Srinagar: The lack of political space in Kashmir on real or virtual grounds is evident by the way the state is choking its people by ceaselessly banning the Internet, social media sites or even snatching the mobile services in Kashmir.
This is not new for Kashmiris. Be it in the 2008, 2010 or 2016 uprising, Kashmiris were deprived of these essential services. However, it seems Kashmiris know how to find out a way to communicate, or to express their political opinion. One cannot deny that despite all the turmoil in the valley, humour is still alive.
In April 2017, the government of Jammu and Kashmir banned 22 social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Youtube for a month in the Kashmir valley. It had also directed the Telecom service providers to stop transmission of messages and pictures through social media networks or instant messaging services.
Smartphone applications like WeChat, QQ, Ozone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, Youtube (Upload), Vine, Xanga, Buzznet and Flickr were also banned ‘because of their misuse by elements inimical to public order and tranquility’.
Despite the ban, Kashmiri netizens continued to access the barred social media sites through Virtual Proxy Networks (VPN).
One of the applications that was widely used during the 2016 uprising was ‘Madlipz’, a video dubbing app.
After a video, in which the faces of actors Akshay Kumar and Bipasha Basu were replaced with those of Chief Minister of J&K Mehbooba Mufti and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, showing them dancing on “Mehbooba Mehbooba” song, went viral in Kashmir, more videos were produced on the same lines. The most convenient application to do so was Madlipz.
Though there are many videos available on youtube where Kashmiri and Indian politicians are satirically made fun of, where daily issues of life of Kashmiris are hilariously depicted, Madlipz played as a platform for Kashmiris to express their political opinion apart from expressing their sentiments regarding ‘freedom, stone pelting and Hurriyat leaders.’
Here are a few videos that show what is going on in Kashmir.
The epic dubbed Trailer of Raees: Resistance, mainstream politicians and India
If Brock Lesnar was a Kashmiri
In this dubbed video, an American professional wrestler Brock Lesner is asked if he was a Kashmiri where would he be. He replies, “Rotting in some jail. Where else”
The stone pelting will go on
After the 2016 uprising after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani’s killing, the separatist groups would publish the protest calendar (like they have done before as well) as per which people would protest continuing with the daily routines of their lives. After the much tense situation started subsiding in the valley, this video went viral. The man in the video is shown to be saying, “Hey, listen with open ears. You will be provided with Salt, oil, kerosene oil, butter, eggs, Ghee and flour but the stone-pelting will go on.. (claps).”
When a Downtown stone pelter is asked to stop pelting stones
When the CM gives no statement for a long time and people start looking for her
Strikes and Hurriyat go hand in hand
The dubbed video shows a kid asking around as to when people will go on the strike again and “Ask Geelani (senior Hurriyat Separatist leader)” is the reply he gets.
How strikes affect a common man
The man in the video is saying, “From last 6 months, they couldn’t do anything (It cannot really be translated :D) and now they will go for the strikes again in March! I cannot understand why! What will happen now? Till now (starts fumbling), I borrowed money. Who will lend me money now? I bought loci in 100 rupees. I cannot do it anymore!”
When they are asked to stop going for strikes
Man: “ I have been sent by Mehbooba. This is a letter from her. If you go for a strike after March, you won’t be spared (Again, the Kashmiri language is epic. It cannot be translated :D)”
People: Rain of Stones
When kids get used to staying back home and one fine day…
This is the reaction of thousands of kids who are told that they ought to go to the school months after staying at home during the protests or strikes.
When the army/ policemen don’t want to be deployed in Kashmir
Official: (Cursing) I asked you to go to Kashmir, what are you doing in the queue here?
Policeman: I have pain in my knee
Official: What pain? You all say the same thing. I asked the Ahad brothers. They also say the same thing. None of you wants to go?
Policeman: Send Asha
Official: How do I send him, he is an elderly handicapped man.
Policeman: Then, you go by yourself
Official: Slaps the policeman
What do kids in Kashmir want?
Donald Trump: Hey, Kashmiri kid. What do you want
Kid: Azaadi (Freedom)
Trump and audience (clapping/ astonished)