Jamia Millia’s Kashmiri students issue clarification on ‘Kashmir event’

Jamia Millia’s Kashmiri students issue clarification on ‘Kashmir event’

During conversations with young Kashmiris of different hues and backgrounds one common thread emerges: almost everyone wants to do “something for Kashmir”. This urge to do “something” finds expression in different ways. If we were to consider these ways as different bands on a spectrum, then young people of Kashmir have traversed the entire length of it. Since Kashmir is a place of contestations, these expressions have varied from person to person.

While some of us as students want to “narrate” the experience of Kashmir by bringing out the details in writing, others choose to sing songs of revolution. While some of us choose to effect changes in the state structure from outside of it, others find it more convenient to do so from within the system. Some fight elections, others boycott them. While some of us want to challenge the Indian rule in Kashmir by writing and speaking about it, others choose to fight it militarily. Some write books, others pelt stones. Some become historians of the hunted; others choose to be the lions. Few others choose to side with the hunters. Both groups are convinced that they will be able to effect changes. There are others who would like to make a journey “beyond conflict” and not “wait for you to get your Azaadi”. They are interested in a kind of art, music, culture etc. which does not involve conflict. They can be located somewhere in the center of this spectrum. But where does the difference lie? If we were to assume that people are not driven by personal motives but by collective aspirations, then what can possibly differentiate the people opposing each other? How do we understand the difference between two ends of the spectrum? How do we make sense of a position wanting to be stagnant in middle?
The answer to these questions is simple. We evaluate the consequences of our actions, intended or not is another matter. Let’s assume that NC and PDP have an honest urge to ‘do something for Kashmir’ and find elections held by India as an effective medium. What do they effectively end up doing? Even after a cursory examination, we find them responsible for the continuity of the Indian rule over Kashmir.

The Indian state is always in a need of managers, clerics, and sweepers in Kashmir to ensure an effective administration of its occupation. NC/PDP by believing they have been ‘elected’ to a certain office of ‘power’ actually serve to administer this occupation. Their complicity with the Indian state places them on one end of the spectrum. Those who call for a boycott to such practices, challenge the Indian state and its presence in Kashmir from the outside in different ways, fall on the other side for they call for an effective end to the Indian occupation. Which of the two sides reflects collective aspiration in Kashmir, in this light, should not be a hard task to judge.

It is in this context that we must locate the desire of some Kashmiri students in Jamia Millia Islamia who have come together to organize a cultural fest (Kasheer 2018) to be held on 17th and 18th of this month.

Over the years Indian Universities have tried hard to identify a few of Kashmiri students who they could use as symbols for their narrative of ‘national integration’. In all these years the conscientious student fraternity of Kashmir, particularly in Jamia, has effectively denied any opportunity to administration to allow students to be used as props so much so that at times they have had to dress up non-Kashmiri students in Kashmiri attires. All this is done in continuation with Indian states desire to ‘integrate’ Kashmir with its body. The desperation for the integration of a Kashmiri body is so insane that the Indian state is willing to kill, rape, and torture those who refuse to be part of the story of integration. They have also tried to buy off many others by promising them positions of ‘power’, kick-backs in business, and scholarships to study abroad. Superficial notions of culture, art, and music are also often peddled to ‘mainstream’ the ‘other’ and homogenize the ‘nation’.
While as people around the globe from different socio-political, cultural, and economic backgrounds are proud of their culture and traditions, and so should a Kashmiri be, some of these people, historically, have been denied these privileges by hegemonic powers. Take the case of European colonialism and see how it worked to erase native cultures and traditions in Asia and Africa. Native languages have always been the target of such powers.

The case of Kashmir is no different. In realizing its desire of a complete integration, the Indian state has left no stone unturned in erasing the characteristic markers of Kashmiri identity. As Kashmiris, we have been institutionally denied every opportunity to study our history, know our culture, and read/write our language. The group of students organizing this fest, interestingly, presents a fitting case to evaluate and examine the functioning of this institutional denial. Most of them cannot even speak their native language.

In doing all this—from organized killings, rapes, torture to the erasure of culture and language—the Indian state has cropped up a battery of collaborators to ensure effective administration of its colonialism in Kashmir. The successive client regimes in Kashmir have participated in massacres while also coming in support of individuals and groups who have wanted to take leaps “beyond conflict” by way of sponsoring their endeavors which mainly revolve around the themes of music, culture, art etc. This is not to suggest that this event in Jamia is directly sponsored by the government. This is only to highlight the vulnerability of such endeavors being appropriated by the state and its media when they are involved in a war against the population the very culture belongs to. Moreover, the exoticization of women from the ‘mountains’, their ‘fairness’, their ‘apple-red cheeks’ put on ‘display’ for the patriarchal male gaze informs much of this obsession with the celebration of Kashmiri traditional dance forms (rouff), for example, in India and Kashmiri culture and tradition as a whole.

