If I don’t write today I will implode. I watched the Kashmir Files and I’m not okay.
I’ve been away from social media for a while, but I come back knowing that this is the one place where I can bare my soul. We are finally confronted with this extremely uncomfortable, truth etched in our civilisational memory.
I'd read it before, I knew the facts, the people, and the brutality they suffered - yet none of that prepared me for the visual shock and the visceral pain I felt as I watched the movie. It made my stomach churn - shock, anger, fear, pain, helplessness, hopelessness - all of that churned inside of me simultaneously, until it gave way to a stunned silence.
Ably supported by exceptional performances, @Vivekagnihotri has dared to go where no one has ventured before. As a movie, it is a cinematic experience that remains true to the horrors experienced by our Kashmiri brothers and sisters. Agnihotri presents the truth in a way that makes it palatable while maintaining the necessary dignity.
I wept throughout the movie knowing that the facts of this genocide are crueler than anything we can possibly imagine! In reality, the character played by Sharda was held captive for ten days, forced to cook the rice, and then force-fed the rice mixed with the remains of her husband. I wept knowing the movie did not display the agony of the men who were nailed alive to the trees and the tilak they once sported on their forehead, sealed their fate. I collapsed into a heap knowing well that Girija Tikoo was brutally gang-raped before being chopped alive with a manual saw - she had two children.
Mithun Chakraborty keeps reminding us in the movie that this was not an exodus but a genocide. UN tells us that under the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Kashmiri Hindus have experienced all that and more. What happened in January 1990 was not the first, not the second but for the seventh time! Kashmir has literally been the bleeding edge of India - but what the narratives have kept from us so far, is the fact that it is drenched in the blood, the blood of those who refused to convert to Islam - Hindus, the original inhabitants of the land.
So yes, it was genocide! Just one of the many that India has experienced for more than a century. Hindus in Bangladesh, Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab all have experienced equally murderous genocides in the face of calls to convert to Islam, flee without their women folks or die gruesome deaths.
Unfortunately, the reality is no different today and the handful of Kashmiri Hindus still living in the Kashmir Valley have said that the release of this movie has put their lives in danger. Not only did they have to live the horrors, but have been denied of their experience, systematically erased from all memory, and gaslit for even daring to talk about their experiences. Let that sink in for a moment.
After we have processed the initial shock I hope we can all start understanding the incredibly heavy price we have paid to simply survive. Whether you know it or not, we are the last one standing. The two Abrahamic proselytising faiths have already annihilated all other Dharmic cultures and civilisations.
We are it - the last bastion of Dharma. Hindus are the last surviving civilization and Bharat is the only place left to call home. We have resisted, survived, and even thrived.
Without the truth, neither healing nor reconciliation is possible. Kashmir Files is not a movie, but a stifled scream that Bharat managed to let out.
Maybe now we can start talking about the trauma.
Maybe someday possibly begin healing.
I am not okay and perhaps I don’t want to be…When an existential crisis is staring at me.
To my dear Kashmiri elders, brothers and sisters - I’m sorry this happened at all. I’m sorry this happened to you and I am sorry this happened over and over yet no one did a thing about it. I am sorry you never got to talk about the horrors you’ve suffered and I’m sorry that you were gaslit every time you sought justice. I promise to do everything I possibly can to further your #RightToJustice.