Kashmir will celebrate the Indian cricket team’s loss, no matter who they play against!

Published: March 8, 2014
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The three suspended Kashmiri students address media after returning from India's Meerut Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) in Srinagar on March 6,2013. PHOTO: AFP

Meerut is not Srinagar by Shivam Vij published on March 7, 2014 justifying sedition charges on 67 Kashmiri students by a private university in Uttar Pradesh India, is a new addition to journalistic literature on Kashmir. Premised on the exodus ’ of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, the author draws anachronistic comparisons of two contextually disparate events.

In theory, if there is any Kashmiri nationalism, it is of the state sponsored variety. Kashmir’s association with cricket is only occasional.

It is not the win of Pakistan but the loss of India against any cricket playing nation that revives interest for cricket in Kashmir. India’s loss is a temporary relief from all the melancholy and grief that the people of Kashmir go through on a daily basis, inflicted by the Indian state and its military architecture.

“If there’s a big India-Pakistan match and you’re in Srinagar, you’d think you are in Pakistan”, writes Vij to draw home his point.

The 1983 cricket match between India and the West Indies, which the author uses to construct a definition of Kashmiri nationalism, and the 1986 India versus Australia match, made West Indies and Australia feel like they were playing on home turf;    given the way they were cheered and the Indian players were booed.

So, Kashmir is Pakistan.

But it is also West Indies, Australia, South Africa and the list is as long as the number of cricket playing nations, except India.

“Muslims used to burst crackers outside the homes of Kashmiri Pandits if Pakistan won a match. This is not Kashmiri Pandit propaganda: a pro-freedom Kashmiri Muslim activist told me as much” says Shivam Vij to inform us that Pandits were not safe even before “the onset of militancy” which “forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990.”

His source, strangely, is not a pro-freedom ‘separatist’ – a term which Indian journalists are as much obsessed with as their profession – but an activist and an anonymous one. Here, as I said in the beginning, is a new addition to the journalistic literature on Kashmir. Pro-freedom Muslims in Kashmir are now activists.

Vij asks a Kashmiri Muslim journalist his opinion “on the idea of Kashmiri Pandits returning to their homes”. The answer makes Vij conclude that this journalist cannot “decide whether someone could return to their home or not”.

Fair enough. But why ask hypothetical questions?

Not only have Kashmir’s pro-freedom leadership failed to answer such questions (although they have time and again asked the Kashmiri Pandits to return) but Pandit organisations have also miserably failed.

Panun Kashmir, an organisation working for the rehabilitation of Pandits in Kashmir, have for a long time demanded a

‘homeland in the shape of Union Territory spreading around the northern and eastern part of the Jhelum river’.

This ‘cluster policy’ has been rejected and is seen as a ploy of “settlement of members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other Sangh Parivar groups”. According to Vij, any Kashmiri Muslim believes the cause of Pandit ‘exodus’ was an Indian conspiracy.

“The idea was that if the Indian forces moved in to suppress the Kashmiri (Muslim) armed rebellion with the Pandits living amongst them, there might have been reprisals against the Pandits”, he writes.

I wonder which class of Kashmiri Muslims (as he emphasises time and again) he has been talking to.

Maybe to those stunt-men, who call themselves journalists, who, in acts of self-promotion, make music appear blasphemous in Kashmir?

“Does that mean, I asked them, that they would indeed have killed their fellow Kashmiri Hindus in retaliation for Indian forces killing Kashmiri Muslims for rebelling against India?”, he goes on with the imaginary conversation he has had with anonymous Kashmiri Muslims.

Sanjay Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit and an independent documentary maker, perhaps provides a convincing analysis of what led to the Pandit migration. In an interview with David Barsamian, Sanjay Kak said,

“But I think what we don’t recognise is that in that chaos there were all kinds of forces who would use that community in order to achieve other ends. We’re talking about, say, a population of probably not more than 150,000 people. And it is true that in 1990 and 1991, about 200 people from this small community were killed. Of course, it’s also true that in that same period probably 8,000 Kashmiri Muslims were killed. But we’re not doing math here, we’re not doing an equation of how many more people died because it’s true that even in a minority of 150,000, if 200 get killed, it is going to panic those people”.

