Right to fight the ‘unacceptable’

By Mohsin Manzoor

I am a Pakistani when I speak of my freedom or plebiscite; I am an Indian when I speak of neither. I am a double agent when I speak of my rights; I am a collaborator when I don’t. When I fight for my rights ‘unconstitutionally’ I am a terrorist; when I fight for staying within what the Constitution of India promises I am a ‘Threat to Public Safety’. I am a hypocrite when I vote for development; I am a fool when I don’t as for my life. Ironically, I know that you know I am not any of these.
I have been long asserting for my rights, my freedom, my honour, my dignity, my fair share of justice and I will until I have all these. The first great ‘historian’ of my land, Kalhana had said, back when I was a Shivaite, “the country may be conquered by the force of spiritual merit, but not by the force of soldiers. The inhabitants are afraid only of the world beyond”. What pains me is that I have to still demand what is my right centuries after this historical observation. Why am I denied my rights?
Is it only because I was born in a land that has a history of being a bone of contention between two hostile neighbours? Neighbours that take the territory and its people as a mere possession of honour and pride; that if let go would bring a disgrace to their name. Would losing this territory strip one state of the false principles that it boasts to uphold; would that hollow to the ideology the other was created for? Are they trying to avenge themselves, the harms they have inflicted on each another, by killing Me. Are they trying to make the large sums of money spend on the defence and arms count by testing them on Me? Is it because of the rich resources of my land that have been long exploited by one country and the other wants to as well? Is it because of the ‘strategic importance’ my land has for both of them or for the whole bunch of mute spectator countries who claim to care Human Rights?
Burden. Is it because one wants to forcefully integrate my land and its people but not assimilate me or my culture? Maybe the other narrowly thinks that it shares a part of my culture thus me too. Or is it because the world order wants me to be exploited for in the game of chess the king needs to be protected at the cost of pawns? Whatever maybe the reason it is me who suffers. And I am no less individual unworthy of dignity and honour received by the citizen of any other country.
Who are the people in power befooling – themselves, their people, me or the world, by giving a bad name to my struggle. They may hide the facts but not the fact that I was born free. Free with a life I can give for my land and my people. I may be throwing stones and getting bullets and pellets in return. My ways of protest may not be ‘appropriate’ but I know I have to fight. Fight for my own freedom, my sister’s honour, my brother’s life, my mother’s security, my father’s pain, my child’s corpse and for the innocent blood that is being shed for very long. And I will fight. Fight against the oppressor who is either disguised as a friend, a sympathiser, guardian of human rights or an open enemy, for I have grievances against them all. I will struggle to have them addressed. I will take stones in hand and bite whatever comes in return. No matter what they call me I am no disguised identity. I am a Kashmiri.

—This article was written during the peak of unrest in 2016.

One Response to "Right to fight the ‘unacceptable’"

  1. SKChadha   January 2, 2017 at 8:49 am

    “… I have been long asserting for my rights, my freedom, my honour, my dignity, my fair share of justice and I will until I have all these. …”
    “ …. Is it because one wants to forcefully integrate my land and its people but not assimilate me or my culture?…”

    Mohsin Manzoor, there are many who have wrong perception about “FREEDOM AND RIGHTS” and they have to understand about correct notion of these words in Valley? You are one of them. It is a wrong notion about FREEDOM fed in the minds of many in valley by its law makers and it is they who are now responsible about insertion of Clause (7) of Article 19 in the Constitution of India, which is reading as under:

    “(7) The words “reasonable restrictions” occurring in clauses (2), (3), (4) and (5) shall be construed as meaning such restrictions as the appropriate Legislature deems reasonable.’.”

    It is nobody else but your own law makers who are responsible for these words and isn’t it also show that J&Kites have more freedom in Union of India? J&K is equal partner in India’s growth and having much more autonomy than any other States. Its residents have more freedom as the State Government is unable to impose REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS? If someone thinks that this kind of situation can give them something more from 1.25b Indians, his thinking is absolutely flawed. It is the valley which only despite having maximum freedom under Constitution is continuously crying for more. More autonomy is making them more riotous, lawless and bully which is also reflected in your writing. To my understanding, there is need to put a check on it?

    Sir, one need to understand that “FREEDOM” in democracy is ‘a safety valve’ for releasing pressure of anger against own rulers. It allows people to vent out their feelings and SENTIMENTS without fear or favour. It is also to make them think betterment of the people and establish social order. However, such FREEDOM comes with REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS for common good, which is to be decided by elected representatives? Expression of sentiments freely doesn’t make them automatically the governing norms of any nation. The freedom of expression has no scope of intimidation, violence, force, incitement or public disorder against anybody including the State. Your expressions are exactly doing the same and this is what caused ‘REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS’ on KR recently … 🙂

    Even in choicest best democratically free nations, the citizenry or public at large have to accept the writ of the government represented by elected representatives. In best of the democracies also, citizenry sacrifice some of its fundamental rights for a good social order. Remember, in social living, sacrifices of rights and freedom are at all levels i.e. from individual to family, family to neighborhood, neighborhood to community and community to states and so on. Even the nations comprising of entire humanity are sacrificing certain rights while being part of UN? Sir, we all have to keep our hand on our heart and think by FREE mind, “Being a follower of a particular faith, sect or religion or while protecting our family values, marriage etc., ARE WE NOT SECRIFICING FEW OF OUR OWN PERSONAL FREEDOMS?

    When you say ‘I’, ‘MY’ please remember that it is not YOU only, who is Kashmiri. It is not ‘YOU’ only, who represent the voice of the Democratic India. It is not ‘YOU’ only who is having brothers, sisters, mother or father? It is not ‘YOU’ only, who is fighting for betterment of J&K or India and its territorial integrity and sovereignty? Please also understand that when the idea of freedom in democracy unfolds from the angle of ‘SELF’ or religious instinct, not a secular sentiment, it is not FREEDOM but a sectarian instinct of few? The day the citizenry of valley or people struggling like ‘YOU’ will realize it, the problems of J&K will be over. Or else it will be in more chaos which we also witness in our western neighbourhood …. 🙂