Why does Kashmir seem so far away?

Violence on the streets in Kashmir

Violence on the streets in Kashmir

A friend of mine made an interesting observation on Facebook the other day.

“Parliament suspended after two UP farmers were shot by police, 58 and counting in Kashmir,” she said.

My first thought was – “That is true, but practically everything matters more than Kashmir.”

To me (and I suspect to a lot of other people as well) Kashmir is just something I watch on the news channel for 15 minutes before moving on to watch Indian Idol. I guess you could call it viewer fatigue.

Oh don’t get all angry at my lack of sentiment.

I know I should care about Kashmir…and Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chinese oppression, global warming, animal extinction, Greenpeace, Maoists and even the whales that Japan insists on butchering.

But right now what I really care about is dinner. It has an immediate connection (I am hungry), I am familiar with it (I eat a lot) and I know exactly how to solve the issue (the Dominos downstairs beckons me). That is everything Kashmir is not.

It’s too far away for any connection ( I am in Chennai), I am totally unfamiliar with it thanks to decades of censorship (Free press? Don’t make me laugh!) and when it seems Kashmiris themselves have no idea how to solve their issues,  what do they really expect me to do about it?

And most importantly – the only Kashmiri I ever met never spoke about Kashmir, is currently back in Kashmir and still not very talkative or in touch.

They say all that the young of Kashmir have ever seen is oppression and terror.

Well, all I have ever known is – Kashmiris are treasonous separatists, Pakistani puppets and always out on the roads throwing stones like barbarians.

Of course this is not the truth. Words like military rule, POTA, judicial murder, rape, theft, human indignity and others fight for space in my mind. But first impressions are everything.

What I should be reading are Kashmiri pamphlets handed out by my local chapter of “Free Kashmir,” frankly informing me about
the latest atrocities this nation has committed.

I should be listening to soulful ‘freedom’ songs composed by angst-ridden Kashmiris. 

I should be watching a Kashmiri movie about their plight. A movie made by Kashmiris,  not a bad Bollywood version.

I should leave the theatre so moved that my wallet loosens and I make a donation into “Free Kashmir Fund” box, helpfully placed outside the theatre along with “I support Kashmir” buttons and stickers. Kashmir needs a better, bigger campaign – one that doesn’t dishonour her name.

Ninety-five per cent of India is too far away from the valley and 90 per cent  of our people don’t care because they don’t know.

There is a difference between political movements and anarchy – a small difference.

After all, if you can get enough people to care, you change the world.

Vinayak Hegde

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24 responses to “Why does Kashmir seem so far away?

  1. An astonishing amount of truth about Kashmir can be found by reading from the right sources.Tavleen Singh,Gautam Navlakha,A.G.Noorani,Arundhati Roy,Khushwant Singh.Independence to Kashmir was the only solution according to Rajagopalachari,Sri Prakasa,Nani Palkhivala and a few pther old timers.Visitors to Kashmir have noticed that Kashmiris keep Pakistani time in their watches,use Pak currency,celebrate 14th August,listen to Pak radio.The last mentioned practice made Babu Rao Patel fume and declared that Kashmiris are Pakistanis.Present studies show Kashmiris want azadi,not merger with Pakistan.
    I am from Chennai too.

  2. These cut pieces will never try to improve.

  3. A wonderful article filled with truth.

  4. I pay my contribution to Indian Govt., (approx.35% of earnings as IT) and I support what the Government does. I feel they are a tad too lax with people of Kashmir, too generous. Living conditions in India are not too different from what they are in Kashmir and precisely this is not the reason enough for their complaining . What we lack is the resolve China has over Tibet, free the land aquisition rules and encourage the people migrate to the valley, see what this does to the Kashmir in ten years , you do not need an troops after this to keep the valley calm.Like the Naga leader said famously, we know whom to choose between China and India, and we are happy to be in India.

