Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

It is a matter of perspective

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

Dr Shabir Choudhry 12 June 2009

Good thing about pluralistic society is that there is more toleration and acceptance of divergent views. People are not called traitors, castigated, imprisoned or killed just because they have expressed a view which is disliked by the dominant group in the society. Endeavour is made to accommodate different views; and people are allowed to exercise their right of expression.

I frequently write on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism and politics of South Asia. I have noticed that some Pakistani writers express their opinions on ‘Kashmiri Jihad’ and its sponsors more strongly than I do; and yet they get away with that and I face a barrage of criticism, accusing me of all sorts of things. Some even don’t hesitate to criticise my family which only shows their class and upbringing.

My last article was about the incident of Shopian, titled: ‘Another own goal’. Some emails I got in response of this praised me; and others depicted me as an evil person. Both views cannot be correct. So it is a matter of perspective and how one is viewing the events. Generally our thinking and opinions are shaped by the upbringing and experience we go through; and a person who has lived all his life in Kashmir or in a village in Pakistani Administered Kashmir is bound to have different perspective on matters with someone who has lived in democratic, liberal and progressive societies of Europe.

Criticism of some fake people with a personal agenda is largely ignored by people, but what hurts many is lack of tolerance and understanding of educated people. Unfortunately they have also developed this phenomenon that if you don’t openly agree with them or appreciate their views you are not ‘sincere’ and ‘loyal to the struggle’. In reply to these people in my previous article I said I don’t need ‘their certificate’; and I still stand by it.

My latest article has also attracted some sharp criticism. Some frustrated people, as usual, have made personal attacks. Some genuine people have directed their wisdom and experience in jurisprudence, history and law by demonstrating their knowledge and point scoring skills. Most of the points they were referring to were not ‘justified’ in the article, or even discussed, so it appears they were endeavouring to get their message across to some ‘others’. Anyhow despite the ‘spin’ in these arguments, I feel much ‘wiser’ after reading these comments; and I am sure others have also benefited from this.

Dr Nazir Gilani has made an interesting point that in law the Indian army in Kashmir is not ‘an occupying force’. He is very skilful writer and knows his subject well; and there is no limit to his wisdom and analytical ability. He is entitled to express his opinion and defend it. Others have a right to accept it, remain silent or challenge it. Question, however, is if the Indian army, using Dr Nazir Gilani’s phrase, is not ‘an occupying force’ then logically it is a ‘legal force’. If that is so, then what is the problem? Why people of Kashmir are complaining and protesting?

I don’t know how many takers there will be for this argument in Jammu and Kashmir, and especially on the Indian side of the LOC. Also I don’t know how many people will direct their wisdom and experience to elaborate this point to the satisfaction of those who have serious grievances.

It is totally wrong assumption that I am ‘provoked’ to write by telephone calls or by emails. Everyday I receive many telephone calls and emails on topic of Kashmir and terrorism and peace in South Asia. I don’t write an article on every email or telephone call. I select my topics carefully. My topics deal with current issues – issues which are related to real people; and aim always is to inform, educate and generate discussion. But when people have no logical argument to oppose or defend an argument they resort to foul language and personal attacks.

Apart from my critics, the article, ‘Another own goal’ was also read by many other people, among them was Mohammad Ishaq Khan, President UKPNP, Belgium branch. His view is different to those who have daggers in their hands. With his permission I am producing the letter, which is as follows:

Dear Doctor Sahib, Regards

‘Sir I regularly see your posts on Kashnet and on Kashmirmail. I find your mails quite informative and well prepared which provide a great material on Kashmir issue. I also see the people who criticize your views, which is also a good sign. But I see some people who do not see if you are right or wrong just criticize you in a very poor and stupid way. Their purpose of course is to differ even if you write a verse of the Holy Koran, believe me. I know you are a committed nationalist and a learned person. I never saw any negative sign in your mail but some morally very low level people use very dirty and bad language on kashnet against you. I do not know what their purpose is but I do understand that they have nothing to do with movement for freedom. So the purpose of my this email to you is to ensure you that where there is a tiny group of people using bad language against you, there are many more who respect you and want to see your mails and articles. And the second purpose of this mail is to request you not to answer those people who have no sense…….’

Yours sincerely

Mohammad Ishaq Khan, President UKPNP, Belgium

I had other emails appreciating this article, but I chose to use this email for four reasons: He is a Kashmiri nationalist. He is a known person and is the President in Belgium of a well known nationalist political party. And above all he is not a fake man, and lives in a pluralistic society. If I had used any other person’s email, not known in political circles then critics would have sprung in to action, and would have called him fake.

If I remain quiet I am criticised. If I condemn the Shopian incident – rape and murder, and demand full investigation and punishment, I am criticised. If I oppose and expose opportunists and selfish Kashmiri leaders, I am criticised. If I draw comparison between two occupying countries and try to explain that depending on situation both forces of occupation could brutally crush us, I am criticised.

Mohammed Ishaq Khan has accurately put it: Even if I write a verse of Koran they will criticise that as well. It looks when I write, intentionally or inadvertently I touch some ‘raw’ nerves or tender nerves; and people get disturbed. The ‘task’ of some people is to criticise me no matter what I write. They remain silent and as soon as I write something they are ‘activated’. Their ‘job’ is to insult me and oppose me hoping that I will be demoralised and give up my struggle. They are totally wrong. It strengthens my resolve and makes me think that I must be doing something right that so many people are ‘activated’.

Some critics say my writings demoralise people. I have failed to understand this logic. I have condemned rape and murder in Shopian, how can that demoralise anyone? I have demanded investigation and punishment for the culprits, and how can that demoralise anyone? I have criticised corrupt and selfish leaders and how could that demoralise anyone? Only cronies and blind followers of those corrupt leaders and their handlers could be could be demoralised by this; and every true citizen of Jammu and Kashmir should do everything in their power to demoralise them.

Apart from that if a person shoots another person on head at point blank; and a third person says the victim is expected to die. How could anyone with common sense call this ‘justifying’ the shooting?

What I said was that all forces of occupation commit crimes like this; it does not mean that I justify them. In fact, in the same article I wrote:
‘Kashmir, especially the Valley has been unfortunate in this context where tens of thousands of people have lost their lives and people are imprisoned, killed in torture cells and women suffered rapes and humiliation. I and many other people including human rights activists condemn all this; and demand that the culprits must be punished for these crimes’.
I have no issue with the state of Pakistan, but I have very strong issue with their Kashmir policy, as it affects me and other people of Jammu and Kashmir State. But I have no interest in defending interests of India or Pakistan; however it looks some people are distressed when some disturbing facts are presented about Pakistan.

We come from different social, political, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and it is natural that we differ on issues; but while defending or promoting an argument we must respect each other. I don’t expect every one to agree with me, but I expect some to understand my point of view.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: drshabirchoudhry@ gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: http://www.drshabirchoudhr y.blogspot. com


Dr Shabir Choudhry
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell.

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