by: Manzoor Ahmad Khan
I am someone who is a victim of mixed, confused nationality. Two nations are fighting to make sure that I be a native of their respective countries. I have personal issues with both.
I am a 31 year old Kashmiri who is as old as the prevailing gun culture in valley. I am brought up in a neighbourhood where we had around 30 people who had gone to the other side of the border for arms training and had become a headache for the anti-insurgency grid once they returned.
I have witnessed harshest of the atrocities by army and government sponsored “Ikhwan”. I still remember the night when government sponsored gunmen had come to kill my father, he luckily escaped and they didn’t find my father, started asking about me. They were about to run the shinning blade of their dagger and cut my throat when my mother & other people offered them all the money and jewellery available at that moment.
I have paid a price of being a Kashmiri & it is one of the heaviest anyone could afford to pay. I have seen my house going into flames and then into a heap of charcoal, seen headless body of my only maternal uncle, my eldest brother was beheaded by unknown gunmen just because few of local men wanted them to. I have lost my cousin a bright student. I have lost two of my childhood friends who had no idea what the conflict is all about, both of them fall for the jihad sentiments and we didn’t even receive their bodies for the last rites. For me Kashmiris are paying a price for being strategically important to both India and Pakistan, we are neither an “Integral part” nor a “jugular vein”. We are victims of our geographical location and we always will be until unless we don’t take a stand.
The purpose of this write up is to prove that the claims of Indians saying that Kashmir is our integral part are more than hollow. I have been staying here in Delhi for more than ten years now. I am a platinum category tax payer verified by IT- department of Ministry of Finance, Government of Indian republic. I have done no harm to the integrity of the nation and natives who claim me to be an integral part of their existence. As already mentioned the kind of troubled background I belong to I listened to my father, came to Delhi for studies and got a job here. Away from all the negativity I became part of an extended family here in Delhi which includes people from different faiths. I don’t talk about Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam and people call me a sleeper cell for the same.
Other than the last paragraph let me explain why I don’t agree with people claiming that Kashmir is integral part of India. It has happened with me multiple times that I am being denied a flat on rent for accommodation just because I am a Kashmiri Muslim. Experiences were horrible but I still thought there are only few who have this kind of a poor attitude of profiling people based on their cast or region.
First experience was in Vansant Kunj were I was searching for an accommodation with my friends. It was Eid that day and we were hunting for a pocket friendly accommodation. We would read an advertise given by a flat owner wanting rent of 15000 INR, call him, he would request for a visit to the property, after checking the property he would increase the rent to 20000 INR recognising that we belong to Kashmir. Finally we got a flat costing us 22000 a month. First time I believed that the owners were apprehensive because of bachelorhood, it is alright & need not to react.
Few years later I got married& had to look for a separate accommodation. This time money was not an issue but sick mindset of profiling was still there to haunt me. I was not a bachelor, I had a family including my son and I was still denied accommodation by not the uneducated but by the people from elite class who drive Audies and Mercedes cars, people who work with MNCs based in foreign locations. A Sikh gentleman had even literally abused me saying that he can’t trust someone who is asking azadi from India, I tried to advocate myself by saying I am not bothered about azadi etc., I am more interested in taking care of my family. To this he replied that I am a sleeper cell. This time also I was exploited and had to pay 20000 INR for a 1 BHK flat.
My recent experience where I felt that not few but most of the Indians just claim that we are integral part of India, practically they mean the land not the people, same is true if we talk about Pakistan. It has been more than three months now that I have been searching for a 3BHK accommodation in Indirapuram Ghaziabad, am in touch in with around ten brokers, have checked around 30 flats. Rent of a 3 BHK here is 13000 INR. It is the same here, when I reach the place to check the property owner would increase the rent five thousands, when I say I am ready to pay the desired amount they would request for some time and later say that some of their relatives is interested in the same flat and they can’t deny him.30 flats, 30 rent hikes, 30 new excuses, more and more embarrassment every time. In the end I am exploited and am paying rent more than the normal.
I have been staying away from valley for more than a decade now, my father who lost his eldest son who was Haafiz E Quran to a group of Pakistani idiots calling him a police informer probably couldn’t afford to lose the second son. I am not as strong as my father, I can’t afford to lose my son, the only hope I have. To all those who don’t let me their properties on rent, I rent my house to labourers from UP, Bihar & Bengal, I have not even checked their identifications cards.
Talking about Pakistan, Pakistan is the main offender. If Pakistan had not invaded by sending in those ignorant tribesmen to Kashmir I believe we would have been an independent country without any disputes and any kind of violence. If we analyse the K- Issue I believe Kashmir is a liability for India, India spends billions, Pakistan just sends few jihadists and everything just vanishes. India has deployed around a million of troops there in valley, losing hundreds every year. Pakistan loses nothing other than few jihadists.
In the end I request all those who claim that Kashmir is integral part of India or jugular vein of Pakistan, please come with a clear stand that do you mean Kashmir as a piece of land without the natives or you claim the people as well.
I could muster courage to write and post this write up only after watching a journalist questioning Mr. Farooq Abdullah about his nationality. I believe in whole of J & K he is the only politician who should never be questioned for his intentions. There would be lots of people who would question his faith because we see him performing more of Bhajan Keertan and performing less of Islamic rituals. On top of everything if India today claims Kashmir whole credit goes to Abdullah family, without their support India never would have been able to raise even a single army post in Kashmir.
Manzoor Ahmad Khan is Area Business Manager in US based MNC at Delhi. He can be reached at E-mail: [email protected]
(This is a personal blog and the responsibility of views expressed above are solely of the author. Kashmir Patriot is not responsible for the same.)