  5. A very ‘touchy’ piece on Kashmir. And I’m sure it’s the sentiments of many Indians who ‘think’ a lot about Kashmir but do nothing. And as you put it across, I do agree we can’t do much about the issue. But we can indirectly make a choice. A choice on who gets to take care of our country. A choice on who gets to make vital decisions that affect us directly or indirectly. A choice to elect those who represents our decisions. A choice to choose the leaders. The right ones who would take up the issues of Kashmir, maoists, corruption, hunger, poverty, over the issues of Pakistan, international politics, international conventions, etc.
    If only the youth of our country would give just about 10 minutes of their precious time and go vote during the elections, we would be able to peacefully sit and savour that Domino’s pizza. Peacefully, as we would have directly made a difference to our brethren across miles.

  6. Tell me what exactly do you want to see in Kashmir. On one hand you have Pakistan blatantly trying to take over Kashmir under the pretense of Freedom Struggle. On the other hand you have to think about the ramifications of this “Freedom”. Take it for granted that more Indian states would ask for the same.. Punjab for example. Where does this stop? In what way is the rest of the country any better off than Kashmir?? The Muslims are delusional if they think they are victims of some conspiracy by the Hindus. Take away all these special status nonsense, have one set of laws for all states and citizens and things will fall into place. Spend more time trying to curry favors to minorities and all you do is encourage their Victim Mentality.

  7. The problem is political will of the leaders. If leaders want to resolve the issue they can but then their coffers will not be filled. The greed of the politicians is the root cause of problems-be it floods, agitations by farmers,bad infrastructure, CWG.Leaders of the country do not the courage to tale action since their dubious policies and mal practices’ approach frowns the world community and India get bad name. I suggest all to look for methods where transparency is practiced and nepotism is extradited. Since politics is the last resort of scoundrel, we can’ t expect honest dealings from scoundrels.

  8. People are constantly trying to fix the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. The Disease in my view has two components. The first component is our system of mindlessly putting the wrong people into power, which if not fixed, there can be no change. Our politicians have destroyed this country for a few bucks and a few votes. Its disgusting!! Our politicians have been playing with fire by encouraging victim mentality in people. Rest assured that feeding that mentality is like feeding a bottomless pit. No matter how much you give, it is never enough!!! This won’t end with Kashmir.

  9. You are advocating the separatism of Kashmir from India. Really now? You feel no connection? Well news flash, its your job to make a connection. I have Kashmiri friends, and no, not everyone wants to get away from the country. There’s a difference between propaganda and the true feelings of the people. Maybe you should research more, before you publish rubbish again. Good luck in writing articles better in the future.

  10. Kashmiri youths are spoiled and misguided lot as it seems. Do they have guts to throw stones on seperatist leaders or any Pakistani militants. They can throw stones on Indian Military or CRPF because they care not to hurt the innocents but few died with rubber bulets and started pelting stones again. they fail to understand their demand for azaadi isnt going to help anyway. They are just playing into the hands of pakistani puppets.

  11. Problem is not with Kashmir, per se. India and Indians have a problem with Pakistan. Is “Kashmir” the only bone of contention between Pakistan and India ? Admitted that Kashmir Valley is scenically beautiful, also climate wise a relief for many who throng there to avoid the Hot Summer Days. But we can live without Visiting Kashmir; without indulging in the various Fruits which comes from there. So why not cut up the Valley and Gift it to Pakistan? Forget about so called places of worship dear to Hindus which would be part of the parcel of land given away. When sense will prevail down the Years, then Hindus can have access to those places of religion.
    And – what happens when Insurgents still penetrate our Borders to create havoc in our Streets and continue to butcher Civilians & other Soft Targets ? Then , my dear fellow Indians , we have every right to NUKE our
    Western Neighbours – in Self Defense. This is the Only Language which our adverseries talk and we need to talk back in the same language, but with extra force and with a sense of Pride.

