Saturday, August 11, 2007

How We Celebrate Freedom

The only time I went to Kashmir was when I was six or seven years old. Maybe younger. So I only have the most impressionistic memories of it - a few sounds, smells, flashes of events. Water being heated outside and the resinous smell of pine cones; a wheel stuck in sludge and all of us tense because of the flight we might miss; a road not seen in a sudden fog and the weariness of having to walk on not knowing where we were or how long it would take to get back. And after all this time, the question that one girl asked: 'Where are you from? Are you from India?'

While introducing his film Jashn-e-Azadi, Sanjay Kak said, "In 2003 I went to Kashmir after 14 years. I was disturbed by what I saw and also by how much I did not know. Kashmir is not invisible but it is totally hidden."

This sense of a place that is elusive is one that strikes you most as the film begins, with shots of the water reflecting denuded trees in winter, a tall pole on which a raven sits, and the illusion of inversion and the world turned on its head. Boats come in and out of focus and nothing is clear. We remember this sequence not only because of the unsettling images but because in all the poetry that punctuates the film, mirrors, reflection and the act of seeing play an important part.

Days away as we are from the 60th year of India's independence, asking questions about what freedom means or whose freedom we are talking about seems almost redundant. We are loud in our glee, although if we were to be questioned closely we would be hard put to it to remember the narrative of our independence.

Watching this film reminds us that not everyone feels a part of this triumphant parade of India's freedom. The Independence Day 'celebrations' of 2005 shown in the film are of a bleakly empty square, with only a few army officers and plenty of flags. If there are people, they have stayed firmly indoors and want no part of the ceremony of raising flags and releasing doves. As the film begins, we are immediately disturbed by how much we cannot see.

But soon enough many things become clear. We know in a very short time that the presence of the army, of violence and of sudden eruptions of conflict is pervasive. Everywhere there are guns, everywhere people are stopped, checked and can be arrested or taken away.

Indeed the whole film is a litany of grief, fear and suspicion: every story is one of disappearance, loss, trauma, nightmares, sudden arrests and torture. In every small town and village, as the film follows the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, which is conducting a first-of-its- kind survey of lives lost, stories are told of young men who have given up their livelihood to join the insurgency; who have continued with their lives but have been taken away for questioning and have never appeared; of bodies that have been found in forests, unidentified and unclaimed. One village had more than 400 orphans. A psychiatric clinic had hundreds of people waiting outside - most of them suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The film makes no historical points: very briefly, through titles, it outlines the position of Kashmir before and after India's Independence - touching significantly on the land reforms that followed, where every peasant and every landless person was given lan - and the disenchantment in the late '80s that led to the armed insurgency. No reasons are given for why the insurgency turned militant; instead the film examines the idea of martyrdom as one meaning not only 'sacrifice' but also an 'act of witnessing'.

At every funeral of militant leaders, or of young men, hoards of people chant and demand freedom. These cries for freedom are so insistent through the film that the irony of an election where only 9% of the population in one constituency come to cast their votes is not only stark, but bitter. In contrast, an important sequence shows Yasin Malik, who is collecting signatures, speak eloquently about the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination. The arguments he makes sound like the ones leaders might have made during the 1940s, when the struggle was against the British.

But hidden at the edges of this narrative is the one of the Kashmiri Pundits who fled the valley from the late 80's onward. In this 2 1/2 hour film, the issue comes up just before the intermission. Kak calls up a Kashmiri pundit, a poet, who has chosen to remain. He wants to hear a poem the poet has written, and in the midst of the recitation, the call is cut off. The intermission begins and by the time it is over, there's a discomfort, a feeling of a narrative interrupted; it can't but be deliberate. When the film resumes, we don't immediately return to the question fo the Kashmiri pundits, but when we do, Kak calls the poet again, who recites the entire poem and says that though his family has left for Delhi, he has chosen to remian, though he remians in strict retirement, seeing nobody and having nothing to do with the world and all its violence.

