Today, I am beginning a new category in my blog, it will be called as “Jagged corners”. “Jagged corners” will look at things as they are and not as they appear. I am very happy to tell you that a Kashmiri woman, well actually Indian American who belongs to Kashmir has very kindly agreed to get herself interviewed for my blog. I am in deed very grateful to her. In order to protect her privacy I will call her, “Maryum”. There has been a lot of fervour around the world, specially in Indian held Kashmir, and Pakistan off course after the Modi Governemnet decided to annul the article 370 of the constitution thus depriving the Indian held Kashmir of its special status. A status which was given to the Kashmiri people after partition through mutual consent. The status was given till the time the matter was to be resolved according to the auspices of the UN, by holding a plebiscite for the people to Kashmir, in order to decide their fate. The very status was given to preserve the demography of the area, as 80% of the population is Muslims and a mere 20 % Hindu. Too bad the UN till now has shied from its role and no plebiscite has been held there. The two countries India and Pakistan have fought three wars for this very issues, and daily skirmishes are not uncommon. And if anything the annulment of this article 370 is aimed at changing the demography of this very area. Something which will be detrimental to the cause of Kashmir. Read on for an insight in to what the abrogation of this article means to the Kashmiris. This article is written at a time when there’s complete telecom blackout in the Indian held Kashmir.
- Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Maryum and I came to US in 1991, and I lived in Kashmir (IOK) for about 19 years of my life and like you know since then, I think it was the peak time when all this started when I came here.
- How do you relate to Kashmir? Or what is Kashmir to you?
I mean it is my birth place, its like everything for me, my whole family is there, and anything happens there we just feel it, you know wherever we are, all Kashmiris. Like right now out heart is with Kashmir, we don’t feel like doing anything, we are just lost here and we feel like helpless, hopeless that we can’t do anything. I am not able to contact my family for last one week.
- Which part of IOK are you from?
I am from Sirnagar.
- What are your views about the revocation of Special Status to Kashmir by the Indian Parliament?
I really think like it is very ridiculous, it is inhuman what he did, I mean he just doesn’t know what will be the consequence of that, I think it will be more violent, Kashmiri people won’t take this so easy. I think its gonna get more violent there, that what I personally think and I think I mean he’s gonna lose big time by doing this, he did a wrong thing.
( Readers to please notice the word “he”, which as I take it means Modi )
- How will it or has it affected you (the revocation of article 370)?
It is like I as a Kashmiri feel like you know a piece of me is lost, I feel like he has you know he doesn’t have any sense what he is doing. He is just trying to make India as a Hindu country, that’s all he is doing, he doesn’t have emotions anything, he doesn’t value anything of Kashmir. If he says in his speeches he cares about Kashmiri people then he wouldn’t do this. He would have never done this. I mean I really don’t know what to say, they say we are a democratic country but this is not what democratic countries do. I think he’s trying to do the same thing what Israel is doing, that’s what he is doing. The result will be very bad for him.That’s what we personally think, when I talk with other Kashmiri people here that is what we think that when he is gonna take off the curfew, he’s not gonna keep Kashmir under curfew forever, he’s gonna feel bad what he did.
- Have you recently traveled to Kashmir? How is life in Kashmir for the Kashmiris?
Yes I was in Kashmir in April 2019, and you know it is sad like we don’t feel safe anymore, like my parents don’t let me go outside in Kashmir, alone. Its not the way it used to be when I was there in my childhood, its totally changed you don’t feel safe, and when you leave Kashmir you feel that hatred about you in all over the India, its just very sad what we are going through.
- Do you look up to Pakistan for support in the cause?
Yes definitely, Pakistan is one the main ,thing we are counting on, you know all Kashmiris we love Pakistan, We can die for Pakistan, that’s the only hope we have that they might do something that will affect India to take back the decision what they did. Definitely all Kashmiris are looking forward to what Pakistan is going to do about it.
- What are the Kashmiris views or feelings about Pakistan?
I really don’t have words what Kashmiris fell about Pakistan, I have not seen them love Kashmir like they way they love Pakistan. Like I remember in my childhood it was the Cricket world Cup and it is an incident I remember I was very young, that Pakistan won the World Cup and my cousin he jumped and he broke the bat, because he was so excited and my own brother he does not eat food if Pakistan loses the match and you know its unbelievable how Kashmiri people love Pakistan I dont know why but that’s how it is. I mean they can die for Pakistan. That’s what I will simply say you know, that’s how much love we have for Pakistan.
- How has the cutting off of Internet, telephone etc by the Indian Government affected you or Kashmiris?
Yes definitely it has, like we are not able to contact anybody in the family, like I have cousins all over the world worried about our families.It definitely has, we have no way of communicating, we don’t know what’s going on and what happened there. It has kind of stopped our lives. Like I haven’t been able to talk to my mom since last week or so. So I don’t know what going to happen next or what are they going through. Like I get up during the night and I check my phone, maybe the phones might be working but its not like that. It has definitely made a big difference in our lives. Like Eid is coming but we don’t feel like there is any Eid, because our families are there.
- Do the people of Kashmir have hope?
Definitely until we are alive, we have hope. And what I heard from inside Kashmiri people have said like you know its gonna be more worse than it was. We are not going to take this. We are gonna get back to India. So we definitely have hope. And we are never gonna let it go all those waste all those we lost since it started in 1989 or 1988, we are not gonna let it go waste. So we definitely have hope for the best Insha Allah.
A big thanks to our sister Maryum in the US for taking time out for this interview. I really enjoyed the conversation and I value you views, and emotions and you love for Pakistan. I can assure you that Pakistanis love our Kashmiri brothers and sisters just like you people do. From what our sister has told us, life in Kahsmir for the Kashmiri Muslims is difficult and its going to get more tough. And our prayers and best wishes are for them. But off course, like Maryum said, hope keeps us alive, let us not lose hope.