He further adds that,

“It’s very difficult to say who wanted to precipitate in a crisis. Because if I were an extremist fringe militant organisation, I might want to attack Kashmiri Pandits, in order to precipitate a certain polarisation between the communities. It could be argued that from the Indian state’s point of view also, the targeting of the Kashmiri Pandits served a useful purpose because it allowed the Indian state to paint the movement there, which saw itself as a movement for the liberation of Kashmir, as a fundamentalist Islamic movement.”

Going by Vij’s logic, Kak is not ‘honest’, as he doesn’t see Kashmiri Hindus as ‘Indians’.

“I dream of a world.”

I may ask Mr Vij very politely why dream of ‘a world’? Why not dream of ‘my world’? Your own world?

Again, asking politely, who is he to dream of a world inhabited by a billion of us?

“I don’t see how a private university in Meerut could not have taken action against Kashmiri Muslim students cheering for Pakistan. Not taking action against them would have escalated the violence at the university and in the city. The Indian students at the university were responding with the same sentiment that makes Kashmiri Muslims suspect their Hindu minority: the sentiment of nationalism”, he argues further.

So Mr Vij is justifying charges of sedition slapped on Kashmiri students based on a hypothetical, imaginary situation which may or may not have taken place. According to Vij, the sentiment of Indian students against Kashmiri students is the same as that of Kashmiri Muslims against the Hindu minority.

This argument is flawed. It is irrational and lacks substance.

But Kashmir would accept his logic because that proves Arundhati Roy right when she says,

“India needs azaadi (freedom) from Kashmir just as much as – if not more than – Kashmir needs azaadi from India.”

To validate his point and justify the action taken by the university against these students Vij asks,

“How acceptable would it be to a Pakistani if some in Pakistan openly and publicly cheered for the Indian cricket team in a match against Pakistan?”, forgetting he has already answered the question above.

“He’d be delighted but that’s just him!”

Narcissism, I tell you.

“The argument of Kashmir’s occupation is somewhat irrelevant here”, because what is relevant is the

‘exodus’ of Kashmiri Pandits.

“Cricket is a menace”, because it shows your true colours. It makes clear the fact that even those who “run away from big media” are prone to get infested by the nationalistic jingoism.

Finally, Shivam Vij agrees with Omar Abdullah. They have everything in common.

Both of them believe Meerut is not Srinagar and Kashmiri students are misguided.

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali

Basharat Ali is a freelance writer and blogger. He is doing his masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He tweets as @Basharat_Dar (twitter.com/Basharat_Dar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sid

    So now India conquered Kashmir, its Indian’s homeland.Recommend

  • Sid

    Grow up, free Kashmir is a grand delusion. Kashmir was free until Pakistan decided to occupy it. It is Pakistan’s adventurism which has led to this situation of Kashmir and Kashmiris.Recommend

  • Sid

    since you know there are many, can u please name few instead of just naming countries.Recommend

  • Why don’t you ask your government to pack up and leave Kashmir in disgust over their ungratefulness? Oh right, you won’t, because you don’t care about Kashmiris, you care about their land and their property. Why should any Kashmiri go anywhere? If you don’t like them, leave them.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    Almost all Muslims I India and Pakistan are converts to islam. How can they “conquer” their own land? Maybe you think they came along with the arabs when they conquered parts of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    Oh man! Listening to your speech , you even made me think that Pakistan is the land of the free where there are no blasphemy laws, no discrimination against ahmadis, no discrimination against the people who follow the original culture of this lands like the Hindus and Sikhs. :-). You got talent…but no sense of history.Recommend

  • ayesha chaudary

    Your rape capital of the world (india) has already occupied Assam , Minipur , Chhattisgarh , Khalistan (indian occupied punjab) , Bodoland , Tamil nadu , Orissa ……. and the list of those states which want separation from india goes on…..Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    if you have been to a polling booth in India, anywhere in India, it is surrounded by the forces deployed by EC.

