is a homosexual, a left-winger and an atheist.

  9. Quite interesting, why India and Pakistan do not leave Kashmir to the kashmiris as they have seen enough of pakistan and india, kashmir than has to be secular and accept back its actual inahabitants who have relocated.
    This will leave India and Pakistan with nothing to fight directly or Indirectly (like cold war) through millitants in Kahmir and Balochistan or even for the upper hand in afghanistan.
    Actually its not the Kashmir or kashmiris ,it is the control of Rivers which is more important
    for India and Pakistan-this can be easily resolved via a Treaty like Indus Water Treaty for which Pakistan has already sacrificed Three of its river namely Ravi,Sutlej and Bias .Similar Pact has never happened anywhere in the world but World Bank financed alternative of link canals fed by Indus and Chenab substituted the lost water,Now pakistans concern is further squeezing of water resources from Kashmir by constructing reservoirs on Rivers Indus,Chenab and Jhelum by India. So Kashmiris on both sides are secondary Issue ,its the water which is important for both the countries. This matter needs to be resolved otherwise the two Nuclear armed countries will finish each other one day and there will be nobody to perform in the concert and also there will be no audience. So wake up sane Indians and Pakistanis before its too late

    1. Wonderful, You cannot simply look beyond yourself and start living in one imaginary world. How easily have you added all other people adding one word secular with your dispensation. What is your problem..? it is not with India .. the problem is your mindset.. you think by your dispensation Jummu and Ladakh will fall in your lap with the very simple ease at which you think it. And what has secularism to do with your idea when not a single Pandit or a single Hindu of Jammu and not even many Muslims across the State see it as a plausible solution. Only terrorism and Jehad can decide your aspirations, because in one way or the other you speak the same language.. and are not ready to learn as to what it means to live with reason and peace of mind.

      1. Frankly between India and Pakistan Kashmiris are least important and Pakistan Army will continue its Proxy war and Indian Army will do what it has been doing with Kashmiris in the past. Jehadis ,Fundamentalists or what ever you call them are merceneries used by pakistan..The word secular is used only by Indian hawks for convenience to show to outside world that they are neutral and treat all miniorities as equal to hindus,which is neither possible nor practised. For people of subcontinent like you and me it really makes no difference if kashmir goes to kashmiris after settling the water issue. Both countries can resolve their energy problems by building water reservoirs on all rivers of kashmir-filling these gradually without affecting downstream users in both countries,than generate ample electricity and ampicably share water and power giving reasonable royalty to kashmiris to rebuild kashmir as a tourist paradise.

  10. If, in order to negate any Indian rights over administration of Kashmir, the “undersigned” want to keep the embers of violence burning, and want to keep Kashmir away from any exposure to the outside world, even from musical concerts, sporting events, and aspire to keep the society in the Dark Ages, then woe has befallen. There are umpteen contradictions by the so called separatists, who will condone, and even praise any violent acts by the Jihadi elements. They will have no problem when their own kids listen to Death Metal and Grunge Rock, but it is the society which has to protest. If the same effort that they put in protesting and opposing is instead channelised towards constructive purposes and mainstreaming, Kashmir will truly be a heaven on earth. History can not be changed. Generations have lost their lives in the quagmire of Kashmiri politics. An open mind to change will go a long way in ensuring peace.

  11. Worst case. let the people who want to enjoy music listen to Mr. Mehta, and then go home. Music is not a banned drug. Mixing politics in every dish is not going to make the dish tasty.

  12. Unsurprisingly, the entire thing is signed by Muslims. To hear them talk, it’s as though Hindus never existed in this region, never mind that it is named for the sage Kashyap.

    The people of Jammu and Kashmir, for whom this concert is purportedly meant, have been subject to an occupation by the Indian State for the last 66 years. These 66 years have exposed the people to various shades and faces of the Indian occupation. But, two features have been consistent. First, State brutality and absolute impunity….
    The second consistent feature of the Indian State has been its constant endeavour to forcibly control the public, regional and international narrative on Jammu and Kashmir.

    What about the third?
    Never mind that the government would spend over $21 billion in aid towards the state, which is more than what it has earned on its own in the preceding decade. And the link I’ve shared is from 2008, so presumably that wellspring hasn’t dried up in the last 5 years.