A few minutes more in the sum total of the engagement with the issue of Kashmiri pundits. If one is inclined to be charitable, this could be interpreted as a narrative of the valley and those who live in it. But it is impossible to talk about choice, or volition with any sincerity, because the reasons why one entire religious community felt it had to leave is never examined. This is important, because though it is not an omission, it has caused every screening to be either interrupted, disrupted or disallowed on the strength of its supposed bias against the Kashmiri pundits.

When Kak was asked about this, he said that he wanted to talk about Kashmir beyond the three issues of Pakistan/India, Islamic militancy and the exodus of the pundits. To the extent that he limits himself to the narratives of those who remain, it is an eloquent narrative. But the film raises the inevitable question about the power that the majority necessarily arrogates to itself.

Everywhere in the film, is the question of majority: the large number of insurgents in the '80s against the larger might of the Indian army; the majority Muslim population versus the minority Hindu population that left; the 700-800 odd (invisible) insurgents against the overpowering presence of the Army now.

But it would be a mistake to range yourself on any one side of these binaries because how you experience majority depends on where you are. This becomes obvious when you consider that historically Kashmir was ruled for centuries by a Hindu minority. And when you consider the presence in the valley in the last few years, of the tourists.

Some of the most shocking images in the films are of the tourists, as they pose with vile plastic flowers, in a Republic Day imitation of an 'ethnic costume'. Kashmiri photographers dress these tourists up and photograph them, take them on sled rides in the snow and listen as the men rave about this 'paradise on earth' that 'these stupid people have ruined'. With every shot - as a person belonging to the majority, smug India, where you have never had to question the term 'Indian' or 'freedom' - you cringe as you watch.

And then, near the end of the film, tourists pose with flowers until some army men arrive. Then, taking advantage of their presence, some young ladies start to pose with guns. One girl wears a camouflage scarf over her head and brandishes a gun. This is a shocking image, more deeply shocking, even, than the men on the sled who throw their hands out in ownership of the valley. This is shocking because this indicates not only a sense of entitlement that the average Indian feels, but the ease with which s/he feels an opposite perspective can be contained or silenced with a legitimised military presence. Insurgency born out of a call for freedom by the Kashmiri is unacceptable, but an Army presence enforcing India's right to Kashmir is.

In these circumstances, the idea of majority needs to be redefined not by the parameters of location, but by entitlement. Tourists see what they want to see and the Kashmiris aid them in their distorted vision for either reasons of economic necessity or because generating a pleasant fiction is safer or makes them less visible. But such an experience of ownership is suspect and deeply discomforting.

The other disturbing issue is of the Army on its PR campaigns: when they distribute radios to villagers, who accept them and the snacks provided afterwards in silence and with their heads down; or the children in an orphange who sing 'Sare Jahaan Se Achcha' while officers smile and pat them on their heads.

Kak highlights the irony of these events by having on the soundtrack the song from the film, Leader, playing over images of flag hoistings and trucks moving in city squares and mountainous road: 'Apni azadi ko hum hargiz mita sakte nahin. Sar kata sakte hain lekin sar jhuka sakte nahin' Whose voice are we hearing? India's? The people of Kashmir? When we ask for peace, why do we remember bloodthirsty songs that celebrate martyrdom?

The use of this song would be heavy-handed irony were it not that it forces these questions on us. We have to ask, as 60 years of India's Independence approaches, how people experience freedom. Who speaks and on whose behalf? What is the cost of that Independence won 60 years ago and who will pay and for how long?

PS: This was the screening I couldn't talk about until after it was over for security reasons. Talima Nasreen had been attacked just the day before and the police would have been glad of any excuse to stop the screening of any film they were told was controversial. This was why I did not announce it on the blog, the reason why it was an invitation only event, and why only about 20 people saw the film.