The reason to boycott this event should be self-explanatory to any Kashmiri. The undersigned are no exception. We tried to reason with the organisers, tried to explain to them the puerility of this idea, the possible consequences, but they would not budge. Since all of us are responsible for our own actions we left it to their own conscience. We hope that with time some of them assess the consequences of their actions and make the journey from the center to either ends of the spectrum.

1. Iqbal Sonaullah
2. Basharat Ali
3. Mudasir Amin
4. Samreen Mushtaq
5. Iymon Majid
6. Yasir Bashir
7. Aadil Beig
8. Bushra Punjabi
9. Sumaira Gul
10. Asima Alam
11. Mudabir Hassan
12. Owais Manzoor
13. Hanan Malik
14. Ashraf Bhat
15. Omer Farooq
16. Shenawaz Ahmad
17. Ashiq Hussain Pandit
18. Qaisar Manzoor
19. Irfan Bakshi
20. Nayeem Ahmad Pandit
21. Sumaya Arif
22. Arva Mehraj
23. Hina Ali
24. Mansha Shafqat
25. Manzoor Ahmad
26. Muneeb Yousuf
27. Basharat Islam
28. Liyaqat Nazir
29. Surraya Khan
30. Waqar Amin
31. Uzair Simnari
32. Waseem Ahmad Dar
33. Suaid Ahmad
34. Adnan Yousuf
35. Peer Wasil
36. Shabaab Alam
37. Owais Gashroo
38. Talib Farooq
39. Umar Jan Lone
40. Pirzada Junaid
41. Shafaat Wani
42. Farhaan Manzoor
43. Aqib Ayuub Bhat
44. Mohd. Murtaza
45. Rahil Ayuub
46. Irtizaa Fayaz
47. Nadeem Sultan
48. Basit Abdulla
49. Fahim Abdul Muneeb
50. Mohammad Aslam
51. Mehroosh Ishfaq Shah
52. Sahil Rafiq
53. Shahbaz Manzoor
54. Sobia Bhat
55. Faizan Ahmad Shah
56. Aabid Bhat
57. Towfeeq Wani
58. Nida Fatima
59. Mudabir Mushtaq
60. Nazish Ashraf
61. Nusrat Geelani
62. Rizwan Muzaffar
63. Owais Ahmad
64. Ather Hassan Dar
65. Shahid Majeed
66. Syed Moin
67. Tanveer Hussain
68. Asra Khan
69. Danish Mukhtar
70. Nayeem Ahmad
71. Mohsin Khan
72. Showkat Mir
73. Ajaz Shergogai
74. Ashiq Ahmad
75. Mudasir Hassan
76. Zubair Ahmad
77. Musaib ul Haq
78. Arif Nadaf
79. Arslan Mushtaq
80. Ishfaq Ahmad Mir
81. Adil Bashir Yatoo
82. Riyaz Ahmad Reshi
83. Imad Nasir
84. Tariq Sofi
85. Waseem Ahmad Wani
86. Mubashir Ah Sofi
87. Abdul Raouf
88. Naveed Ahmad Shah
89. Shahnawaz Wani
90. Zahid ur Rashid
91. Mohammad Yousuf Bhat
92. Bilal Ahmad Lone
93. Imtiyaz Yousuf
94. Umer Majeed
95. Ayan Muzaffar
96. Zahid Rashid
97. Javid Majid
98. Dayim Mushtaq
99. Towseef Hameed
100. Nasir Shafi Dar
101. Ilyas Geelani
102. Tariq Hussain
103. Ovais Ahmad Dar
104. Kaisar Manzoor
105. Showket Ahmad Ganai
106. Manzoor Ahmad Malik
107. Mir Adil Ashraf
108. Shahid Shabir Malik
109. Tahir Hussain Wani
110. Bilal Ahmad Khan
111. Sadaf manzoor
112. Huzaif Atiq
113. Rukhsana Akhter
114. Khursheed ul Islam
115. Sofi Danish Mukhtaar
116. Mudasir Ahmad
117. Mohammad Nadeem Lone
118. Sajjad Hussain
119. Tariq Ahmad Mir
120. Azhar Ali
121. Aabidullah Baba
122. Saleem Anwar
123. Bahaudin
124. Aflah Zahoor
125. Mohd Atif

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