I have grown up reading Holocaust literature, eventually teaching ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ to my batches year after year. It instilled a lot of perspective in me from a very early age, keeping a stoic attitude towards life’s hammer blows being a good way to survive, and believe me, living in a Muslim culture, under Sharia laws with all the regressiveness that comes in a Muslim household, I got a fair share of them. Out of all the Holocaust literature that I read, I remembered one survivor’s wisdom that I have adopted as my life’s mantra — If you have to eat only potatoes for days then it is a mere inconvenience, but if you have no food to eat for weeks, now that is a problem.
Teaching my only child the difference between inconveniences and problems, I searched my mind on how to get him to watch The Kashmir Files with me. Both of us hailing from Kashmir have our own “Argo” story of how our buddy pushed us out of harm’s way while succumbing to the demons of the Valley that have infested it since the invasion and conquest of Hind. The legend of Rishi Kashyap destroying the demon who was troubling the original Naga inhabitants of the Valley, some stories say the rishis meditating near the banks of the lake which covered the region is something we are hoping to turn into a graphic novel for children explaining Kashmir’s aquatic origins, someday. But watching something that reminds us why we are internally displaced requires a lot of mental toughness.
Because the demons have progressed from mythic origins to Islamist ones who took on red hues since the 1980s when Wahabbi/Salafi Islam started getting exported globally through petrodollars. Even before this, the myth of Kashmiriyat was propped up by the Sheikh and his cronies and the general population covering up the anti-Pandit sentiments that run through history, be it Sultan Sikander’s (Butshikan) open idol-smashing or the subtle hatred during India-Pakistan matches.
Psychologically, the existence of a demon inhabiting a body is the religious explanation for mental anguish, trauma, split, etc. Hatred for the ‘buot’ worshippers or infidels or kaafirs is an inbuilt philosophy in Islamic theology. The entire corpus of Hadith, commentaries on the Quran and various scholarship since the Muslim world started organising literature from the Ummayad time has been underlining this hatred/’othering’. Wahabbi preachers choose to selectively preach from those particular passages only — shattering the Kashmiriyat myth.
A subcontinent still contending with the demons of the Two-Nation Theory which split the country into East and West Pakistan had these demons of hatred, left wokeism, appeasement to battle too after 1947. Add to that the abroad based confused desis (ABCDs) operating the anti-India network working on the lines of Ghazwa-e-Hind or bleeding India with a thousand cuts and you have a whole planted narrative of how India is occupying Kashmir — a princely kingdom that acceded to India in 1947 with tacit support from the majority Muslim population along with their leader the ‘Lion of Kashmir’ despite Pakistan’s initiative of attacking the Valley and an eventual all out war between the two — one a newly independent nation, the other a constructed one to keep the Indic Civilisation in check, quite successfully I must say, by the British.
So even now when there are people alive who saw the whole “unfinished business of Partition” unfold in front of their eyes, were witness to the Kashmiri Pandit ethnic-cleansing from the Valley, give testimonies to the killings, selective assassinations, kidnappings, assaults, mayhem that a population, brought up on the “occupied narrative”, was complicit to, the Intifada factory has been activated to spread disinformation about attempts to chronicle this shameful event. We Kashmiri Muslims too were victims of those who wanted ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa’ in the Valley in 1989.
Even before the movie The Kashmir Files is released there is disinformation warfare against it and a PIL has been filed (Courts dismissed it) against it. The demons are well-established in the Leftist networks/echo-system and they are constantly working against the country. A few Rishi Kashyaps have been brave enough to dismantle this echo-system but more needs to be done. Impressionable minds who are enamoured by the lifestyle of Liberals, Leftists get recruited into the ideology which is constantly batting for Islamists and demonising pro-India voices, so that these youngsters become anarchists fighting the State. Vivek Agnihotri’s previous movie Buddha in a Traffic Jam displayed this process through the visual medium. He took the insights further into his book Urban Naxals. Now he has made a movie portraying the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits and what they had to go through in their forced exodus from the Valley they had inhabited for centuries. A few special screening videos showed how the KPs welcomed the movie which portrays their pain — a pain they have had to endure quadruple times as the Valley’s Intifada factory set up the “Jagmohan canard” every time they tried to tell about their internal displacement in their own country.
It also cost us pro-India voices who countered this canard, our lives, our jobs, mental & physical health having had to face ostracism, smear campaigns, denial of our right to livelihood, eventual displacement to other cities of India, uprooted because we would not bow down to Islamo-fascism. But as the Holocaust survivor’s wisdom taught me — internally displaced for speaking the truth and giving testimony is an inconvenience we are willing to undergo. Having to see the anti-India cabal thrive, prosper with jetsetting lifestyles and kids placed abroad with the help of the Dulat Doctrine was/is the problem. The demons of the Valley were rewarded for trying to secede from the Indic Civilisation while those who kept assimilating and upholding the Indic culture were driven out through terror and coercion.
As I muster courage to see onscreen what I know happened in front of me, I am waiting for other voices from the Valley, the conscience-keepers, pushing against the mafia of ‘gun-culture’ brought in by the Pak-sponsored jihadis, once more trying their best to dispel the hatred for the Other and stitch the social fabric that was ripped from 1989 onwards.
(Arshia Malik is a Delhi-based writer, blogger and social commentator.)