The irony is not lost on me. We ought to have publicised it widely and used the opportunity to bring up the issue of freedom of expression and censorship. Sometimes the censorship we practise on ourselves is more pernicious because of its self-serving logic (I'd rather that 20 people saw it than that 50 came and couldn't.) Mea culpa.

6 comments:

km said...

Of course, people like me living outside India will probably never get to see the film.

Indian docu-makers need to make friends with the Web. It's not hard to let a film flow away in a torrential downpour, you know? ;)

Space Bar said...

KM: Ya, well...younever know. Many docu filmmakers travel with their films. You just might get a chance to see it. And you do know that Rakesha Sharma's Final Solution is available on Google Video, don't you?

Rashneek said...

VIVEK HAS NEVER been to Kashmir; he knows Kashmir as any other Indian would – through the biased NDTV programmes or newspapers, neither of which present the true picture. Yet somehow what he asked me surprised me. At the end of the documentary, viz., Jashn-e-Azadi, he inquired of me why the movie did not have even a byte on Mirwaiz (in Vivek’s opinion Mirwaiz is the tallest amongst Kashmiri separatists). I had taken Vivek with me because I thought he would relieve me of the boredom of sitting through a rather long monologue-cum- endorsement session lasting over two hours on Shahadat and Azadi. I half knew the answer, for, I was watching it for the second time. When I watched it the first time, I missed the initial 20-odd minutes because I was not allowed into the auditorium lest I should spoil the celebration of freedom (Jashn-e-Azadi). Wonder what censorship this was? I had to produce an e-mail invitation from the respected director to get into the hall, for, authorities were strict on anyone who chose not to obey them. Anyway, that was behind me now but the spirit of celebration should continue, should it not?



I left without answering Vivek. I was far too buried in thoughts of Jashn. I took the road back to my house, not my home that had already been burnt down. Oh! Way back in 1990, the Jashn of Azadi was celebrated by torching my home in Bagat-i-Kanipora, in the night, when we were all supposed to be celebrating Janamashtami in the cool climes of our homes. The morning newspapers brought news of this ‘celebration’ to the refugee camp, which has been my home ever since. I am sure a lot of people would say Mr Jagmohan asked the Pandits to leave; even assuming that to be true for the sake of argument, did it give the licence to ‘Sanjay Kak’s protagonists’ to burn down my house and desecrate my religious centres? Was that the way to celebrate freedom? Maybe the director believed it was. That’s why although he sat sombre on the banks of Rembyaar in Shopian (while shooting for the movie), seeing the pathetic condition of a 5th Century shrine (of Kapalmochana which is now a broken Shivling, a desecrated spring and razed Dharamshala) he did not deem it fit to be included as part of the movie.



A woman, whose goat was consumed by the fire that engulfed her house and cowshed, was shown grieving for her goat. I wondered what would have happened to Mather and Chander, my two cows. Did the spirit of ‘celebration’ (Jashn-e-Azadi) consume them too? Wonder, whether the cows were Hindu or Muslim but my father bought them from one Mohd Yusuf in my village.



My wandering thoughts, much like the beard of my dear friend Masood, often give me sleepless nights in exile. This was destined to be one such night. I was instantaneously reminded of the curse of ‘Lakshmi’ on us; it is mentioned in the Kashmiris “Nilamata Purana 294-96.” According to the Purana, the angry Visoka cursed Kas’mira, "O wicked one, as I have been absorbed by you today by means of falsehood and you have informed Sati about my activities, so your people will be mostly liars, possessed of impurities, hired servants and dishonoured in the worlds.”



What else could account for the numerous graveyards, where a thousand flowers could have easily bloomed? What else explains Kashmiris being slaves for the last 800 years? Sanjay Kak does mention our slavery of 800 years in his movie; what he however does not mention is who the masters were. Who enslaved us? He would not say. Half-truths, as they say, can be more dangerous than complete lies. Pyare Hatash’s verses lead even an ordinary non-Kashmiri to believe that he is also a protagonist of the Azadi. The translation of the couplet from Rajatarangni is faulty and again misinterpreted. Calling Kalhana the chronicler of Hindu Kings is a mischief played in a subtle manner Therein lies the game of the moviemaker—his adeptness at appropriating the content.



