“We have stories to tell, hope there is someone listening” – Kashmir

On India’s 73rd independence, how independent is Kashmir? Jammu and Kashmir is a claimed part of India but how much does Kashmir look forward to “achhe din”?

Under the veil of the ever-promised good days and the political careers of many, once again, the jewel of our country is in a locker. A lock up that disconnects the state rather than connecting it to the concept of the over acclaimed “one nation” and most certainly not the kind we would like to label, “Made in India”.

Phone lines and internet have been down for more than 10 days, following India’s central government’s decision to revoke the region’s special status. The Indian government revoked the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the region and securing the boundaries from neighboring countries. Good or bad, we will know in time.

The open media, channels, platforms all over the world have allowed people to voice their opinion on Kashmir liberally. Organisations, individuals, and religious groups have expressed their sides suggesting “Kashmir is ours”, “Now we can buy land in Kashmir”, “Kashmir is free..”. But, is Kashmir really free? Who gets to decide?

Kashmir 2019

In this process, we have certainly forgotten to listen to the stories of the Kashmir’s own. Stories that narrate the socio-cultural and political life of the Kashmiris are nowhere to be found. One, because we follow the popular agenda and two, Kashsmir’s communication lines have been cut. Is this fair?

Every stream of water, every tree, mountain, shrine, village, personal name and of course the events that have made Kashmir what it is today, have stories to tell. Kashmir’s traditions and history serve a significant purpose in connecting Kashmir to the world again in stories.

We urge you, before you form an opinion, consider listening to stories of Kashmir. Listen to their experiences, their sayings before we can conclude what power will do to Kashmir in the time to come. In time of this lockdown, conflict, and separation, we hope, we all can hold on to hope that we can do our bit in bringing peace to Kashmir, even if it is in the form of listening to their stories.

If you would like to tell us a story of Kashmir, please write to us at thechangedesigners@gmail.com

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