  12. I often wonder what motivates TOI, NDTV, IBN and other self labled secular parties, hungry for mozlim votes, to not discuss the Kashmir in lights of reality. Why are we suppose to think about Kashmir from 1947 onwards? Akbar the mozlim, appointed dogras as kashmiri ruler! Why is genocide of pundits not discussed by secular Indian media? We are tired of hearing made up human rights violation from pakistan in kashmir, as if they are champions of human rights. Why does Omar and Rahul Maino Gandhi not discuss about MP, police station, court etc that do not exist in gilgit/Baltistan, Azad kashmir and other pakistani occupied territories? We heard inept Nehru making argument to give up land in Himachal to Chinese since nothing grows there. TOI censors the J&K comments from everybody and so does IBN and NDTV from people like me, and they call us people of extreme views, why? Let’s say this Amman crap and filling the TV air waves makes pakistan and India one India, but then entire India would burn with several mozlims from south, Bengali Amir Chands and Delhi Moghuls all claiming their rule, freedom struggle, human rights. Secular psycophants are not allowign a healthy debate to have a difference of opinion be expressed, only allah knows why beyond their vote bank needs. It appears that BJP, congress have submitted to nuclear blackmail by pakistanis in late 90s and first decade of 21st century, instead of thinking smart. If maino gandhis cannot do anything about kashmir in two back to back terms, it is disgrace to their leadership to their party and to Indian nationhood. It does not take ten years to end pakistani occupation from Kashmir, and those who say it does, lack will and determination to do anything about it, as it is amply evident from actions of Vajpayee and mandmohan administrations.

  13. Kashmir is revange by Pakistan because India created Bangladesh. Pakistan is spreading its cancer in India. Indian Government kept Indian Armies for long times in Kashmir and Indian armies did excellent job by protecting innocent Kashmiris from terrorists as well as Indian terroritories. Separatists and Pakistan knew that by accusing Indian militaries and removing them from Kashmir will be big gain for Pakistan and separatists, therefore, Pakistan and separatists brought human violations propaganda through United Nation and all the times raising issues in United Nation. Separatists and Pakistan forced Indian Government to remove militaries from Kashmir. I am sorry to say that our central and Kashmir politicians went according to separatists and Pakistan. Not only that Vajpayee Government had a good opportuinity to fight with Pakistan due to Kargil and attack at the Parliament . Vajpayee Government went to make peace with Pakistan. V. P. Singh went with Mehbooba and present government did not take action for 26/11. Now separatists and Pakistan got what they wanted. Pakistan is not going to do what India says. Pakistan is going to spread more cancer and going to do same thing to Afghanistan (just like Kashmir).

  14. Oh yeah? The main reason that Kashmir is in severe unrest is because its MAJORITY population left to be is MUSLIM now.. Everyone is talking about WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE MUSLIMS in Kashmir. They come to the UK and show their white friends how India is mistreating them.

    Well tell me this? What about the SEVERAL KASHMIRI HINDU PUNDITS who have been thrown away since years They have been constantly murdered since and before the partition. So much so the ones who wish to stay back many have converted to Islam. people from the outside world do not understand that the religion of Islam will not rest till they destroy every other religion they despise. The reason people are listening to them in Kashmir is because they always MARKET their troubles so well. What abou those several thousand HINDU PUNDITS who have been thrown into India, and have evern changed names and blended into Indian lifestyle?

    So now they want to go into Pakistan. If they do all the TRUE HINDU KASHMIRIS will NEVER get a chance to go back to their country. It was not India’s problem that HARI SINGH came to us save them from the wrath of the overtly aggressive , always unhappy Pakistani Muslim forces.

    We have given them leniency- Kashmiri Muslims ( since there is almost no other religion left out there) are free to come to any part of India to make a life and career. But anyone else is not allowed to do so from India.

    My family had to rush out of there during the partition as the Muslims were killing the Pundits who are a LOT MORE PACIFIST than Muslims. To gain better lives they left several years ago and the remainders continue to do so.

