By Inam ul Haq and Hilal Ahmad Rather
A couple of days ago, on Republic TV, an Indian Army major namely Gaurav Arya asked a simple question that half of the time Kashmir is under bandh, under lockdown, half of the time they (Kashmiris) are stone-pelting, still there are no cases of malnutrition[..] where is the money coming from?” He added that here’s some external handiwork behind the ‘red rosy cheeks’ of Kashmiris. Major Gaurav argues that in order to keep red-rosy cheeks, one needs to have a lot of money and probably his motive was that all that money comes from Pakistan which makes all the Kashmirs look “laal laal gulabi”.
The most surprising thing was about the TV anchor Arnab Goswami, who defended him by narrating the argument as rational instead of asking him to stop the drama. All this exposed the racial mindset of people like Gaurav Arya in India by asking bizarre questions, which so far seems to have no relation with money. Such Anchors and panelists wants to satisfy their political partners and security experts and also defends every act of Army and cover these activities which through nationalism and patriotism. The questions arises why they remain salient on the killings of a common Kashmiri individual, who becomes the victim of their bullet and pellet. If red cheeks makes you worry, then there are more things in Kashmir, which can be depicted as red.
Soon after the argument, the people of Kashmir reacted quickly through social media. However, the basic problem is that people like Gaurav Arya will never be aware of, what they said. It is a racial statement as well as a question mark on the identity of Kashmir. The people of Kashmir are healthy, good looking and handsome. Their complexion is quite different from the rest of India. Tyndale Bisco, argued in “Kashmir in Sunlight and Shade” (1995), that Kashmiri pundits are more refined. Many have rosy cheeks and pink complexions. The foreigners who studied different societies have extensively praised the Kashmiri race. They are of the view that that Kashmiri people are doubtless physically the finest of all the races that are living in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Frederic Drew states that the Kashmiri people are of middle height, a robust race having broad shoulders and great muscular power. The beauty of women particularly in Kashmir invited kings, nobles and ministers from other parts of India and married Kashmiri women, because of fair complexion.
Sociologists and researches are divided on the issue of the origin of Kashmiris. Most of them believes that the origin of Kashmir is related to Ilebraic (Jewish). The fair complexion and the hooked nose of Kashmiri is prominent feature, which is also found among Hebrews. Such argument was supported by Sir Walter Lawrence, G.M.D Sufi, Sir Francis and Baron C. H. Hugel. While as, Sir George Campbell observed that the face of Kashmiri is pure Aryan type, because of wide, straight and high foreheads. This argument was also supported by Sir Herbert Risley and Tyndale Bisco.
Kashmir is a land of remarkable beauty, blessed by natural scenery and a glorious climate. The Kashmir valley, a fertile well-watered spot, surrounded by high mountains has been described with justification a heaven on earth. S. R. Bakshi in his book “Kashmir valley and its culture” (1995) points out that not only every nook and corner of Kashmir is blessed, but people are equally blessed with beauty. The complexion of people in the valley is very fair with a rosy tingle.
The argument by Gaurav Arya on red cheeks is internalizing racism and it had no relation with sponsored money. It is fact that panelists along with government sponsored anchors securitize every problem in Kashmir. Journalist Gowhar Geelani states that such statement is India’s hatred, racism, bigotry and anti-Kashmir stance will hurt and haunt India till end (Kashmir Life, 06 June 2017). In this so called digital India, where TV channels debate on poverty, hunger, rising crime in form of rape, conditions of farmers in Maharashtra, Tamil Naidu and Madhya Pradesh and how to win minds and hearts of Kashmiri people. Besides that, they are defending the army for using human shield in Kashmir, singer Abhijit Bhattacharyya for abusing women especially Sheela Rashid of Kashmir, Sonu Nigam on Azaan tweet, Gau Rakshaks for killing and lynching.
In the battle for TRPs between India Today, Republic TV, and Times Now, Kashmir’s must answer why they are good-looking having red cheeks for all this they blames they are taking money. During these days, even a sparrow’s fart in India is being considered a handiwork of Pakistan.
—The author is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat. He can be reached at: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org