By Mona Alam
So Jinnah was right all these years; most leaders of past have faded away with the passage of time in terms of their vision, barring the Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and here’s Why:
Once an advocate of Hindu-Muslim Unity, he realized rightly over the years how certain extremist elements will not let this harmony last very long. Post August 5, 2019, situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoJK) is the perfect example to go by.
Aggravation and prevalence of the most inhuman curfew and the audacity with which it’s negated by Indian authorities despite the international media covering it left right and center, has even convinced those Indian Kashmiri leaders of Jinnah’s two-nation theory who have been adamant upon a united India.
Likes of Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah etc who tried their level best to work things out with the state of India, but eventually ended up endorsing what Jinnah foresaw almost a century ago; albeit under house arrest.
2G internet was selectively restored in the valley but this ‘rare luxury’ in the 21st century was snatched soon on the 26th of Jan, Republic Day of India,
Interestingly, revoking special status of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and validating it unilaterally through issuance of maps wasn’t the end of Modi government misadventures. They went on to bulldoze legislations like NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) upon loyal Indian Muslims; probably to punish them for their generations’ long faithfulness.
On the flip side, the only redeeming aspect here becomes the fact that Kashmiris no longer feel alone in their struggles. They know they, under BJP-RSS rule, are accompanied by mainstream India’s Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Sikhs—And even Hindus too, those who dare voice out in favour of their fellow Muslims and call a spade a spade.
Even actors like Deepika Padukone, Naseeruddin Shah, Swara Bhaskar, Taapsee Pannu, Anurag Kashyap and other bravados had to pay a hefty price out of their stardom for standing by the oppressed. Yes, you thought right there if you’re drawing their parallels with the great Khans of Bollywood. Because it isn’t just Akshay Kumar who’s been performing his stunts without a ‘spine’, but the elite Khans too deserve a welcome to this Club.
International media outlets like BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, TRT, Washington Post, NYT, DW, etc deserve special accolades for exposing the Modi mindset but I’m afraid little would change until and unless the World STOPS looking upon India from a Bollywood lens. Or like a market of 1.4bn people. Because this Modi-Bipin Rawat- Amit Shah trio feels it can get away with anything, given India’s economic size and might.
Let’s just acknowledge that it’s only due to domestic pressures from a vast majority of righteous citizens, that the Modi regime now considers this a bitter pill; hard to swallow and harder to eject.
Counter mechanism by BJP government to neutralize their self-created Hydrochloric Acid, is to invest in Media. Some celebs were invited over by their media cell and no photos were allowed in this moot. Reports only went around by word of mouth, but resultants of such silence meetings were like a deafening crescendo!
Superstars, mostly Muslims, were activated like never before. On reality shows, award functions, competitions. Surprisingly they wouldn’t use Islamic terminologies that they have always been accustomed to. Otherwise quite religiously inclined, they this time around instead insisted that religiosity isn’t as important to them as Indian nationalism was; in any civilized society there shouldn’t be any conflict between the two, but this time around it was as if these celebs were particularly fed to give precedence to nationalism over religion. As if this wasn’t enough, a particular running reality show focuses these days on targeting, maligning, victimizing, body-shaming a Kashmiri Muslim.
The bias is so evident that there are organic Twitter trends with millions of tweets running on daily basis to expose these deeds. I’m glad to note that the audience is no more buying such schooled and tamed narratives anymore. Nor are they willing to bag TRPs to these mainstream Indian channels at the cost of someone’s self respect.
As for Pakistan in all this situation, unfortunately our showbiz isn’t as effective this far to counter this from their lethal Indian counterparts. It’s a bitter fact that I must admit.
But beyond this, extension in the term of Pakistani Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has given a much-needed clarity on a geostrategic level. Pleasantly there is a renewed focus now to rake up the Kashmir issue in the United Nation Security Council with the help of our good-old friend China. Too premature to comment how far would this endeavor go, but India is rattled already, and quite visibly.
Must I admit, there has been a lull on Kashmir issue since PM Khan’s historic address in UNGA. Some well wishers in ranks of Opposition were rightly demanding a clarity on the way forward from the PTI-led government. But thankfully, 2020 has brought in a new zeal into efforts from Pakistan. International media like “The Economist” has had their cover page dedicated to PM Khan’s recently used terminology; “Intolerant India”.
Yes, there may be great challenges on the domestic front which are far from being addressed, but on an international level it DOES really matter that PM Khan speaks great English and can well translate his thoughts into words. And this DOES, give Pakistan a lot of international publicity. It’s apt and smart to use this edge to highlight the plight of Kashmiris under once secular but recently turned, ‘Intolerant India’.