    Is THIS WHAT YOU CALL FAIR ???? How dare you ALWAYS PROJECT THE MUSLIMS AS VICTIMS IN KASHMIR… The ones that have borne silent ill treatment are actually the HINDU KASHMIRIS who are the original ancestors of this blessed land. !

  15. Dear sir,
    Good to see the article & the advice given by you. Assume for sometime that e Kashmir is given Azaadi then do you think Kashmir will left alone and they rule for themselves. These Kashmiris are in fantasy world. Do you think Pakistan or China will them alone? Think hard dear. Then what about Kashmiri Pundits. They are more suffering than anyone else. Will they be welcomed in Azad Kashmir. Did you ask this to the Kashmiris? I think you did not. And coming on pakistan part, once they get kashmir, will they leave india alone. No Dear not at all.

  16. After reading the article and the comments. I came to the conclusion that we as kashmiri are better off with India, only thing is we need autonomy within the framework of Indian constitution. Dont read me wrong, the youths who are pelting stones and are angry at India actually has seen life within the troubled period. I wont blame them. India needs really to reform the political activity in the state on sincere lines if it is really interested in holding kashmir as its part. People really dislike the Abdullah family. They earned the berth because of coalition with Congress, again i will say Congress is spoiling the whole scenario. I am not either a BJP admirer but to be honest let the locals be allowed to govern irrespective which party. PDP is another party which creates ruckus there by accumulating huge wealth. India has to make everyone accountable for the deeds. Kashmiris are naive people and can be carried away any side but only thing is how far, if anybody has read history written by Lawrence than Resident commissioner of British rule and Bamzai. They will see kashmiris have always been oppressed and there is always a cunningness with them. We have to be honest as kashmiri what we want. As i come across people from different walks. Nobody in real sense likes to get along with pakistan. They either want independence or autonomy within the framework of indian constitution. World has changed we cannot affiliate ourselves with pakistan because they are Moslem. Those are things of the past and moreso, the UN thing which Nehru took that time is obselete with the present day circumstances. UN is itself defunct. India needs to be strong if they really want to resolve this vexed issue otherwise it is just like a cancer where you keep on giving chemo and radiotheraphy but how long. There are so many vested interests which does not want to see India progressing and they love this terrorism thing going on there. Talk to the younger generation irrespective of party affiliation and take them into confidence. I am pretty optimistic the results will be brilliant. The whole kashmiri movement was started by four people called HUJI. It is not creation of Geelani (Geelani has also fought for assembly election)or anyone else and than pakistan put HM and other parties for confusion purpose so that no one is strong and tried to decimate the people who initially starts this whole movement.
    My sincere request to India is please be strong and come up with some solution, stop innocent killings and really focus on the ground reality and establish a good rapport.

  17. I am sure that life in Kashmir is nothing like it is described by the media. The only way to find out is to actually go there and see it for your self, but thats just for your personal satisfaction to understand the problems. To fix the actual problem you need people who really care. In my opinion, the government would actually profit from making kashmir a hole. the only reason pakistan wants kashmir is because its an amazing state to own. Just imagine the profit they can make out of tourism. So, looking only at economic reasons, if kashmir is bad property to own, It wouldn’t really be such a big issue during peace negotiations b/w India and Pakistan. So if you want to fix the problem with Kashmir.. just have people who care working for it. the problem is.. not enough people care about it for it to be a moot point during elections. all we care about is how much tax we are paying and picking the least corrupt chap out there.

