Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Desiring but not deserving!

Everyone desires many things in life. Apart from the fact that merely desiring a thing does not materialise it and one has to work to achieve it, there is also another rider of first deserving a thing. There is a saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride them”! Kashmiris have been aspiring to be emancipated for a long time. Merely to aspire is not enough. No doubt there has been a long drawn out struggle to achieve total emancipation and many generations have passed away without reaching the goal, yet we seem to be still far away from it. When one ponders over the attitude of the people in general, a question arises whether we really deserve the ultimate emancipation? Most of us seem to have resigned to our fate. Even if we feel that the ultimate emancipation is a distant dream, we could at least cleanse our present way of living till we reach the final goal. At present we are not only suffering physical pollution but even spiritual pollution! This has to be cleansed if one wants to aspire for higher values and goals. What has been the attitude of the people right from the start of the movement for emancipation which started in early thirties? People rose en masse to overthrow the shackles of centuries old slavery. There was hope in the air that we will be free after almost four centuries of external rule. We threw up a colossal leader who promised to lead us to our cherished goal. It was like the coming of Moses as the deliverer. However, he proved to be a shallow patriot and led us from pillar to the post. Yet, in spite of dozens of somersaults we followed him into virtual oblivion. We worshipped him even after he led us into the worst tangle. One would have thought that in spite of all the external pulls and pushes, he would stay his ground for peoples’ emancipation. But the worldly attractions and the blind support we gave him, made him take us deeper and deeper into a morass out of which we are unable to come out. The story of our movement is a long narrative of betrayals for material greed by our leaders and our following these in spite of these betrayals. We have continued to follow our leaders blindly without questioning what their goals were in reality and methodology they were prescribing to reach those goals. We raised them to the level of demi-gods and then they left us in the lurch! The main culprit in putting Kashmiris in the present mess has been the personality cult. Having been ruled by kings and queens for thousands of years, we cannot get out of the monarchical fold. We need a king or a queen to lead us and then ruthlessly rule us. A fellow columnist sometime back opined that one should not indulge in self-flogging as it is depressing. Yes, it is true we have not to be pessimists and find fault with our own selves only. There are many factors responsible for our present mess. However, introspection is the only way to pin point one’s mistakes. Once found, these are to be corrected to enable further progress towards the goal. Those who do not learn from the history are condemned to repeat it! One has to admit that we have serious flaws in our basic character. It may not be that all the people are bad. However, there is always scum in the society which dirties everything. No doubt outsiders have tried to exploit these to their advantage but this has been possible only because we have allowed ourselves to be exploited! We have turned into proverbial lotus eaters and have become extremely callous. We are talking of getting “Azadi” but we already exercise the Azadi to grab land anywhere. We have Azadi to occupy all foot-paths. We do not feel any remorse in violating all land use and building laws. We go berserk in totally debasing our traditional feast of wazawan during marriages because we have so much ill-gotten wealth to display. Outside Kashmir we work like donkeys but here we become lethargic and zombie like. We have handed over all our chores to Biharis and Bengalis. At present we have few hundred thousand dogs making our life miserable and no one has any practical and a workable idea for getting rid of the menace. We are looking forward to the visit of the “Canine Queen” and may even accord her a tumultuous welcome! The government is working on a sterilization programme which may take half a century! Reportedly the official remedy to the dog menace has a massive money base too. There are reportedly over quarter million drug addicts in the valley. There is rampant prostitution. Some years back very high ups were involved in a sex scandal. Accountability for everything is non-existent both from the government side as well as from the civil society. Before desiring the ultimate emancipation we call “Azadi”, we have to deserve it and to do that, the first thing for us is to remove the weaknesses of our character. To begin one has to be honest and speak the truth and have the courage to stand by it regardless of the consequences. However, unfortunately, these are rare commodities in Kashmir these days. We compromise for material interests at every step and are ready to commercialise everything including mosques and graveyards! This must be the only place in the Muslim world where mosques have shops! We have turned everything into a business enterprise. One has to give up the material greed which has seeped into our bloodstream along with its by-product of corruption. We have not only been plagued by material and moral corruption but by the worst form of intellectual corruption. Above all else, we have to give up the personality cult. This is possible only when we base our faith on irrefutable convictions and not follow the “Kings” and “Queens” whom we are still unable to shun in spite of the mess they have put us in! One has to take a stand at some point in one’s life. If we are able to overcome these gross abnormalities in our character, and regain our self-respect and dignity, the “Azadi” will itself come to us! (Comments at ashrafmjk@gmail.com)

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