It happens again and again, and each time it is worse. From the smouldering embers a flame flares, intense, dazzling, drawing to itself seekers of light and truth, like a swarm of moths possessed by the urge to blaze into glory, but then the black pall of the python tightens its coil, flexes just that little bit of its enormous muscle, and the brief life of the flame is gone, only a wisp of smoke left, fleetingly.
It is not on Kashmir’s soil that the Indian forces have dug their spikes in. Each time an uprising is quelled, a gathering peremptorily dispersed, these spikes of the jackboot are pressed firmer, deeper into the Kashmiri heart, mind, and soul. The humiliations on the street, in public places, inside homes and bedrooms, at graveyards, at mosques, in every direction of this besieged Valley, are but a reminder of a Kashmiri’s helplessness, his abject enslavement and her shameful powerlessness. The might of the Indian state is on display in Kashmir. Be awed and grovel, it says, and fight if you dare.
What use is it to speak of the compromised political Kashmiri elite? Damn to your heart’s content the “collaborators”, “the traitors”, and then what? Will the dignity of the Kashmiri be restored by making a pathetic face and seeking the international community’s pity, or to make frantic appeals to stir the conscience of the good Indian, the friend among foes, who will convince all Indians that Kashmir is not an integral part of India and the time has come to recall troops as the US recalled from Afghanistan.
Kashmir must not stand and watch its people being massacred once in a while, and then the daily routine of humiliation resumes. This is a battle against a force that has made its enslavement and humiliation its goal. Instead of hitting at this power with stones or a few guns that will hardly make a dent in its skin, Kashmir has to outwit it to outlast it. For all the romance of fighting it head on, it can only be confronted by a concerted effort. Can this Goliath really be defeated? Yes, but only if the people of Kashmir act with one will, one plot. For a start, let them not call each other names. Just ‘Kashmiri’ is enough.