Journalist Majid Maqbool, briefly out of the blockade in Kashmir, eloquently writes:
“History shows that Kashmir has never been – and will never be – conquered or suppressed by force. The idea of Kashmir is bigger than all its enemies, and all the ruling regimes, past and present, put together. The idea of Kashmir has survived all military seiges, crackdowns, torture, pellet guns, PSAs., you name it. In the face of repeated, unrelenting blows, Kashmiris have developed a greater threshold for pain over the years, outliving the worst kinds of oppression, and all varieties of despotic rulers at the helm. I believe pain (daeg) in Kashmir has transformed into something else now. Resilience, for example, or rememberance! Pain, in a sense, can no longer be inflicted beyond a point; its inherent to the Kashmiri self.
The latest round of an unprecedented communication shutdown, internet blockade, and the siege and torture has failed to break the will of Kashmiris. Kashmiris have lost everything but not hope. Voemaed Che zinde, Umeed Baki hai… Hope cannot be killed or imprisoned, put under siege, or blinded by pellets. It survives even in darkness, outliving the darkest times.
If you’re a proud Indian – leftist, rightist, centralist, liberal, rich, elite, middle class, poor, etc – and just watching it all before your eyes, not that far from you, and staying quiet about the continued, decades long, and still ongoing, brutalization and denial of basic human and political rights of Kashmiris by your nation, there’s something wrong with you, and the idea of a nation you belong to, as well. And one day, when the structural violence inflicted on Kashmiris rebounds, hits your home, hits your loved ones, blinds your own kids, god forbid, you might want others – us, even – to speak for you. But by then, it might be too late. There will be no one to speak for you, to stand with you. Before it’s late, there’s still time to educate yourself about what your government – and most of your media – hides from you about Kashmir.
What can you do? To begin with, talk to ordinary Kashmiris who continue to live and struggle in a big, open air prison, surrounded by millions of troops and bunkers and military camps. Before it’s late, speak up and stand with the people of Kashmir, not with those who are drunk on power and it’s excercise on the powerless. Because nothing is permanent, not even suffering, and power doesn’t last long. Because you won’t be doing any favour to the people in Kashmir by speaking up for them and by standing with them; you’ll also, in the process, begin to restore your own humanity. You can’t end the suffering of people; you can atleast speak against, and question, the conditions and those who prolong the suffering. Because that’s the right thing to do. And that’s the least you can do. Because right now is the right time to break the silence. So speak up for Kashmir NOW and #StandWithKashmir.”