DR OSCAR REBELLO 27th Mar 2022
Let me put on record I am not an expert on the complex issue of Kashmir
Not even remotely. But, watching The Kashmir Files, in a packed, deathly silent theatre gutted me completely.
Eviscerated every fibre of my being.
The horror that unfolded on screen, all of it factual and true, with a few cinematic liberties was relentless, gut-wrenching and left me devastated at the sheer barbarism that played out.
I care a damn about the venal politics of AAP- BJP- CONGRESS on this issue. I am no fan of Vivek Agnihotri's self-righteous cockiness.
All I saw on screen that deeply, deeply moved me was the horrendous exodus and the ruthless genocide of INNOCENTS
And that's what the Kashmiri pandits were in the 90's Kashmir.
Innocents!!! That's all.
And whenever innocents are targeted for their faith, sadistically exterminated for their political beliefs and when we cannot even begin to comprehend the tragedy that befell them, the least we can do, on all sides, is shut the hell up.
No blame games on current politicians and Nehru and God knows who else.
No downsizing the scale of the tragedy depending on our political beliefs.
It is so simple.
Innocents were butchered and driven out.
The Islamist barbarians committed the dastardly act
And the political establishment and civil society of the time failed to arrest the bleeding.
End of story.
So it is so much easier for us to comprehend people's pain if you just see victims of any barbarism as INNOCENTS
Not their race, not their colour, not their religion.
Just as innocent human beings, savaged in a conflict not of their choosing.
So you can have your opinion on the Russian justifiable anxiety of having a NATO-allied Ukraine on its border but your heart must go out to the Innocents of Ukraine, bombed out by Vlad the Vampire and hope Ukraine wins this battle.
You can have your justified views on Hindutva as a political ideology but your heart must go out to the thousands of innocent Muslims massacred by the mobs in Gujarat in 2002.
As for the innocents set ablaze in the train at Godhra before that.
All happening when Neros fiddled as innocents burnt.
Even though riots may happen, relationships between communities may not always be cordial, people at the bottom of the food chain are trampled upon and even though we may always be a society sitting pretty much always on a knifes edge, we must resist falling into this all too familiar trap of seeking to prophesise that my innocents are my innocents and yours are yours.
That my criminals are freedom fighters (as in Kashmir) or my criminals are correctors of history's wrongs by violent means (as the rampaging violent Bajrang Dal and radical Hindutva outfits are projected to be).
Innocents are innocents.
And criminals are criminals.
The quicker we start respecting this truism in life, particularly Our lords and honors on the judicial benches, who waffle endlessly in delivering justice even in cut and dry cases, the better it will be for all of us.
As the planet hurtles from one crisis to the next, the one indisputable fact remains that we are witnessing not just the death but the annihilation of innocence.
And one's heart must bleed at this horrible, horrible prospect.
I know the one question I will immediately get is " what about the rights of the Kashmiris to decide their own future, even the elusive Azaadi"??
The answer is simple and if you look at the political scenario of our times
One must realise that Hindutva is not just about religious politics but it is primarily about land.
We got to be clear about one fundamental truth after the partition.
Not one inch read that again not one inch of our land is going to be partitioned ever again
Come hell or high water.
Kashmiris can enjoy every single benefit and more in the Indian union.
But they are not getting Azaadi.
Not by any stretch of imagination.
For that elusive "peace" in the valley, this is the paramount non-negotiable.
The quicker we realise it, UN resolutions or not, the better it is for all of us.
Vive la difference !!
Vive L' Innocente