12:06pm, 28th July, 2016
The fault in every democracy is when the majority stays silent over the injustice and oppression done in their name. Of course, all of us say Kashmir is ours but to what extent have we inculcated the people there into the Indian-ness that we are so proud of?
A new campaign seeks to break silence of Indian celebrities about the violence in Kashmir
We Indians take great pride in saying how we are the largest democracy in the world and how we are unified amidst diversity. We have dared, almost every time, to speak up against anything that is against our will and rightly so. The suspension of democracy, during Indira’s Emergency, is seen as a dark chapter by most Indians. We cannot sit back and enjoy while human rights are violated. This was proven again by the outburst by people after Nirbhaya. Celebrities and opinion leaders have contributed greatly to this culture of speaking out. Controversial situations always attract comments from both Bollywood personalities and politicians. In fact, their statements have brought many unnoticed and overlooked things into the limelight of the public.
However, Kashmir is an issue that has garnered little to no attention from popular celebrities or politicians. The struggles of Kashmiris, their history, their rights have never entered Indian popular culture in any meaningful manner. In the open, we have to say ‘Kashmir belongs to India, we won’t give it away.’ Even thinking anything beyond that, whether about the credibility of such a statement or its viability is considered seditious. ‘Deshdrohi’, ‘Ant-national’ and ‘Pseudo-Secular’ are some samples from the array of names chosen to call people, who dare to think.
Despite this, today we hear about an unending fight between security personnel and common people in Kashmir. We will soon forget it, once the media stops coverage but the Kashmiris won’t forget. They are losing eyes, limbs, and lives there. And all of us are silent, even the celebrities. This shows the acute measure of care we have for them. This shows how desperately alienated they are from Indian culture. No one, who is anyone, wants to speak on their behalf. Our silence is their sorrow.
And probably, to counter this, a Facebook Page ‘Never Forget Pakistan’ has shared some shocking images of Indian celebrities requesting them to break their silence. These images are gruesome portrayal of how Indian celebs would look if they were victims of stone pellet guns. And we being so celebrity centred, it is getting shared on social media. But will this make any change? Will celebrities talk about such issues? Maybe you can convince them after you see the images and the letters.
And mind you, all the stories are real.
“Dear Modi ji, the laws of your democracy are making Kashmiris silent and blind
Kashmiri doctors lament injuries by pellets in protests” – Read Story
“Dear Shahrukh, The Army you glorify hunts down unarmed Kashmiri children.” – Read Story
“Dear Amit Ji, your silence is killing Kashmiri sons and daughters.” – Read Story
“Dear Sonia ji you bear the burden of sanctioning the use of pellet guns.” – Read Story
“Dear Virat, your silence is killing sporting dreams of Kashmiris” – Read Story
“Dear Aishwariya, would you speak for someone else’s four year old.” – Read Story
“Dear Alia, more STUDENTS are turning blind every YEAR in Kashmir” – Read Story
“Dear Saif, Kashmir is losing hope in you” – Read Story
“Dear Kajol, would you speak for a fellow mother.” – Read Story
“Dear Hrithik, would Krish save Kashmiri children from a tyrant army.” – Read Story
Now before you go all patriotic, and blame people of Kashmir for acting against national interests, I advise you to consider what we have given them. Not even words of consolation. It’s time we think about Kashmir, not as a place of strategic interest, but as a place that belongs to people like you and me who have the right to be not afraid.
What makes us human? What makes us Indians? It’s time to contemplate. It’s time to raise voice, not just for ourselves, but for everyone.