    Some places which are remote and have a history of mischief during Elections, polling booths are virtual fortresses.

    By your definition even that is not free and fair. Stop pandering to the Pakistanis, who are hell bent on proving Islamic Fundamentalism in Kashmir is a “secular” movement.

    AFSPA or troop deployment is India’s internal matter. I will air my opinion in appropriate channels. Your airing views which give wing to Pakistani sentiments of victim-hood is counter productive.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    I don’t respond to rhetorical statements intended to put the other person in a tight spot.

    Please argue on facts. 80% turnout is a fact. Sajjad Lone losing is fact.

    Who are you trying to impress? Whose brownie points are you trying to earn?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    You only care about Muslim Kashmiris and accuse the other person of “not car(ing)e about Kashmiris”.

    Have you said any words on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, who are driven out of their very homes and living in Refugee camps?

    All you care is about Kashmiri Muslims.

    But, such care goes out of the window when talking about Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Why? Because their oppressor is China.

    Al Qaeda is more consistent than you. They threatened China to stop oppressing Muslims. While you not many Pakistanis wish to even discuss the topic.

    This is pure opportunism at play here. Do not think the non-Pakistanis will not witness it.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    Nope, I’m not condoning the actions of Pakistani state either. I’ve categorically rebutted some sweeping statements made by our Pakistani friends too.

    Btw, here is something to substantiate that our “democratic” system is not entirely clean – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/17/india-usa

    And this is a consequence of AFSPA/troop deployment – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/16/wikileaks-cables-indian-torture-kashmir

    While you might want to rubbish these as conspiracy theories, just an advice from a fellow engineer, sometimes, absolute numbers don’t truly represent facts. While our engineering background compels us to think this way, where human emotions are concerned, it’s not binary, there are always shades of gray.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    “Khalistan (indian occupied punjab)”… seriously? Do you really want to have a debate on the topic of Khalistan?
    Let’s hear your facts.Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/shail.arora.589 Shail Arora

    He he… then don’t put yourself in a tight spot.

    So, just to dive a bit deeper in your fact of 80% turnout, let’s take a look at the party wise break-up, pro-India parties got – INC + BJP + JKNC = 56 seats, let’s also add CPI, which bagged 1, taking the tally to 57.

    Total seats = 87

    Number of seats won by parties with “unknown/questionable” allegiance = 87 – 57 = 30.

    So essentially, ~34% seats went to parties with “unknown/questionable” allegiance, can you really ignore this number?

    Given this data, your 80% turnout just goes on to show that people want to elect local representatives to resolve local agendas and not necessarily, align with the mainstream of Indian society. However, if you can explain this 34%, I shall gladly concede.

    Btw, I’m not here to impress anybody, for there is nothing anybody can give me that I don’t already have, just trying to fix perceptions. And yes, also hoping that India-Pakistan issue get resolved someday (in our lifetime), so that I’m able to undertake a road trip to the place of my ancestral origin ;)Recommend

  • Sane

    First look at your own …. India. A hell land for minoritiesRecommend

  • TheAverageMoe

    The poonch rebellion started on August 18 1947, before Pakistan sent any tribesmen into the valley, in fact Nehru knew about this and he didn’t want to publicize this fact, Christopher Snedden even wrote a book about it.

    http://www.tehelka.com/nehru-didnt-want-to-publicise-the-poonch-rebellion-because-it-would-have-strengthened-pakistans-case/

    As for the Jammu massacre, those happened during partition and throughout Dogra rule over Kashmir, Muslims were mistreated.Recommend

  • TheAverageMoe

    Comparing East Pakistan to Kashmir is like comparing apples to oranges, both countries have committed atrocities but comparing both conflicts isn’t fair, because East Pakistan was one off the most densely populated places in the world with 70 million people and around 200,000-300,000 people were killed(according to a Dhaka University study), on the other hand the Kashmir valley is only home to 4-5 million people(spread out) and over 70,000-90,000 people were killed within just a decade or less.Recommend

