What does a Kashmiri journalist who is neither a fidayeen anchor nor a studio warrior of the commando comic TV channels—on either side of the line of no control—feel about the undemocratic and unaccountable crackdown on media in the Valley?
Srinagar-based journalist and broadcaster Gowhar Geelani—who believes both India and Pakistan should stay off Kashmir—has just emerged from 12 days of communication blockade and censorship.
All is well in Kashmir
By GOWHAR GEELANI
Sadly, I could neither greet my siblings nor give Eidi to my nephews and nieces this Eid. I was unable to visit relatives and friends with Qurbani gosht in our caged Kashmir this Eid.
I was not the only one though.
Kashmir has been pushed back to the Dark Age since the evening of 4th August 2019.
For first five days since the unprecedented information blockade began, a prominent professional from downtown Srinagar had no contact whatsoever with his expecting spouse and a three-year-old baby both of whom were putting up in uptown Srinagar.
In a rare act of valour involving great risk, his pregnant wife drove the car while navigating countless barbed coils under extreme circumstances with the sole aim of seeing the face of her husband after a gap of five days.
She was not the only one though.
Those studying and working outside Kashmir or those who have gone to Saudi Arabia to perform the annual Haj pilgrimage could not connect to their families and had to face tremendous hardships in telegraphing simple messages like “we are okay” or “Eid Mubarak!”
They were not the only ones though.
Over eight million Kashmiris are suffering. Silently. Their silence speaks. Only the Instruments of Tyranny are trying to sell lies as facts.
In Kashmir, it is okay if all communication lines are snapped and internet is suspended for days and weeks together.
There are several Native Informants and Instruments of Tyranny who can go to any extent in defending the indefensible. They are okay if eight million Kashmiris are not allowed access to the fixed lines (Land lines), mobile phone connectivity, data internet and all other normal channels of communication.
From their perspective, even ruthless restrictions on the movement of people and free speech are legit in the 21st century, if you happen to be a Kashmiri.
Yes, all is well in Kashmir.
Yes, all is well in Kashmir. It is a government’s line.
Kashmir is caged. Silenced. It is a common Kashmiri’s line.
The latter is the factual situation on the ground.
Undeniably, the Kashmir Valley is under siege since late evening of 4 August, 2019.
Kashmir is disconnected from the rest of the globe. The concertina wires and barbed coils seem to be the fastest growing vegetation in the battered vale. Over 80,00,000 Kashmiris feel choked in a picturesque open prison the foreigners love to refer as Kashmir.
From 10:30 pm (IST), 4 August, the Himalayan region of Kashmir is facing an information blockade of unprecedented proportions. There is a complete lock-down and break down of communication.
Yes, all is well in Kashmir.
Hope in Despair
“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How,” Viktor E. Frankl approvingly quotes the words of Nietzsche.
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl describes the prisoners (in one of the most notorious concentration camps of Germany) “who gave up on life, who had lost all hope for a future and were inevitably the first to die. They died less from lack of food or lack of medicine than from lack of hope, lack of something to live for.”
Frankl was a captive himself.
He kept himself alive and kept hope alive by “summoning up thoughts of his wife and the prospect of seeing her again after the war, and dreaming at one point of lecturing after the war about the psychological lessons to be learned from the Auschwitz experience.”
Lesson: Survive to tell the tale.
Primo Levi, trained as a chemist, was born in Turin in 1919. He was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 after being arrested as a member of the anti-fascist resistance. In his autobiographical accounts, If This is a Man and The Truce, he describes his experiences of being in the concentration camp as a captive.
Between 1924 and 1945, the people in Germany and Italy saw and experienced the worst. Fascism was the order of the day. Adolf Hitler. Mussolini.
“In an authoritarian state there is only one Truth; the newspapers are all alike, they all repeat the same one Truth. So do the radio stations, and you cannot listen to those of other countries. It is considered permissible in an authoritarian state to alter the truth; to rewrite history retrospectively,” this is how Primo Levi answered questions from the readers.
Nothing is working in Kashmir except for the ruling dispensation-led Goebbelsian propaganda that claims ‘all is well in Kashmir’, courtesy the powerful and propagandist electronic media channels based in Noida and Mumbai.
Paul Joseph Goebbels must be turning in his grave since his death way back in May 1945. If truth be told, late Goebbels is facing a serious competition for the first time from partners in crime (large sections of the Indian Media).
Seemingly inspired by Goebbels’ propaganda, most media channels find no ethical or professional dilemma in being mouthpieces of the ruling dispensation even at the cost of disempowering, dispossessing, disrobing and marginalizing the native Kashmiris.
Yes, all is well in Kashmir!