The magnum opus (sorry for my description, but I am yet to see a longer documentary; probably verbosity is a virtue associated with Kak) has its own figures for the dead and the exiled. The documentary says 200 Kashmiri Pandits were killed and 1,60,000 exiled. When these numbers were shown on the screen, the first image that flashed before my eyes was that of Brijlal (my father’s best friend) and Choti. Brijlal (a driver in the Department of Agriculture) and his wife Choti were tied to a jeep in their native village and then dragged till dead. When we received their bodies they had been chopped into small pieces reminding one of the meat one buys from a butcher. Blood still was fresh in some of their veins, even as it had reddened the bag in which we received the body or whatever was left of the bodies. What a way to celebrate Azadi? Kudos to the ‘Robin Hoods’ who did this, kudos to the director for endorsing their way of celebration. I never knew sickness and creativity could be part of such mental frames. Beware… a lot of modern day Neros are around the corner.



When I asked Sanjay Kak the source of these figures, he said he had obtained these from some Joint Secretary in MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), New Delhi. I did not doubt the respected director’s statement. When I asked him to reveal the source that put the figures of those killed since 1990 at 1,00,000 he strangely had no GoI (Government of India) statistics to support his figures. Who believes GoI anyway? I have received a reply to my petition under the RTI (Right To Information) which said that only 16,455 civilians had been killed in Kashmir since 1990. Now who would believe that figure? Had GoI been scared, as Kak would have us believe selectively, we wouldn’t have had the movie in the first place.



The lead character is Yasin Malik around whom the movie revolves (a saviour, a Gandhian, an ex-terrorist in a new attire, all rolled into one), giving us sermons, telling us how he treads the path of non-violence. There are flashes of Azam Inquilabi and Syed Ali Shah Geelani (as patriarchs) but it conveniently skirts other separatist leaders, leading anyone to speculate whether the self-styled Che Guvera’s of today (based in Delhi) are keen to project Yasin Malik alone as a leader of the masses or is there more to it. His presence at the first screening raised a lot of eyebrows and the discussions revolved more around Yasin Malik than the movie itself, with a heckling audience putting him in a fix over his past but then as they say ”every saint has a past, every thief a future”. The lead character says India wants to impose Brahmanical imperialism in Kashmir. Does our lead character even know the meaning of the term “Brahman” or was that a borrowed metaphor from Arundhati Roy, which he did not understand but knew how to use?



At one point, the documentary says, “Kashmir is the most militarized region in the valley.” Maybe it is. I remember, back in our village, as a kid, I literally walked around a policeman – I wanted to know how a policeman looked! For all of us he was an alien who had somehow fallen off his spaceship and landed at our village. What then explains the presence of army and para-military forces in the same village when until 1989 the villagers had not even spotted a policeman properly? The movie does not mention why the army had to be placed there after 1989. Is not it imperative for a filmmaker to show a complete picture and not half-truths?



While I was almost sobbing when I looked at the images of graveyards, I was reminded of Abdul Sattar Ranjoor who was not allowed to be buried in the village graveyard by Sanjay Kak’s ‘Robin Hoods’. The documentary once again fails to present a balanced view and seems more like a mouthpiece or propaganda machinery at work. It simply fails to take into account any view divergent from the agenda that the director (or whoever influences him) had set for himself. How else does one explain the absence of any other point of view in the documentary? Who can argue against the fact that a large section of the masses wants Azadi, but it would be equally foolish to believe that no other point of view exists. Again half-truths come to fore with consummate ease.



