I am Kashmiri and it’s my birthright to show that I am a victim
September 7 is a date when people in Kashmir are reminded of the havoc that floods wreaked in Srinagar and Anantnag. But was there no warning? Yes, there were worrying signs: for 8 days it rained continuously, but little was done by the government, in which NC and Congress were in power together. I used to go to my work all these eight days and saw on daily basis rising water levels near Rambagh. I was concerned, used my social media accounts to awaken the state government from deep slumber, but the authorities did nothing – at least nothing visible. I can tell you about the pathetic attitude of the then state government by giving you an example: On 7th September at around 10am, the state government said: water levels are rising, pray and take care.
With power comes responsibility; alas, not the case in 2014.
It is like a doctor not treating patient of diabetes or hypertension well and when due to complications when patients are on dialysis, the doctor says, take care and pray.
Let me tell you I am not against any party or ideology, but I wish that man-made tragedies like the floods of 2014 are not repeated – that is the only aim of writing this article. We should learn lessons from such tragic events; I am surprised that it is 2022 and yet no white paper has been issued on the floods of 2014. My appeal to the honorable LG as well as to the central government is to initiate a probe, let us at least know what went wrong, who tried his/her best, which department played an active role and which ministry was found wanting. If a callous act went unnoticed in 2014, does it mean it will remain unnoticed?
It is better to avert tragedies rather than rehabilitate people, just like prevention is better than cure. Shifting blame has become innate to our DNA. Let us change our mindset. I say that both our government and our society were responsible. For the floods in Kashmir, we blame everyone else but not ourselves. Encroachments, pollution of Dal and Wular lakes, felling our forests – it is all the handiwork of WE THE PEOPLE, but we the people are in denial. In Kashmir housing colonies were constructed on flood channels. We fail to accept our part of the blame. We expect international organisations and the government of India to help flood survivors, but our rich never think of how to help them, or how to best channelise our resources. We Kashmiris can spend Rs 6000 crores annually on wazwan but for our brethren we have no money!
I am Kashmiri and it’s my birthright to show that I am a victim. I do agree that we Kashmiris, like people in other places, have some genuine grievances, but that does not absolve us of our responsibilities. Every time a correct decision is taken, it is termed as a conspiracy. How long will conspiracy theories protect us? Only when we accept our mistakes gracefully can we correct them.
Let’s for a change become responsible for our destiny rather than playing games of hide-and-seek. No one can harm any of us if we first set our own house in order. We cry about declining saffron sales, but who adds maggi, coconut fibers to it, surely not Bond 007? Let us take destiny in our hands and not give remote control of our life to others or hide behind populist statements. Why is it that we don’t learn from other communities? Why during tragedies like floods or earthquakes, our hope is just from the government alone? We have business fraternity in Kashmir who earn in crores, the NRKs also earn very well and their children are equally well off, but do they think of girls and boys who are unemployed and long past the marriage age? Why is it that they are not taking their names from various DC offices in Kashmir and providing relief directly to them? What’s stopping us? Drug abuse has crossed all limits, but how many charitable de-addiction centres do we have in Kashmir? If God has given us unlimited money, we should spend it on helping the poor and sick.
Unfortunately, we have a history of building monuments rather than institutes of learning. It pains me to read advertisements in newspapers that THIS EID or New Year or any festival, the celebration is with AFGHANI CHICKEN AND LUCKNOWI PULAV, instead of THIS EID WITH FLOOD VICTIMS/ ORPHANS/ WIDOWS of Kashmir.