  18. Has any one seen any banana republic where 85 crore majority hindus are running scared of about 10 crore minority msulims and christians and where the terror filled minoritites are making 85 crores hindus third class citizens and slaves using the crooked mafia rulers? If you have not seen, see our hindustan which is the greatest banan republica in history. Here in this banana republic of majority moronic hindus they have to seek permission from minoritites to pay homage and repsocets to their gods in temples,what a shame, rss,vhp and bjp cadres and shameless patriotic indians. During the moghul and english colonial period more than 3000 hindu temples have been demolished and looted their wealth of trillions and trillions of dollars by barbarian moghul rulers and crooked british and they used fake freedom fighters and double agents like mahatma gandhee and nerhu and the dirty trick of non-violence for the LOOTING which allowed the british to rule and LOOT trillions&to demolish their palces of worship and to build mosqus and chruches in place of temples without any fear of gtetting hurt or killed by THE MORONIC AND ENNUCH AND COWARD MAJORITY made ennuchs&morons forever by cunning british looters and their agents.SHAME, HINDUS,RSS, VHP,BJP CADRES& PATRIOTIC INDIANS.

  19. All world citizens Including ALL Hindus and ALL patriotic Indians MUST look at underlying causes of world terror DEEPLY AND FIND LASTING and not temporaray solutions. Islam and christianity are the world’s most hate-filled and terror promoting religions with the promise of heaven after death for killing or converting non-muslims and non-christians like hindus,sikhs,buddhists,etc. Muslims&christians need to learn to love others and not to hate or kill others and muslins NEED to know the real meaning of tolerance and love for others or kafirs belonging to non-muslim beliefs.. BUTOnly in our banana republic of super mornonic majority hindus of over 80 creores that terrorist muslim minority can trample and slowly eliminate the majority hindus.That will not work in any other country.The burning of Quran in USA is just the beginning of this wildfire. India and majority hinduss should have burnt all copies of the terror manual quran in 1947 itself when the jehadis bargained and fought hard to have their musliom jehadi ghost nation pakistan and eliminated by terror and violence more than 20 lakh minroity hindu,sikhs and buddhist kafirs to get heaven after death with virgins and wine as gifts as preached by terror manual Quran

  20. Bible too is a terror manua&preaches Heaven after death, for killing or converting infidels like hindus,sikhs,buddhists,jains,etc. Read indian&world history to see how both these terror reiligions islam&christianity has done GENOCIDE OF MILLIONs&MILLIONS OF INFIDELS& KAFIRS IN ALL CONTINENTS& HOME THESE TERRORIST RELIGIONS HAVE WIPED OUT FROM FACE OF EARTH HUNDREDS OF INDEIGENOUS CULTURES&CIVILIZATIONS.For peace to previal in the world both terror manual quran &Bible must be banned& practice of semtiic hate filled terror religions,Islam & christianity must be abnned too &ONLY all-loving tolerant eastern religions like hinduism,sikhism, buddhism,jainism and tribal hindu beliefs and even atheism MUST be allowed to be practiced all over the world.Hope ALL citizens of the world wake up, realise the true nature of terror facts islam&christianity& eliminate ALL terror cults from all nations FOREVER

  21. Ours a super bananrepublic and farical democracy ruled by a crooked vatican and anti-hindu mafia and alves. Even if all our citites are bombed by jeahdis the sleeping and moronic hindus and petriotic indians will not react or even wake up from their sleep or brain-washed state of mind which has made them ennuchs,morons&cowards forever.Pakistan, CHINA as well USA,UK and all western nations KNOW WELL that indians and HINDUS have been made mrorons without any self honour or guts to retaliate or even to defend their rights even against island neighbours, why to talk of usa or uk or europe and THAT DOUBLE AGENTS AND FAKE FREEDOM FIGHTERS MAHATMA GANDHEE and Nehru have done their DIRTY job to perfecvtion by making a billionhindus,morons and slaves FOREVER? Historians of future will judge mahatma gandhee and nehru as the greatest traitors and doube agents who destroyed the morale and pride of india and made a billion indians and hindus ennuchs and cowards without the power to stand up and fight.Of course all those who benefited from the double agents and the crooked nehru dynasty will throw stones at me , but DARK facts are dark facts and any amount of geobeelain publicity by indian print and electronic media will not remove the anger against british double agents and fake freedom fighters from the minds of the real patriots. Please analyze all events of india’s history of past 100 years and any one who has sense of logic and brain will appreciate that darkest chapter of our indian history was between 1880 till 1947 and from 1947 till 2010 &how we were reduced to a super banana republic by all these british double agents&by their dirty tricks.Shame, Hindus,RSS,VHP,BJP cadres and all patriotic indians that you have been fooled so badly and so deeply for so many decades by the british and westerners and their agents and by their goebbelian tricks.