Sanjay Kak wrote to me that it was not a movie on Pandits. We can understand that, knowing well what and who it is all about. Would not it have been better if Pandits had been ignored in the movie than show a falsified and biased version of Pandits’ pain and sufferings through a minute-and- a-half screen appearance of their abandoned houses? It seemed like a deliberate attempt to rub salt into the Pandits’ wounds. What also comes to fore is the lack of knowledge about the issue on which the director has made the movie. His self-hatred is clearly visible in the movie; he believes that Pandits had been unfair to Muslims during the Dogra rule. Maybe it is not entirely incorrect, but when I confronted him on his knowledge of medieval Kashmir (when Hindus were persecuted), the same was found wanting. I cannot imagine writing a column without delving deep into the subject, but then Sanjay Kak is a different person; he can make a movie on Kashmir without even reading the basic texts. A good documentary does not take sides; it simply documents and presents facts as they are. Here the director is never seen to be either endorsing or negating what he shows. When Sanjay Kak explains the meaning and essence of the term Shahadat, the swell of adrenalin is clearly audible in his voice. To prove his point he has even borrowed footages which make it look exactly like the sexed up Power Point presentation that USA made to UN as their basic premise for attacking Iraq.



History is replete with neo-converts going the extra mile to prove which side of the bread is buttered, but I believe the director wants to walk all through the Safar-e-Azadi (similar sounding names….wonder who directs whom) to prove his loyalty to the only leader of Kashmir, Yasin Malik.

Pawan said...

VIVEK HAS NEVER been to Kashmir; he knows Kashmir as any other Indian would – through the biased NDTV programmes or newspapers, neither of which present the true picture. Yet somehow what he asked me surprised me. At the end of the documentary, viz., Jashn-e-Azadi, he inquired of me why the movie did not have even a byte on Mirwaiz (in Vivek’s opinion Mirwaiz is the tallest amongst Kashmiri separatists). I had taken Vivek with me because I thought he would relieve me of the boredom of sitting through a rather long monologue-cum- endorsement session lasting over two hours on Shahadat and Azadi. I half knew the answer, for, I was watching it for the second time. When I watched it the first time, I missed the initial 20-odd minutes because I was not allowed into the auditorium lest I should spoil the celebration of freedom (Jashn-e-Azadi). Wonder what censorship this was? I had to produce an e-mail invitation from the respected director to get into the hall, for, authorities were strict on anyone who chose not to obey them. Anyway, that was behind me now but the spirit of celebration should continue, should it not?



I left without answering Vivek. I was far too buried in thoughts of Jashn. I took the road back to my house, not my home that had already been burnt down. Oh! Way back in 1990, the Jashn of Azadi was celebrated by torching my home in Bagat-i-Kanipora, in the night, when we were all supposed to be celebrating Janamashtami in the cool climes of our homes. The morning newspapers brought news of this ‘celebration’ to the refugee camp, which has been my home ever since. I am sure a lot of people would say Mr Jagmohan asked the Pandits to leave; even assuming that to be true for the sake of argument, did it give the licence to ‘Sanjay Kak’s protagonists’ to burn down my house and desecrate my religious centres? Was that the way to celebrate freedom? Maybe the director believed it was. That’s why although he sat sombre on the banks of Rembyaar in Shopian (while shooting for the movie), seeing the pathetic condition of a 5th Century shrine (of Kapalmochana which is now a broken Shivling, a desecrated spring and razed Dharamshala) he did not deem it fit to be included as part of the movie.



A woman, whose goat was consumed by the fire that engulfed her house and cowshed, was shown grieving for her goat. I wondered what would have happened to Mather and Chander, my two cows. Did the spirit of ‘celebration’ (Jashn-e-Azadi) consume them too? Wonder, whether the cows were Hindu or Muslim but my father bought them from one Mohd Yusuf in my village.



