Reconstruction of Kashmiri Thought

Syed Suhail Yaqoob

Colonization is a physical, emotional, cultural and even aesthetic term. World over, so called developed countries are spending millions of dollars to create people with a western outlook and similar desires using media, literature and so on. Kashmir is not immune to these attempts.. Music, art and books are the main instruments that have created a crisis of thought and imagination. Everyone has different perceptions, and these are not theirs but some else’s.
Kashmiriyat, a word cherished by many Kashmiri’s. I mean “cherished” by political class as well as bourgeoisie. Kashmiriyat implies, in a deeper outlook, being timid, dormant as well as extremely sympathetic. In an article on the 20th July, 2017, Wajahat Habibullah wrote an emotional commentary on Kashmiriyat after the attack on the Amarnath Yatra. He was divisional commissioner when Kunan-Poshpora happened and he could not utter a single word that time. Was not that assault on Kashmiri’s honour?
Kashmiriyat is a scapegoat, especially if anything goes wrong, we will be under direct attack for not behaving “properly”. We are not allowed to protest, are blinded and bits of flesh are wiped out of our bodies. You react, Kashmiriyat is in danger. Our Sufi traditions are in danger. Why? Because we react. Our bodies, our souls and our minds are controlled to feel like this. Bourgeoisie schools are factories of creating this type of thinking. Their thoughts are just imaginations with no literal acceptance of reality.
Peace is relative. Peace of which form? Government’s “peace’ implies people are in domination. Every time Indian forces dominate the Kashmiri people, they dub it as peace; it is a political term. Peace is never absolute it is relative. For the powerful, peace implies domination and for oppressed “peace’ implies annihilation of dominant. So far Kashmiri society is in deep intellectual crisis by refusing to believe in practical things. We always have felt short of imagination.
It has not been our fault but the fault of higher classes who have controlled our thoughts and our souls. Their portrayal of our society is only half; people take it as full image. Srinagar region is not the full representative of our whole Kashmiri region, there is diversification of even languages, even customs, and it is only that Srinagar is a melting pot. Its art is different from the rest of rural society.
Mao once said “there are two ways of killing people; one by murder and by pen and the murder by pen doesn’t even shed blood”. Was not he so correct about situation in Kashmir? Forget about atrocities; concentrate on the literature that is being fed to us. It is so difficult to find revolutionary literature in Kashmir. Full bookshops are there, yet few revolutionary books are there. Novels are the best way to control thought and minds of people. Novels are found in bulk in Kashmir; stalls are filled with these. And these are without any fighting spirit.
And music is an innovative way. Everything has a “political” desire behind it. If we listen to music, it doesn’t cater to the needs of proletariat but bourgeoisie. Calmness is promoted and “ruptured” peace is promoted through this. The lyrics are best tuned to make people timid and worthless of themselves. Even music, in these times, can bring revolution of all sorts, the lyricsis even bourgeoisie which is anti-thesis to our movement. Separatists and intellectuals are in negation of this very thing. What we need is negation of any sort of literature that makes people timid and lazy. Our fundamentals have to change in a very big way. Our society has to become more practical about needs, thoughts which can be persisted and sustained through realism.
It is heartrending to see things going this way. We had three massive protests against India in 2008, 2010 and then in 2016. Some gains were achieved; some pains also were inflicted on us. How come then we were not able to manage the things? Don’t blame people; their sacrifices are more than huge now. It is outrageous that still some people have shown no confidence in people despite giving huge sacrifices. What is missing is not selflessness among Kashmiri people but revolutionary ideas where by people don’t feel being timid, lazy and careless. We have to show respect by way of “Pheran( Kashmiri traditional dress) and feel freedom of every sort. What today we need is not bourgeoisie literature, music and dress but people’s thoughts, peasants dress and reconstruction of Kashmiri thought so that new Kashmiri man/women could take birth who is powerful, selfless and enigmatic.

—The author teaches at the Department. of Economics at Kashmir University. He can be reached at: