A coloniser’s goals can be summarised succinctly in three words.
SLAUGHTER, PLUNDER, ENJOY!!!
It affects millions of lives, from the direct victims of the plundering pursuits of the hedonistic coloniser, to the children who bear the silent resentment simmering within them, the call for rebellion, humming in their veins.
And finally to their grandchildren, who carry with them the post generational trauma and stories of hidden pain, passed on from generation to generation.
These children enter a world filled with negative stereotypes associated with them due to the propagandist extent of the coloniser’s real influence and fame.
The world lauds the coloniser in-spite of being a terrorising-murderer and a resource hungry conqueror, bringing “civilisation” to the so-called native “savages”.
Yes! Savage is what I am called. A murderer and a terrorist are what I am called.
I, my Kashmiri self, am uncivilised for not bowing to the sword of the conquerors.
“I”, that very word is a rebellion, it claims my identity as not-Indian, not part of a coloniser’s system. For this, I am tyrannized and repressed, murdered and tortured, broken and beaten. My bones shattered, my skin ripped from me and carved into misshapen parts, my blood splatters my graying Pheran (I think it belongs to my mother, oh who will tell her that this world even objects to her wearing a Pheran?).
My thighs are cut up and seen as pieces of meat. My face as a Kashmiri is idolised by multitudes of men in green military uniforms, who at the same time are desperate to hurt the non-Indian savage me, to consume my body and to break it little by little, into nothing.
I say I am a Kashmiri, they respond by devouring everything, from my soul to my mind to my ideas, and I lie here, dying and devastated. I tell them that I was, am, and will be a Kashmiri, and they say that I am “a nothing”.
Cultural imperialism too is akin to stripping away any piece of your past, your very own skin, and replacing it with a messy patchwork of new surfaces and odd words.
Hindi, a language of the alien-South, sounds strange on my father’s tongue. The syllables rolling off clumsily as his mother-tongue Kashmiri, with its beloved ش (Sheen) and elegant, masterful words of old Central Asian mystique takes a back-seat.
My father laughs in mockery, whispering that no one can tear down a mountain of faith. He says that Kashmiri is as old as the rivers and the hills, it remembers time immemorial, it recognises the sword of the former kings like BudShah who believed in generosity before greed, honor before disgrace, courage before cowardice.
A Kashmiri remembers the words of its poets, their fading voices like the gentle silk softness of saffron flower petals humming in the crispy garden breeze.
A Kashmiri tastes of Nadremonge (fried lotus roots) with spicy walnut chutney, of hot brackish noon-chai, that blisters your tongue, it remembers the bitter taste of blood and regret as another one of the kin falls, another one dies in the name of freedom. In the name of a memory that is continually disappearing.
A Kashmiri remembers!
But somehow a Kashmiri cannot be allowed to live, why? Because a Kashmiri dares to think freely despite being caged.
Oh, beloved, beautiful Kashmiri! One who tries to live on in the most unlikely of ways, with scrawls of messy graffiti plastered against gray cement walls, with songs of tragedy and romance softly crooned, and the names we carry that reminisce of journeys far beyond the mountains. We sink further into lucid dreams of fantasy, of old relatives and ancestors, murmuring and mumbling.
Kashmir is a memory, drifting further and further away as we are forced to gulp the civilizational poison of a place called India, of India’s lethal doses of culture and religion, militarily forcing us to be what we are not.
Yes, we are being poisoned to death, our immune systems slowly shutting down as our words slowly turn from Kashmiri to crude Hindustani, our minds shifting subconsciously from believing in complete freedom to “being morally satisfied with the ugly cage they have trapped us in.
The deadliest thing that India does is slowly make us forget, not just the lives of those who died for our freedom, but the very idea of what they were all fighting for.
Kashmir is fighting for its freedom, its language , its ideas, for our rights as human beings.
Kashmir fights for the truth; it believes that every woman who was raped by the Indian Army, every little child subjugated to their barbaric blinding torment, every man tortured and murdered at the expense of the Indian Army’s sadistic enjoyment, every single one of those people deserved Justice.
Kashmir fights for reality, not just memory, and for this, Kashmiris die.
A Kashmiri teenager in America, Noor Ziyan Raboodi currently goes to school in El Paso, Texas, USA.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position and policy of Free Press Kashmir. Feedback and counterviews on the debate are welcome at [email protected]
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