By Seema Kazi
I am neither an apologist for the Indian state nor of its occupation of Kashmir. However, I am deeply dismayed and anguished by the competitive politics over Eid articulated with much enthusiasm and gusto by members of Kashmir’s civil society over social media.
Invariably, there is always a day’s difference between Eid celebration in the Middle East and that in South Asia including India. Over the decades, this discrepancy evoked criticism and exasperation among Muslims in India; it has also been tolerated with humour and wisdom.
Kashmir has a right to celebrate Eid when it wants; with Pakistan if it so desires. But to transform a festival invested with universal spiritual, moral and religious meaning for all Muslims – no matter which state they happen to live under – into a political referendum against, in this case, the Indian state mirrors a misplaced resistance.
May I remind those who make a virtue of not celebrating Eid on the same day as India’s Muslims that it is only Muslims who celebrate Eid, not New Delhi or the Indian State. If Kashmiri Muslims and Pakistani Muslims celebrate Eid a day earlier than the Muslims of India, this shall not make one whit of a difference to the Indian occupation in Kashmir; nor will such competitive one-upmanship advance Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination.
Kashmiri resistance against the Indian state has nothing to with Eid or with which country Kashmiri Muslims celebrate Eid. Resistance is an eminently political project; it is about grass-root political work on the ground, commitment, courage, intelligence, wisdom, prudence, ideological and political coherence, and a united leadership with transparency and integrity in organisation and action.
Eid is invested with identical meaning for Kashmiri, Pakistani and Indian Muslims. At a moment in time when the Muslim world is rent asunder by sectarian division and relentless violence, the project of Eid-celebration-with-Pakistan-
as-resistance-cum-referendum- against-the-Indian-state is a sad commentary on the intellectual drift of Kashmir’s social media community. Please also have some mercy on Muslims like me with family in India and Pakistan. Irrespective of with whom Kashmiri Muslims choose to celebrate Eid we remain divided – destined to never celebrate Eid together.
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