Kashmir

An Age of Rage

Muddasir Ramzan

I noticed on Facebook that some of my friends in London had marked themselves safe. Baffled, I checked the news and read that there was an attack in London, a city that attracts me for its intellectual freedom. I contacted a few people I know there and found that even those who lived close to London Bridge didn’t know what was going on. I could sense their petrified state, maybe because of my experience of living in Kashmir, where we are used to gun-fights and other attacks. Later we discovered that the attackers were Muslim and I was not surprised.

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Of Nations and Freedom

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Muddasir Ramzan

Devotion to religion and country are perhaps two basic motivations that can persuade humans to do anything, for which some are even prepared to kill or die. These are universal ideologies, but in war zones they play a distinct role. The intensification in the killings in Kashmir, whether civilians, freedom fighters and local security persons is once again terrorising inhabitants, bringing back memories of the 1990’s.

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The State of Estrangement

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Muddasir Ramzan

The individuality or the identity of Kashmir – as the paradise on earth, the most militarised area, the alcove of saints, the flashpoint between India and Pakistan etc – is now receding and shifting into a distinctiveness where Nature as well as power-politics are playing ghastly wiles. An identity of neglect.

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The Past That Claims the Future

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Muddasir Ramzan

These days, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade, I have had an opportunity to explore the wealth of our heritage. Kashmir, besides being known as a war-torn territory shrouded in the magnificence of nature, is also renowned as the abode of great saints and Sufis, witness to people of different faiths living together.

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My Kind of Snowflake by Muddasir Ramzan

This winter’s snowfall has given us hope that climate change is not yet terminal. In previous years we had dry winters, which greatly disrupted the seasons. It was after so many years that Chillai Kalan, a forty day period of harsh weather that continued until January, was in its real spirits. We witnessed what we used to hear about: the long tough winters of past years bringing many feet of snow.

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Kashmir on Film by Muddasir Ramzan

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A writer friend recently asked me what I thought about the movie Kaafiron Ki Namaaz, and I confessed I hadn’t even heard of it. Early this week, while travelling back from Srinagar in a train, which had many of its windows broken, probably by angry youths during the unrest, a few replaced with boards instead of glass, I was sitting at a seat from which I was not able to look out of the window, and thought of watching the movie to pass the time.

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A Different City by Muddasir Ramzan

We are closely related to the Punjab culturally, ethnically, and linguistically. The noise of Punjabi music reverberates at high volumes here, whether it is in buses, festivals, weddings and the like. The region is predominantly Hindu although there are Muslims, Sikhs and some Christians communities too. The population is considered as being rather conservative. Despite being situated so close to Kashmir the region is culturally very different. The majority seem oblivious to the realities of the Kashmir conflict and are regarded by Kashmiris as being xenophobic.

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Impending Negotiations by Muddasir Ramzan

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The strike has entered its fourth month and the shadow of war between two postcolonial nations, namely India and Pakistan, continues to overshadow the struggle of Kashmiris for their long pending resolution. The growing hatred between the two countries has even led to the cancellation of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meeting. While Pakistan is trying its best to internationalise the Kashmir issue, the Indian media is busy showing the tyrannies of Pakistan in Balochistan.

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Kashmir - the living dystopia by Muddasir Ramzan

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The ongoing unrest has now entered its third month, plunging Kashmir into an unending dystopia. Even if it eventually ends it will inevitably re-ignite with as much, if not more intensity until there is a permanent solution to this dispute. The dream of a dynamic, valiant and dignified life in ‘Independent-Kashmir’ is superseding the inhabitants of Kashmir. For that dream they have and are enduring immeasurable sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom, not even sparing their own lives.

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Of Promise and Denial by Muddasir Ramzan

Among many things that have become apparent during the ongoing crisis in Kashmir is the resentment of both India and Pakistan over their hankering for the land of Kashmir. The failure of the government of Kashmir, whose power struggles and tactics have blinded them to their responsibilities towards the resolution of this unsettled dispute has infuriated many. Blaming Pakistan for exacerbating the crisis and in turn holding India responsible for its armed occupation won’t help.

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