  • thinktank

    wo there partner before rubbing all of em pundits in our face at least read about the jammu muslimsRecommend

  • thinktank

    thumbs up
    Recommend

  • Surya

    As a Kashmiri Pandit, it pains me to see fellow Kashmiris show support for Pakistan. My family was forcibly evicted from our home in 1990 when I was a kid. My mother, a typical Kashmiri looking woman, went back home a few years ago to sort out the paperwork for selling off our ancestral home that currently has anti Hindu graffiti all over it. Local Kashmiri Muslims called her an Indian and not a Kashmiri… Just because of her first name and the fact she she was wearing a bindi. Did she complain about discrimination or start a riot? No. But the fact that hundreds of thousands of us cannot return to our homeland because of the fear that we will be butchered is probably a lot worse than than charging a handful of students with sedition. Basharat Dar, please realise that Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims come from from the same stock but clearly we have very different loyalties. Perhaps we do need a separate panun Kashmir for us. And you can leave for across the border if you wish. Recommend

  • Japanseseepaaj

    Good attempt in spewing some anti India venom in the minds of your readers. But feeding all these lies means they are getting blinded of the truth and they think India is some monster and fighting India should be their motto and as a result they are simply destroying their own lives and time.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    So basically you are implying cuz the word “mandate” is not scribe in a UN text so it is crystal that UN resolutions becomes worthless?

    Here, let me educate u a bit

    MANDATE

    1. An authoritative command or instruction.
    2. A command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative.
    3.a. A commission from the League of Nations authorizing a member nation to administer a territory.
    b. A region under such administration.
    4. Law

    a. An order issued by a superior court or an official to a lower court.
    b. A contract by which one party agrees to perform services for another without payment.

    There you go in your face.

    http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unmogip/mandate.shtml

    “UNMOGIP Mandate

    The first team of unarmed military observers, who eventually formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), arrived in the mission area in January 1949 to supervise, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the ceasefire between India and Pakistan; and to assist the Military Adviser to the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), established in 1948 by Security Council resolutions 39 (1948) and 47 (1948) .

    Following the India-Pakistan hostilities at the end of 1971 and a subsequent ceasefire agreement of 17 December of that year, the tasks of UNMOGIP have been to observe, to the extent possible, developments pertaining to the strict observance of the ceasefire of 17 December 1971 and to report thereon to the Secretary-General.

    Given the disagreement between India and Pakistan about UNMOGIP’s mandate and functions, the Secretary-General’s position has been that UNMOGIP can only be terminated by a decision of the Security Council. In the absence of such a decision, UNMOGIP has been maintained with those same arrangements since then.”

    So, Does India has the “Authority” (read lordship/mandator) to terminate UNMOGIP Mission all by herself? Or India has the “capacity” (read brazenness) not to comply with UNMOGIP?

    (TIP: The Answer lies right in the question)

    regards,Recommend

  • Ali

    The problem with Indians is that they will only attack u when they are in much greater numbers. Their inferiority complex and their frustration towards Pakistan is clear. India is no different than Nazi Germany, where they use their ridiculous beliefs to subdue the minorities.Recommend

  • Amit

    The author is ill-informed. In fact Muslims in India have never been able to associate with India, and the high handness is a myth. In Mumbai which is not in Kashmir as the author must know, the Muslims use to burst crackers in event Pakistan defeated India in cricket match. About the Hindu High handness, it is nothing compared to Moplah Killings, Noakhali killings, 1971 genocide, and reduction of Hindus percentage in Pakistan from 12% to a mere 2%. The fact is not even Atheist can survive in a Muslim majority country.Recommend

  • Amit

    why not all the Muslims in rest of the country? Why should we have tension in our land, when Muslims cannot associate themselves with this country. If Pakistan was made for Muslims and India for Hindus and if this is the solution….so be it.Recommend

