By Zeeshan Rasool Khan
The departure of activist, writer, and journalist of par excellence, Shujaat Bukhari who fell victim to a fatal attack, has shocked entire Kashmir and created a vacuum.
Shujaat devoted his short life in the service of his nation. As an activist, he rendered his service to his nation and people through different means. Besides social activism, his activism in the promotion and protection of Kashmir language is something that makes every responsible Kashmiri indebted to him. He has always been at the forefront of the movement for the revival of Kashmiri culture and language. The introduction of region’s first Kashmiri language newspaper ‘Sangarmal’ is a manifestation of his concern for Kashmir and Kashmiri language. His efforts for promotion of culture and language merit to be mentioned by golden ink.
Shujaat was not the name of a mere journalist, but a voice that always spoke for the oppressed nation, intrepidly. He frequently appeared on TV-talk shows to discuss the political scenario of Kashmir and always voiced concern about common masses. He, in his journalistic avatar, served as ambassador of Kashmir and highlighted the plight of the inhabitants of this conflict-ridden zone wherever and whenever he had the opportunity. Owing to his abilities, he had received popular recognition all over the world, visited several countries as representative of Kashmir, and its people.
Shujaat was the name of an optimistic peace-loving entity who strove for peaceful resolution of Kashmir. It will not be magnification rather quite apt to call him ‘symbol of moderation’, who considered moderation as wiser policy and envisioned better relations between India and Pakistan and always advocated for meaningful and sincere dialogue. On Modi’s Kashmir – visit in 2015, he commented, “Modi failed to do Vajpayee in Kashmir” and wrote: “Packag will come, roads to travel will be in place, but roads to connect hearts and minds will continue to remain missing”. This was a clear indication of his pursuit of peaceful solution to existing problems. He tried all possible mediums to bring the stakeholders to the table to have an alasting resolution to Kashmir conundrum.
Shujaat Bukhari, as a writer created an understanding of true journalism, opened up the minds of people, immensely contributed in bringing the Kashmir-issue to attention, and importantly inspired and manufactured many other fecund writers. He, as a chief-editor of ‘Rising Kashmir’ has set a precedent for others by writing profoundly on almost every subject including social, cultural, and political issues. Recently, in response to one of my article, I received an email from Bangladeshi national. After having an exchange of ideas on different issues; he expressed his respect for Shujaat Sahib and described him a source of knowledge with regard to Kashmir-politics. Likewise, throughout the world, he had admirers for his worthwhile writings, as Shujaat was a writer of international repute who vibrantly contributed to several international publications including the BBC.
Regarding his persona, there is no need for any exposition. The manner people from all walks of life expressed their pain over his departure is enough to estimate that, ‘he was angelic in nature’. Not only his associates, he left everyone in the melancholic state, which speaks volumes about his personality.
However, history bears witness, whenever anybody stood for truth; impediments were created for him/her. For falsifying falsehood, voices were choked. And fertile pens were countered with swords/ guns. Unfortunately, Shujaat Bukhari became a fresh victim of this abominable tradition and was brutally distanced from all of us. Creating a black hole in the empyrean of journalism and truthfulness, Shujaat left this worldly existence. However, it is not all over, as some consider. He will not be conspicuous, but his abysmal contribution to the nation will continue to inspire people. And his ink will continue to enlighten us by flowing through pens of people of his caravan and those inspired by him. Additionally, his ‘Rising Kashmir’ will continue to rise to make his soul proud. This is my conviction and our wish as well!
May Allah (SWT) bless his soul!
—The author writes on current issues. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org