    Exactly what sort of ‘occupation’ does this sort of thing at the expense of taxpayers in the rest of its own country?
    Goddamn hypocrites.
    I haven’t even mentioned Kashmiri Pandits, because hey, who gives a crap about them anyway? First drive them out of the place, then make claims to being culturally different from India and use that as one of the reasons to claim separatism.

  13. Well there are some issue’s that can be discerned, if we just care to look

    The name itself is a misnomer when its an invite only — what Ehsaas e Kashmir is being “mooted” here……..

    There is definitely some kind of “political” expediency in holding the concert or if you may some kind of personal aggrandisement …. or to the idea that music “creates peace” …you can even discern all three if you so care to look … only the exceedingly naive would believe otherwise. If not,how in the dickens can a western classical concert better the lives of folks in Kashmir when the daily peril of living under constant fear would still be there.Understand that the state or most parts of it are under draconian laws and civil liberties are trampled with impunity.

    The separatist’s may have an agenda but its not only them who have done a disservice to Kashmir…… the ruling elites of the state, the South Block Mandarins, the
    policies of the Indian State, a pesky neighbour that wants to settle scores with us….all have turned the State into a quagmire at the risk of its inhabitants …both Pandits as well as Muslims.They have lost so much …. a loss which which we do not even comprehend..or even empathize with..

    In no way can this concert symbolize normalcy though i would have wished it to be a more egalitarian event .. for the people of Kashmir and its children and not an extremely posh invite only which beats its very purpose. But i still have a lingering doubt that how is it that this concert would help us fellow Indians understand the pain that is called Kashmir without being judgmental and jingoistic .

    What my fellow netizens have pointed out regarding the nature of the Kashmiris i have this to say

    it would be a grave error to say that the Kashmiris have not been wronged . there’s no doubt about . Its also a fact that the Kashmiri Pundits fled there homes and hearths…there is no doubt about that too ,a psychosis of fear came to permeate Kashmir (and in many cases still does).. but to be selective about the approach does not do the subject justice. The Kashmiri Muslim is as much a victim as the Kashmiri Pundit …the former doubly so (if you pare it down ) both at the hands of the separatists as well as the State. Talk to that particular generation from both communities and you will find different narratives.The Pundits refrain to the fear of being hounded and marked and fearing for their lives,(“there was sloganeering and processions,we were living in fear”),the Kashmiri Muslims sense of betrayal at the flight of the Pundits ( “now they have gone and left us to be killed”). The hints of state collusion in the flight of the Pundits notwithstanding …. there may have been one section from both sides that could have gloated over the migration …. but that surely isn’t true for all . I was told by one young student in Srinagar once and these are the his words ” we would have run too , if we had a place to run to, i envy my Pundit friends for they had a place to run to . One day there were with us in school and the next day they were not there ? Where would my family go, we are an ordinary Kashmiri Muslim family,troubled and in despair , without any hope … there is no place called home ,neither here nor in Jammu . There may be thousands like me … but no one cares…so i hope that i survive these time’s but i don’t know how long these time’s will last …so i brood and wish i was not here … not here at all ”

    Both the Kashmiri Muslim and the Kashmiri Pundit have lost so much that it is beyond our comprehension .. If only our policies were more humane we would beaten our pesky neighbor for good by storming the hearts of the people not their homes… by isolating the
    perpetrators and not putting the general populace under the boot and thus creating a vicious cycle of unrest …
    You see both narratives got strengthened by the facts on the ground , it seems that the Kashmiri Muslims and Pundits have lost what they nurtured for centuries , a common heritage. Its how they rise up to the needs of the future and try to find what has been lost –in spite of the differences – that would shape the future of Kashmir. Of course it would also depend on how we contain the interference of our neighbor without resorting to the proverbial “colonial boots” . A change of heart is what i am arguing for but given the general polarization that we see today —it seems too much of an ask.

    PS I am posting this the third time thats why the tense even though the concert now is done and finished with …I do hope i get through this time

  14. There is something called poetic justice. India planned so did God. Zubin Mehta extravaganza with all the resources and money spent resulted in humiliation. Michael Steiner pulled by his government is facing serious music, Zubin Mehta was taken for a ride and his orchestra was sore about misinformation making them feel sorry. In a nutshell, India needed a Hitler to get its independence, Kashmir is very lucky and will get it using its own strength.

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