Indifference to the Integral Part – Badri Raina

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The extent and magnitude of the catastrophe that has befallen Kashmir still doesn't seem to have sunk in Delhi.
The extent and magnitude of the catastrophe that has befallen Kashmir still doesn’t seem to have sunk in New Delhi.

Think that to this “integral part of India” all but obliterated by the waters that seem not to relent even as we write, a grand sum of 1,100 crores has been sanctioned by a famously “nationalist” government — 1,100 crores for the rebuilding of an entire Valley from scratch. Pardon the thought but it seems our “nationalists” either do not still have an idea of the scale of the human and material catastrophe that has befallen this ‘integral part’ of India, or remain content that, after all, the territory is not about to fly away, and what does it matter in what shape or condition 

BADRI RAINA

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]T is not often that I am left without words, but the deluge over-rather than in-the home of homes where the sweetest twenty years of my now long life were savoured has left me in an insensate stupor of mourning. It is as though the waters had submerged my brain into a receding depth of bottomless sinking from where I could only watch a whole paradise of my being disintegrating into ruthless scraps of waste and wilderness, and a whole world of proud and beautiful people left without recourse to god or man.

This pitiless sacking of the valley by a force more ineluctable than any marauding invader leaves excruciating questions on the table of speculation, even as barely a month and half separates the unremedied and unhealed catastrophe of the present moment from those that a harsh winter will surely pile on the ill-fed, unministered, and houseless agony that now stalks Kashmir.

Such has been the enormity of the deluge that plaints about this public worker or that government seem facetious, since never in living memory were government and public worker as wholly sunk, impaled, and pulverized as those they were meant to serve.

The fact that many hundred, indeed thousand, civil and self-driven brave-hearts across the land found within them the existential moment to defy the deluge and fight it on behalf of women, children, old and disabled people, without discrimination or thought of denomination, served to remind us of that timeless truth: the courage and the act of being merely and nakedly human surpasses any deluge, and any government.

At such times, we saw yet again, it is as though what is just human stands before the wrath of god as an equal in resolve and prowess, as Michaelangelo’s Adam gazing back at God at even keel and stature. All that, while small men in little brief authorities or powered by petty allegiances scandalize the apocalyptic experience by labeling one brave-heart as an authorized nationalist and another as a meddling renegade without warrant, out to play politics among waters that dissolve all distinctions. As if to bring home the recognition of how always among human conglomerations the noble and the crass remain at loggerheads, in an unendingly Manichean contention.

Think that to this “integral part of India” all but obliterated by the waters that seem not to relent even as we write, a grand sum of 1,100 crores has been sanctioned by a famously “nationalist” government-eleven hundred crores for the rebuilding of an entire valley from scratch. Pardon the thought, but it would seem that our “nationalists” either do not still have an idea of the scale of the human and material catastrophe that has befallen this “integral part of India,” or remain content that, after all, the territory is not about to fly away, and what does it matter in what shape or condition.

As to the people, well, don’t we know the people are always resilient and willy-nilly crawl back to life and limb, and some form of home and hearth. After all, what help better than self-help, saith the “nationalist” powered by stolen private wealth which disdains its waste on things unprofitably human.

So long as well-off, well-connected, and politically correct Kashmiris can make that short trip to a grand private hospital in a metropolis, why worry about those state-run facilities which at best of times remain mired in common decrepitude? And the common people always have it in them to weather the worst of disease and destitution, and if not, turn to god for succor. Such seems the “nationalist” view of things. The best of alacrity seems reserved for more warlike purposes some distance away.

Sitting in Delhi, I know with great reassurance how a plethora of responsive individuals (including many in my acquaintance who avidly routed for a “nationalist” government) and organizations have worked tirelessly to gather and disseminate impressive quantities of money and material drawn from a wide spectrum of Indian citizens and entities. And that effort carries on even as I write.

One also knows that party lines notwithstanding, Kashmiri leaderships, legitimated or not by the electoral system, have been on toes and tenterhooks to do what they can, although it is to be expected that many may indeed have been remiss in doing as much as they could at the time most needed, or have been tempted, even in the face of the leveling cataclysm, to play unworthy blame games of an Asiatic genus.

Nor is it to be doubted that Kashmiris will soon enough stand as tall as has been their wont. But we ask the “nationalists” whether this may not after all be the most pressing call upon them to prove what they never tire of professing.

In the meanwhile, as we Kashmiris set our shoulders to the wheel of rebirth and reconstruction, let us also include in that happening the philosophical lesson the waters have taught us: not to disregard the health of the hills and of the dales, trees and forests, rivers and cataracts, not to emulate the sick and cemented lust of unbridled urbanization, and always to remember that if we fail in all this, we will be destroyed without regard to whether we are rich or poor, man or woman, Sunni, Shia, Brahmin, or Sardar, “nationalist” or “separatist”, devout or not so devout, learned or vulgar.

That lesson may indeed be the boon from this cruel and unmitigated churning.

theclarionindia
theclarionindiahttps://clarionindia.net
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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