My wandering thoughts, much like the beard of my dear friend Masood, often give me sleepless nights in exile. This was destined to be one such night. I was instantaneously reminded of the curse of ‘Lakshmi’ on us; it is mentioned in the Kashmiris “Nilamata Purana 294-96.” According to the Purana, the angry Visoka cursed Kas’mira, "O wicked one, as I have been absorbed by you today by means of falsehood and you have informed Sati about my activities, so your people will be mostly liars, possessed of impurities, hired servants and dishonoured in the worlds.”



What else could account for the numerous graveyards, where a thousand flowers could have easily bloomed? What else explains Kashmiris being slaves for the last 800 years? Sanjay Kak does mention our slavery of 800 years in his movie; what he however does not mention is who the masters were. Who enslaved us? He would not say. Half-truths, as they say, can be more dangerous than complete lies. Pyare Hatash’s verses lead even an ordinary non-Kashmiri to believe that he is also a protagonist of the Azadi. The translation of the couplet from Rajatarangni is faulty and again misinterpreted. Calling Kalhana the chronicler of Hindu Kings is a mischief played in a subtle manner Therein lies the game of the moviemaker—his adeptness at appropriating the content.



The magnum opus (sorry for my description, but I am yet to see a longer documentary; probably verbosity is a virtue associated with Kak) has its own figures for the dead and the exiled. The documentary says 200 Kashmiri Pandits were killed and 1,60,000 exiled. When these numbers were shown on the screen, the first image that flashed before my eyes was that of Brijlal (my father’s best friend) and Choti. Brijlal (a driver in the Department of Agriculture) and his wife Choti were tied to a jeep in their native village and then dragged till dead. When we received their bodies they had been chopped into small pieces reminding one of the meat one buys from a butcher. Blood still was fresh in some of their veins, even as it had reddened the bag in which we received the body or whatever was left of the bodies. What a way to celebrate Azadi? Kudos to the ‘Robin Hoods’ who did this, kudos to the director for endorsing their way of celebration. I never knew sickness and creativity could be part of such mental frames. Beware… a lot of modern day Neros are around the corner.



When I asked Sanjay Kak the source of these figures, he said he had obtained these from some Joint Secretary in MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), New Delhi. I did not doubt the respected director’s statement. When I asked him to reveal the source that put the figures of those killed since 1990 at 1,00,000 he strangely had no GoI (Government of India) statistics to support his figures. Who believes GoI anyway? I have received a reply to my petition under the RTI (Right To Information) which said that only 16,455 civilians had been killed in Kashmir since 1990. Now who would believe that figure? Had GoI been scared, as Kak would have us believe selectively, we wouldn’t have had the movie in the first place.



The lead character is Yasin Malik around whom the movie revolves (a saviour, a Gandhian, an ex-terrorist in a new attire, all rolled into one), giving us sermons, telling us how he treads the path of non-violence. There are flashes of Azam Inquilabi and Syed Ali Shah Geelani (as patriarchs) but it conveniently skirts other separatist leaders, leading anyone to speculate whether the self-styled Che Guvera’s of today (based in Delhi) are keen to project Yasin Malik alone as a leader of the masses or is there more to it. His presence at the first screening raised a lot of eyebrows and the discussions revolved more around Yasin Malik than the movie itself, with a heckling audience putting him in a fix over his past but then as they say ”every saint has a past, every thief a future”. The lead character says India wants to impose Brahmanical imperialism in Kashmir. Does our lead character even know the meaning of the term “Brahman” or was that a borrowed metaphor from Arundhati Roy, which he did not understand but knew how to use?



At one point, the documentary says, “Kashmir is the most militarized region in the valley.” Maybe it is. I remember, back in our village, as a kid, I literally walked around a policeman – I wanted to know how a policeman looked! For all of us he was an alien who had somehow fallen off his spaceship and landed at our village. What then explains the presence of army and para-military forces in the same village when until 1989 the villagers had not even spotted a policeman properly? The movie does not mention why the army had to be placed there after 1989. Is not it imperative for a filmmaker to show a complete picture and not half-truths?



