Farzana Yaqoob

A Vision am I

Having stitched my gaze

On a horizon afar

Blind me, until

The lights of the dawn

Of Aazadi

Kisses my lids,

Exterminates olive antibodies

And illuminates my Firdous

Till then

I am, I will be

Watering my bahisht with my blood,

Since I am Qadeer,

I am Sameer,

I am Kashmir... (From Rabia Bukhari’s Poem: I am Kashmir)

Kashmiris express themselves. It’s a painfully beautiful painting, filled with mesmerizing colours, but covered in red, from chinars to yemberzal and fern, every colour is soaked in the blood of martyrs.

Ironically, this expression makes us stronger in our resolve. Resolve to fight against the mightiest Tyrannical Democracy in the world. World abandoned us, we started our own battle, world lured us, we gave up our arms, world again ditched us and we were left with stones in our hands, we marched, we fought, we hoisted the flags of our Aazadi and freedom in the face of operation and nobody paid homage to our front runners, to our leaders.

But do we care? Do we need the appreciation of those who themselves have forgotten the plight of a child, the scream of a girl and tears of a widow? We need to shoulder ours by ourselves, by lifting them up as our heroes!

Being a Kashmiri, one such lady is my inspiration.

Covered beautifully in Hijab, all we can see are her eyes, filled with passion of freedom, daring the oppressors to face her zeal for Aazadi. For 25 years, each year she religiously hoists the flag of Pakistan up and high on Pakistan’s independence day and Pakistan Day on 23rd march. She was picked up, kept in the jails and champions of democracy tortured her. She lost her husband in the search of freedom, who for past 20 years has been kept in Indian jails, just to further torture and suppress the expression of Kashmiri freedom icon.

A lady with iron will is facing the tyranny of India in the most militarized land of earth, such an inspiration we have and such a legend is in making!!

This 23rd March also brought upon her the wrath of democratic champions. She hoisted the flag of Pakistan and now facing the “treason” charges from Indian government, in the disputed land.

Syeda Aasia Andrabi, chairman Dukhtaran-e-MIllat, is not new to such threats and charges of sedition. India fooled the world, by calling her “separatist” and “traitor”. Indian media went haywire, when they heard of hoisting of Pakistani flag, on “their soil”.

Indians twisting the terms and cunningly building a perception of Kashmir’s accession to India is not new to us Kashmiris. UN unfortunately have closed its eyes from the oldest dispute of modern world. But Syeda Aasia Andrabi, not only has shaken the earth beneath Indian strategists and master planners, but also screamed out a wakeup call to human rights champions of the world. She screamed out to the world, this scream was carrying the message with lyrics of National Anthem of Pakistan. She in her video message to media also clarified and reminded Indians, “I did not hoist Pakistani flag on Indian soil but on soil of Jammu and Kashmir which is a disputed territory and not part of India.”

India booked her under the unlawful activities prevention Act. Aasia Andrabi has been taken to new higher moral grounds, while Indians have made themselves a laughing stock.

But can anybody sense the panic in their ranks?

“We have registered FIR and investigations are underway,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Amit Kumar told Greater Kashmir. Police sources said that the case has been registered in Police Station Nowhatta vide FIR No 14 under Section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. They said police is trying to find out where Aasiya hoisted the flag and delivered a lecture. “We are trying to trace her. She has gone underground,” they said.

Aasiya was busy expressing her national fervor in Srinagar. And Mr Abdul Basit Pakistani ambassador to India was meeting the other Kashmiri leaders in New Dehli on Pakistan Day.

Forgetting the special status of Kashmir through their own article 370, the infamous Indian media frenzy started.

They have been crying foul since 23rd march and they must. After seven years Pakistan resumed the event packed with power show. It flexed its air and land muscles and on the other hand, Kashmiri leadership gave them a shock wave with hoisting of flag in Srinagar and meeting with the Pakistani ambassador at New Delhi.

 The hawkish Indian media must have felt the heat of Pakistani ammunition because they started firing left right and center. They started with hysterical uproar at the function in Pakistani embassy. The Incredible India does not appreciate the importance or acceptance of Kashmiri leadership.

This is where one can actually see the use of Orwellian term double speak.

On one hand India is incredible and secular and democratic but at the same time it is fundamentally Hindu and autocratic. India says that they would like to maintain good relations with their neighbors but there actions speak otherwise. India always accepts the offer of peaceful and fruitful discussion from Pakistan but then a false flag creates hysteria and all CBMs become part of point scoring. Pakistan says we need to resolve the long standing dispute of Kashmir and move forward, India insists that there is no Kashmir issue.

Ignorance wrapped with malicious intents becomes a reason of violent history. India is doing that exactly, writing a violent history on the face of Kashmir.

Spring has started. Flowers are blooming everywhere. Kashmir blossoms and then withers every year. I wonder when the year of true reckoning will come. When will the brave people of Kashmir come out of the grips of big brother? When will we Kashmiris truly enjoy this heaven on earth? Whenever that day might be our ardent love for the homeland shall not subside.

The calls of Syeda Aasia Andrabi tell us, those days are not afar, our lids will be kissed with the light of dawn of freedom. Inshaa’Allah.

The writer is Minister for Social Welfare in AJK Cabinet