Azaadi

by saajidahfirdausi

I have cleared all my papers. I have decided to attach my essays while applying for jobs henceforth, because they never do seem to reach their potential during examinations.

On to more pleasant topics, I finished Our Moon Has Blood Clots on Saturday, supine on the beach shore.

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When one speaks of Kashmir, it is taken as a whole, to be sympathised with due to partition conflicts between Pakistan and India. OMHBC explores the divisions within the country itself, exacerbated by its different rulers during the colonial times. It speaks of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir in 1990.

The term pandit is used for a learned person, usually in an area of Hinduism. While the book skates over the social positions of this sect, it can be gathered that they tended to be better off compared to the Muslim majority. Perhaps that could have been one of the contributing factors as to why their Muslim neighbours with whom they used to live with in peace and harmony, were willing to help the insurgents during the ethnic cleansing. ‘Azaadi!’they shouted as they terrorised their own people, when did Kashmir become a place only for Muslims? I was disgusted by the actions of these betrayers more so than the insurgents. However, it did bring to mind a certain experiment  of 1971 – Stanford Prison Experiment. Could a new-found elevated status of power subconsciously turn people (some, not all) into sadistic and evil beings? I need to pick up The Lucifer Effect written by the creator of the experiment – Philip G. Zimbardo.

I feel ashamed on a personal note, being Muslim myself. The actions of these people fit into the stereotypes the world has created of us. Is there ever a good enough reason to rejoice in the sufferings of others, especially those who have not personally harmed you in any way?

Ah, this book has no shortage of accounts to make one lose faith in humanity. Well perhaps, besides the author himself. After all that he has witnessed and been through – killings, rape and torture of the Kashmiri Pandits by the Muslim insurgents, I would find it completely natural for him to hate all Muslims. Obviously not all are the same, but it would be human nature to be filled with wrath against a religion which is the main point of identification by the people who have been responsible for one’s sufferings and not forgetting, forced conversions. And yet, he does not seem to hold any prejudices. I truly admire him for that.

That said, I have read a memoir. A single perspective. If there is anything I have learned from studying Complex Emergencies and Humanitarian Responses in university, it is to not form your judgements too quickly. So, the next book on the Kashmir list shall be Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer.

Before I scamper, a few works that caught my eye during my trip to the National Art Gallery yesterday:

 

 

 

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