Commentary

#KashmirForAll: Rajnath’s message and the Hindu man’s burden

The Indian Home Minister in a statement said that the centre will never undermine the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir regarding the state’s special status.

But on the very day the Indian population was gearing up to ‘celebrate’ Independence Day, celebrate the ‘struggles’ the ‘nation-state’ went through to achieve freedom from the colonial lords, Kashmiris woke up to the new trending hashtag #KashmirForAll

Media channels, alleged to be news channels, which started the hashtag ran hours of the campaign.

The idea is a product of the same majoritarian and colonial mentality that the Indian state supposedly stands against. It implies, Kashmir is not only for Kashmiris. It is for everyone, for the Indians. Everyone can claim a bit of Kashmir for themselves. Just like India was not for Indians. The British, Dutch, French, Portuguese and many others had claim and exploited the natives.

The hashtag trended on the internet, with netizens wanting a piece of Kashmir. With the ongoing controversies around Article 35A, the removal of which will allow Indians to settle in Kashmir, the drama took a whole new meaning.

The Home minster had dismissed the opposition of the removal of the article, by saying that the issue is “raised by those who have nothing to talk about”. But it is not a secret that the Sangh, the ideology that drives the Bhartiya Janata Party, has been holding meetings about the removal of the article.

The meetings have not happened sans the presence of prominent media personnel from India running campaigns against the article, to make #KashmirForAll a success.

The colonial fetishes of a post-colonial nation-state and its controlled channels on the eve of its independence diminishes all kinds of ironies.

The post-colonial state has been cultured about statecraft from its previous colonial master, the whole structure of its parliament, its education system, and as it seems, a way to occupy and colonise an entire people for their own megalomania.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

The indoctrinated followers of the Sangh agenda, supporting the colonial fetish, are not far from the English occupiers who landed on the shores of the Indian subcontinent more than two centuries ago.

Just like the White-man’s burden, the Hindu men feel that they have a cosmic burden to carry on their shoulders. The burden to teach the Kashmiris the meaning of nationalism, patriotism, the greatness of India and how benevolent the Indian state is.

The Hindu-men’s burden also includes saving the Kashmiri women from their oppressive patriarchal male counterparts, which is quite similar to the way white men and women often tried to ‘rescue’ the disadvantaged women of the ‘orient’.

This burden of the Hindu-man is an acute case of Xenophobia and Islamophobia resulting in viewing the Muslim community as the regressive terrorists who will be the bearer of destruction and lock their women away. However, the vocal support against instantaneous Triple Talaq and comparative silence on Manu’s diktats on ways to treat a woman is quite hypocritical.

These Xenophobic tendencies are applied to the case of Kashmir as well when one claims the land without claiming the population.

‘Send them to Pakistan’ is the favourite slogan. This slogan sounds very similar to the Alt-right population in the Western countries where deportation of immigrants is an all-time favourite.

The recent incident in the Charlottesville, USA where the Alt-right rally inflicted harm and pain to the blacks and immigrants, physically and mentally is not so different from the Islamophobic and Kashmiri-phobic discourses making rounds in India.

Kashmir for all is a deduction of the same discourse and of the colonial mentality that India still lives with. The trending hashtag on the eve of independence is a clear indication of the inability of the India to detach from its colonial lords’ umbilical cord.


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