  • Amit

    If Muslims are not safe in a Muslim majority state where the Indian army has not able to prevent genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, why are Muslims living in India? They better find opportunities outside India. Thanks for making us realize we are Hindus. We are siblings of those who were put in boiling water, who were cut from head to torso in 2 parts, who were beheaded, whose children were put behind bricks walls live, whose children were beheaded right on their laps, who were tortured and even the dead body was cut into hundred pieces which had to be stitched together for a decent cremation, the people who fed their children grass rather than accept submission…all this for trying to force us into submission. Our ancestors were not weak minded like the Kashmiris.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    say, that is strange,

    From pure technical UN oriented discussion and you just bring religious bigotry.
    ….looks like Gujrat 2002 ghosts are laid to rest.

    Friend, you need a psychiatrist.

    Peace n goodbye.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    hhhmmm yup,

    If that make you folks happy then let it be.

    let Kashmir, Bihar, UP be declared independent states after a UN referendum.

    regards n goodbye.Recommend

  • someone

    So there was a rebellion just in poonch part not every where else. But the tribesman sent by Pakistan from other areas into Kashmir created a whole new set of tensions. Jinnah was in too much hurry to have Kashmir joined the Pakistan. Too bad for him, Hari Singh joined India and Pakistani army could not take the Kashmir valley away. Now Pakistan has absolutely no claim on Kashmir other than the rule of force in the form of army in PoK. Even by the UN resolution, Pakistan army has to vacate Kashmir, then the geography of Kashmir has to go back to it was before 1947 for which China would have to get out of Askai CHin. Then only a referendum can take place.Recommend

  • Rowdy Rambo

    You are the best students of Kashmir and you get admission in India. You need to respect the country who is giving you free education and other facilities. In case an Indian gets a free facility in England and there is Match between India and England. Indian in their heart will support India but will see that don’t hurt the sentiments of the English citizen. Kashmir its self does not have a common consensus poor and uneducated want to stay with Pakistan and rich and prosperous want to stay with India. Others don’t know whom to go with and some want freedom. You first Kashmir s need to sit together and decided what needs to be doneRecommend

  • jayyed

    What a brilliant post..! Beautifully re-iterates something most of us already know and expect to hear.
    India has used the worst possible tactics- murders, rapes, abductions, curfews, mass-graves, molestations, arrests, special laws, deployment of more than 50% of all the ‘brave’ indian army.. only to curb the voice of the poor Kashmiris.
    The best part about such posts (posts about Kashmir) is that they attracts hate-based remarks from the Indians which remind everyone that it is not the HINDUstani govt alone, it is every Indian Hindu who is filled with the venomous hate against Muslims and Pakistan.
    Kudos to the brave writer: speaks the truth fearlessly no matter what!!Recommend

  • LS

    Yes, that does not mean anything because their economy is caput. They still live in 1950’s when the world has moved on. Lastly, 5th grade literacy means everything to you then yes power be upon you…Recommend

  • LS

    Yes, it does because Pakistan also signed a Shimla agreement after their 1971 debacle that said that Pakistan and India will deal with all territorial disputes bilaterally and would not involve a third party. So UN Mandate is worthless.Recommend

  • LS

    What do you mean “Let go”… They are free to go anywhere they like. Even though we went to UN we don’t agree with it anymore. Remember UN is just mediator if one party does not agree to the mandate due to changed ground realities then it cannot do anything so stop bringing UN into this all the time.Recommend

  • Ajay Mittal

    Insurgents need only be handful since they use cowardly tactics of surprise, using civilians as shields and cover. Wherever any country has won against insurgents, only 2 tactics are available a)Combination of love and deterrence using low to moderate force b)Swotting all opposition through excessive force not caring about citizens caught in cross fires.

    Indian has chosen first in accordance with its high philosophies.

    You study Conflict Resolution. If you were the PM of India and China, what would have been your actions to resolve conflicts. What advice would you give Pakistan to resolve its conflict leading to lack of governance?Recommend