Burhan Muzaffar Wani: India’s Nightmare and Kashmir’s Posterboy
Imagine this. Kashmir, the only muslim majority state in India, that has been asking India to keep the promises it had made to the people of the state since 1947. Now muslims and pandits have been living together for 8 centuries in Kashmir. In state assembly elections of 1987, people voted for the party of Syed Geelani and Some guy probabaly called Yousuf. People voted for them in huge numbers, but the result was not in their favor. People were frustrated to see the result. While protests started everywhere and when it became clear that New Delhi had rigged those elections to favor the minority of pandits. Geelani became a separatist and started asking for plebscite (He was a member of Kashmir assembly till then). The guy called yousuf went to Pakistan and started armed rebellion against India. Today he is known by the name of Syed Salauddin and is one among the India’s most wanted. I am sure that most of the Indians do not know all of this and there is a reason why they don’t. Why would the Indian state ever tell you this part of the story that exposes their dubious stands and their half-cooked stories about Kashmir. Anyways, coming back to what happened afterwards. To handle the situation, Jagmohan Malhotra was installed as the governor and he wrecked havoc on the Muslims. He carried out many massacres, by ruthlessly firing on innocent and peacful protestors, try googling Gawkadal massacre. People died, the brothers and sons of the victims were invited by the guy called Yousuf who was in Muzaffarabad now. Together they made some militant organization that we call Hizb. now and started war against India. And thus the armed rebellion started against the Govt. of India. Jagmohan, the murderer of Kashmiris was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2016, sending a message to kashmiris that your murderers are our heroes. By telling this story I am trying to make a point here that it was India and its policies in Kashmir that led to the formation of Hizb. in first place and thus likes of Burhan Wanis in Kashmir.
Another important point that one must notice is the reason why a 15 year old kid will resort to gun and try to fight a million strong army. Why would anyone choose death? I know you would say Jihand and religion. But then listen to this another story. It was 2011 when Burhan and his big brother Khalid were biking together and at some place were asked to stop by the army. When they stopped, army started to torture Khalid and beat him to coma. That was the moment when Burhan is reported to have run away as a 15 year old kid and “I will avenge this” were the last words heard from him as a normal 15 year old, because next time he spoke, he was a Hizb. commander. Two years later his same brother Khalid was killed by Indian army for having met his younger brother Burhan in a forest. There goes India in Kashmir for you.
I personally do not approve of the ways Burhan opted for, I don’t believe he should have chosen that path which he did, but then I am a 29 year old man and even now when I see Kashmiris killed in broad day light by Indian army and I see hundreds loosing vision due to pellet injuries in their eyes, I feel pained and I cry over my helplessness.
Having said all that, would you still try and label Burhan a terrorist. I know many of you will, but that is because you lack empathy and because you have no freaking idea of the political history of Kashmir and the human rights violations Indian army is involved in there. So while rest of the India will go around and call Burhan Wani a terrorist, each and every Kashmiri will hold him in high regard and the reason for this dichotomy is that
For Kashmiris he is not a terrorist but a freedom fighter, who fought against the India’s forcible occupation of their land.
Burhan Wani was 15 years old when he resorted to the path of armed struggle against Indian establishment in Kashmir, lived in jungles for 6 years and died at the age of 21. Neither was his rise a beginning of Kashmir conflict nor is his death an end of it.
Where lies the bigger problem according to me is the hypocrisy of the Indian masses. Yes the hypocrisy of 1.25 billion Indian people.
Let me explain a bit, It might seem irrelevant, but believe me I am trying to make a very relevant point here:
The two great national parties of India, Congress and BJP, number of whose leaders are corrupt, communal and power hungry hypocrites. These two parties decide what goes on in India. But everything they do, their policies, the laws they make, the decisions they take about FDI, about railways, about food prices, about traffic, about petrol prices, about education, about jobs, about key appointments, about every goddamn thing are criticized. All of their decisions about everything face criticism from one section of the Indian society or the other. Still when it comes to Kashmir and their stand about it. Each and every Indian irrespective of his affiliation to the political parties and irrespective of all other things blindly accepts their decisions about Kashmir and appreciates it. Why this hypocrisy?
What will it take Indians to accept Kashmir as a dispute and not as an “integral part”. Kashmir has sacrificed 100,000 souls so far and 100 in the last six months. How many more Kashmiris need to die so that Bharat Mata recognizes their existence. Kashmiris don’t romanticize Burhan. Most of them don’t approve of his ways but no one, absolutely no one can stop a kid like him from choosing the path that he did when he sees his brother getting murdered in front of his eyes. AFSPA is a draconian law and given the fact India’s 1.25 billion people are okay with this law being enforced in Kashmir tells a lot about their collective conscience. The problem is that Indians can empathize an Indian soldier looking through his gun-sight seeing kids throwing stones at him and he has to fire a bullet in return, but they fail to empathize with a 15 year old kid who sees his brother murdered in-front of his eyes. Does that not speak volumes about the moral values of Indian masses. Indian people have lost their conscience, what is left is a reminiscent bit that is only enough for them to walk, talk, eat and dress like humans. They have lost the power to empathize and the ability to reason.
Indian people have to realize that it is high time that they let go of “Kashmir an integral part of India” narrative and look into the matter without wearing their spectacles of patriotic shade. Kashmir is a disputed territory and entire world recognizes that. Even India recognizes that when it comes to dealing with people on the ground. How many bullets were showered at JATs in Haryana when they were protesting in far more violent ways than Kashmiris.
Labelling a 15 year old kid as a brutal terrorist and supporting mass murder of Kashmiris by your army in broad day light without any empathy won’t help. Talking about why a 15 year old picks up the gun and recognizing Kashmir as a dispute, repealing AFSPA, withdrawing army from the civil areas and talking about the 60 year old promise of plebiscite that was done by your own first Prime Minister at United nations and in Kashmir. That sure would help.