While I was almost sobbing when I looked at the images of graveyards, I was reminded of Abdul Sattar Ranjoor who was not allowed to be buried in the village graveyard by Sanjay Kak’s ‘Robin Hoods’. The documentary once again fails to present a balanced view and seems more like a mouthpiece or propaganda machinery at work. It simply fails to take into account any view divergent from the agenda that the director (or whoever influences him) had set for himself. How else does one explain the absence of any other point of view in the documentary? Who can argue against the fact that a large section of the masses wants Azadi, but it would be equally foolish to believe that no other point of view exists. Again half-truths come to fore with consummate ease.



Sanjay Kak wrote to me that it was not a movie on Pandits. We can understand that, knowing well what and who it is all about. Would not it have been better if Pandits had been ignored in the movie than show a falsified and biased version of Pandits’ pain and sufferings through a minute-and- a-half screen appearance of their abandoned houses? It seemed like a deliberate attempt to rub salt into the Pandits’ wounds. What also comes to fore is the lack of knowledge about the issue on which the director has made the movie. His self-hatred is clearly visible in the movie; he believes that Pandits had been unfair to Muslims during the Dogra rule. Maybe it is not entirely incorrect, but when I confronted him on his knowledge of medieval Kashmir (when Hindus were persecuted), the same was found wanting. I cannot imagine writing a column without delving deep into the subject, but then Sanjay Kak is a different person; he can make a movie on Kashmir without even reading the basic texts. A good documentary does not take sides; it simply documents and presents facts as they are. Here the director is never seen to be either endorsing or negating what he shows. When Sanjay Kak explains the meaning and essence of the term Shahadat, the swell of adrenalin is clearly audible in his voice. To prove his point he has even borrowed footages which make it look exactly like the sexed up Power Point presentation that USA made to UN as their basic premise for attacking Iraq.



History is replete with neo-converts going the extra mile to prove which side of the bread is buttered, but I believe the director wants to walk all through the Safar-e-Azadi (similar sounding names….wonder who directs whom) to prove his loyalty to the only leader of Kashmir, Yasin Malik.

Space Bar said...

Rashneeka nd PAwan: IS there a reason why both of you have made the same, immensely long comment?

Also, just to let you know that I've seen precisely this post-length comment on other blogs that discuss the film. Do you have anything at all to say about my specific post, or are you content to spam all blogs that mention the film?

Anonymous said...

My first comment on this blog. Am an occasional reader.

Re. Kashmir in general...

I hope at some point in the future that we will be OK with a solution that has perhaps, some limited sovereignty for Kashmir with a Kashmiri Pandit enclave within itself with special defined rights for KPs, that can hopefully be dissolved away slowly as Kashmiriyat recovers its secular identity.

In the long run, it would then be great if the edge on being separate and Kashmiri also dissipated over time. But its upto them.

Having said that...

Havent seen this documentary but even from the description, there appears to be some lack of balance.

Sweeping generalizations of Indian tourists occupying Kashmir with his arms spread out, girls posing with guns legitimizing Army occupation.

Please ask yourselves:
If that Indian tourist had his arms always folded up, do you find perhaps a representation of
aloofness / detachment / superiority complex?

Does one see in something what one wants to see?


Rashneek / Pawan,

1. I thank you for the immensely long reply to the immensely long post, that provides some valid counter-points.

I would have expected SB to celebrate the divergence of opinion considering that seems to be exactly what s/he is asking for from us.

But SB has a legitimate grouse with the repeat and spamming tactics. Your comment was useful to me only since it was the first time I read it anywhere.

2. KPs do not gain anything from disrupting the screening of this movie.

Other than that being a problem in itself, it gets projected as an attempt to monopolize the Kashmir discourse (everything thru the KP prism).

Considering how sidelined and ignored the KPs are, they probably dont need that.

regards,
Jai