  22. All Hindus, RSS,VHP,BJP cadres and ALL patriotic Indians MUST do a National Agitation NOW, for handing over rule of kashmir to indian army till the jehadis and religiousjehadi fanatic killers are finished off there. Yes Kashmir state it is a valley of death.More than 50000 hindus sikh and buddhist kafirs have been butechered by jehadi terror robots and more than 200000 hindus,sikhs and buddhists have been drive out by terror by the jehadi wolves to get heavn after death with virgins and wine as promiosed and preached by terror manual quran and fanatic mullahs and the hindus sukhs and vuddhists brother in rest of india and the hindus likes,rss,vhp,bjp and prttiotic hindus do NOT care for the kafirs of kashmir and do NOT even protest against the ghastly genocide and do NOT even file genocde charges against muslim and ciongress chief minsiters and home ministers and senior police officials of kashmir for the gahstly holocuast of hindus,sikhs and buddhists.Who said india is not a super banana republic!? inhabited by super moronic majority hindus?

  23. Muslims like christians MUST learn to love others and NOT to HATE or KILL others and muslins NEED to know the real meaning of tolerance and love for others or kafirs belonging to non-muslim beliefs. Glad to read all over the internet and world media that many non-muslim nations are plannign large scale burning od the terror manual quran to save themesleves from terror.Soon muslims will start burning another terror manual Bible too. BUTOnly in our banana republic of super mornonic majority hindus of over 80 creores that terrorist muslim minority can trample and slowly eliminate the majority hindus.That will not work in any other country.Majority hinduss should have burnt all copies of the terror manual quran in 1947 itself when the jehadis bargained and fought hard to have their musliom jehadi ghost nation pakistan and eliminated by terror and violence more than 20 lakh minroity hindu,sikhs and buddhist kafirs to get heaven after death with virgins and wine as gifts as preached by terror manual quran.Bible too is a terror manual and preached heaven for killing or converting infidels like hindus,sikhs,buddhists,jains,etc.For peace to previal in the world both terror manual quran and Bible must be banned and practice of semtiic hate filled terror religions,silam and christianity must be abnned too and only all-loving tolerant eastern religions like hinduism,sikhism, buddhism,jainism and tribal hindu beliefs and even atheism must be allowed to be practiced all over the world.Hope all citizens of the world wake up, realise the true nature of terror facts islam&christianity and eliminate all terror cults from all nations forever.

  24. Mr. Hegde, please for Gods sake do not post comments on the situation which you do not understand.You have rightly pointed out that it is very difficult for people sitting in their drawing rooms to understand the ground realities just by watching TV. I am a kashmiri & unfortunately HINDU who has seen these barbarian very closely.Govt. of India has pumped billions of rupees into kashmir as subsidy & these creatures have very well understood the psyche of Indians, you need money-hoist pakistani flag at LalChowk, you need jobs start pelting stones, you require other facilities cry azadi. Mr. Hegde I assure you that kashmiri people live the best lives, have best houses & even now enjoy better purchasing power than rest of us & these monger are the laziest people I have ever seen. I have a question to all of you: Is is not right for the Govt. to protect the lives of civilians, should govt. allow unruly mobs to attack & destroy property. And were where these human rights organisations when Hindus were killed in Kashmiri, their property burnt, women raped, temples destroyed & could you Mr. Hegde assure safe return of Hindus back to valley.So stop commenting.

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