Humanity has been the sole causality in the anger and passion of the last four weeks where the mind has shut itself down and there is only a continuous cycle of hurt that is unending. Thousands of souls in the valley silently trudge on in the complicated dance of anger, hurt and passion choreographed by a multitude of characters. How does one tell the misery of these souls as it does not fit into the current narrative of a canvas that is only black or white? The shades of grey have no place in it all.
If there is one single targeted casualty in all of these four weeks it is humanity. Late Afroz Ahmed Lone a Kashmiri who was driving an armoured police vehicle while on duty for the Jammu and Kashmir Police was pushed into the Jhelum River by a mob in Sangam in Anantnag. Perhaps it was for this that he was posted there three months prior to this incident. Having no other option, hailing from a poor family, he had joined the police force in 2011 to sustain himself and his family in all honour by working for a living. I am sure there are thousands of constables that will share this background.
The Government servants will still be able to tide over with a salary that will anyway arrive even if late. What happens to the daily wage earners, the craft shop owners, the guides that have food to eat only if there are tourists to treat, the roadside vendors, the hawkers, the fruit sellers…the list is endless….the list of people that just live their lives out in the back drop of this black and white narrative… a sea of nameless faces. Do they not have aspirations, dreams or are they to be just another life and I ask this as the anger that we see now is different from the original intent of the anger and is eating away one’s own.
We are at the crossroads and in many ways than just one. More than ever before, puritanical strictures are corroding the very soul of coexistence, inflicting anxiety and stress. Couple this internal struggle with the external strife that is getting uglier day by day and life getting more and more difficult, depression that was dormant has found a new and stronger lease of life. Our children, our beautiful innocent buds….I despair that these beautiful buds will get to blossom in a peaceful garden.
Let me highlight the finding of a recent study on the science on intergenerational trauma (as for example between Holocaust survivors and their children) that trauma can be passed between generations. What this epigenetic theory says is that environmental factors can affect the genes of future generations. So we have chemical tags latching onto our DNA, switching genes off and on and Rachel Yehuda, a leading expert on post-traumatic stress and epigenetics who headed the research team at Mount Sinai Hospital of New York, concluded that some of these tags can be transferred across generations and the research conducted on pregnant mothers during 9/11 revealed that environmental fallout can leave its imprints on the foetus that she carries within.
Healing is the need of the hour and healing of the soul more so. Why are we so afraid to stand up for ourselves and our rich heritage? We all know that mainstream medication for healing traumatic stress is only a stop gap arrangement. The long term and beneficial healing comes from holistic and spiritual healing and the sufi way that we have is available to us but remains unused and neglected. We saw the earlier cycles of violence still suffer from the residual trauma and we are now paving the way for yet another generation that will continue to suffer mentally as well as emotionally. Political promises are frequently broken and continue to be broken. However, the moot question is should valuable human lives continue to be broken and remain broken in servitude for platitudes?
Kasmir’s have suffered in the hands of those who claimed to have popular mandate through electionsand had complete patronage from the center and were equally supported by all the state administrative units.The excesses committed by Indian army, Kashmir police, Kashmir civil administration and the renegades is documented in the minds of kasmiri’s and is the large part of their memory resevior. And all the violent outbursts should be seen in this context only. The history of betrayal by our own people is no secret.
The lack of visionary leadership at the center and the present and past corrupt state governments and very compromised berucracy as well as other state administrative units and the affluent have deeply wounded the emotions of the people of state. As long as they are there, there is very little hope that peace will prevail in Kashmir and the bouts of violence will consume our youth and leave us fragile and ailing. What next is a big question and that is what we must collectively seek an answer.
In absence of courage and conviction toask all those whose claim to be champions of this struggle WHAT NEXT? we will have very little control on the events that will unfold. The silence of good is more detrimental than those who directly harm us all.
A writer, thinker, published author, and an educationist, Dr. Farooq Ahmad Wasil, is based in Dubai, UAE. He has over 3 decades of experience in the field of education – setting up, operating and managing schools. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org