Malcom X in his famous speech called ‘The House Negroes and The Field Negroes” differentiated between those slaves who were loyal to their masters and those slaves who were against him. The ‘House Negroes’ were loyal to their masters to the point they could die for them. They thought they lived in a ‘luxury’ .They were provided with good ‘used’ clothes and left-overs after dinner. they wouldn’t care much about the fact that they would still be known as ‘slaves’. Then there were the ‘Field Negroes’ who just waited for their Master to die, in fact most of them used to pray regularly for a speedy death of their masters, in case he or she had fallen sick. They were treated in most inhumane conditions, skinned alive as punishment sometimes.
It is hard to imagine the state of mind of the adolescents or the youth growing up with such atmosphere around them. It’s not only the brunt of the physical subjugation faced by them, but it’s the brutal occupation of their thoughts in their tender age which gets to them.
Kashmir, which some would argue to be a colonial state, is now becoming a society bereft of free thinking. Where speaking and demanding the rights is taboo. The fear is suffocating. Imagine your family and relatives reprimanding you for speaking your mind just because the state doesn’t like the written words.
A colonial society where the children are taught to study in universities and get degrees but where questioning the state is not permissible. There is this question that a parent asks ‘Why you? Look at this kid, he doesn’t care at all’ Why it should be somebody who doesn’t care to do things that matter? Why should a Pizza loving, Sheesha smoking, Bike riding kid think about changing the system? He is too happy by being a sheep in a herd without thinking about the sufferings that the people are going through.
Kashmir is the most militarized region on the face of the earth. 700,000 including Indian Troops, the Special Task Force (STF),the J&K Police. There is no official estimation on the number of intelligence personals present in Kashmir. The fear that has been created by unwarranted arrests and detentions, nocturnal crackdowns and tracking down the online protesters is just mind-boggling. This huge crackdown can weaken the resolve of any struggle for Justice and Peace. However, Kashmir is still struggling for its right to self-determination. The struggle is in its 66th year now.
The elders don’t want their kids to speak against the injustice that is carried out by the state almost daily for it can have dire consequences. Even the elders can be arrested just because their children are allegedly involved in protests in protests. The notion that is driving among the parents is ‘Son, Don’t Speak the Truth or else you will end up in jail’. This drives the youth like me crazy, who are deeply involved and interested in ‘positive’ activism for Kashmir’s resolution.
A country which bans its kids from thinking out of the system will be rotten in the materialistic system that runs it. We will have a nation that produces Engineers, Doctors, Businessmen, and a million more government employees devoid of intellectuals, writers, poets, singers and thinkers.
With this attitude we are producing more and more Kashmiris with the same sheep like mentality of our fathers. In a conflict zone, such as Kashmir, Free Thinking has been murdered every single time; a kid has questioned the status quo.
The entire blame shouldn’t be put on the parents or the guardians, it’s the kind of the environment that has been forced upon Kashmir since the 1947 invasion. More so suffocating since the ‘counter insurgency’ which has almost created a halt for a Kashmiri to think. If he crosses a limit and starts questioning the status quo, he graduates to prison.
In a conflict zone, childhood is the greatest casualty; our memories have been scarred by dead and mutilated bodies, of cries and wailing of our mothers and sisters. Now that we have grown up, the ‘gifts’ we receive include Jail time for thinking to be free from the status quo, for our demand for justice?
It’s quite risky in a state like Jammu Kashmir to be able to write, sing or to think beyond the walls of a militarized state. The courage to do that should be encouraged whole-heartedly by the people or else we shall have a society rotten inside but shopping malls and swanky cars to save the face.
We are the children of slaves, but we don’t want our children to be like us. We want them to be free from their minds to their hearts. And that’s where the real Peace lies.
Published on Al-Hittin