Postcard from Kashmir: Another Eid without Celebration
By Mir Sajad
As the month of fasting is about to end, Muslims around the world gather for the Eid celebrations. Kashmir is yet again caught in the loop of confined celebrations. During the previous year, Eid was muted too by authorities due to the ‘political uncertainties’ and crackdown by the state. Kashmir is that part of political cartographical ‘contestation’ where the freedom of celebrations and even mourning are drawn and defined by the state.
Reminiscing vividly the scenes from the previous year’s dull and rather morbid airs that Kashmir was colored in, it is vital to dissect some organs related to its identity and élan. Injuries and wounds of the ‘silent incursion’ saw people adding on to their burden of betrayals and backstabbing. Well, it’s still about wounds. May be, there’s no such word as ‘healing’ in this part of the world. While people thronged to join the celebratory atmosphere in other parts of world, Kashmir was yet again the ‘other space’ whose sighs were only echoed by the mountains and never by the people who (mis)govern it.
Disasters breed lull after they leave. Kashmir was not wrought by one but an array of hazards that saw the death of ‘voice’ and ‘freedom’. There was an eccentric mix of tumultuous pathways which people couldn’t utter even to themselves. Everyone around looked into each other’s faces with a sense of loss, helplessness and the baggage of ‘governed’ sufferings. If Heisenberg’s uncertainty had to be applied in the social and political ‘imaginaries’, Kashmir would be an ideal laboratory for it. We never know what another tick of clock has in store for us and uncertainty mostly changes into the damned certainty. Ethics and morality too are dictated by the sovereign master with categories of ‘truth’, ‘justice’ and ‘freedom’ determined by the will and whims of the ‘state’.
There is a sense of loss and elegiac manifestations everywhere anticipating the whip of the ‘state’ hegemony. Beauty razed to fading noun of oppressive adjectives in this grammar of structured repression. Anyone suspected of knowing the embedded ‘language’ of control was silenced to walls. This was the quick review of how our previous Eid was put under curfew. Appearances and disappearances are used interchangeably in Kashmir as both convey the same connotation of metaphorical ‘bare existence’ as Agamben would call it.
In the flurry of fleeting and transient metaphors, people get adapted to the signs and symbols of ‘architecture of hegemony’. Kashmir has seen Jhelum as the chronicler of sufferings recording the ebb and tides of tyrannical memories and now in this Eid it has cast a ghostly shadow over the land. This ‘domiciled’ version of redrawing geographies and boundaries has turned the calming breezes into the mourned wafts of remembrance.
As I turned into a raconteur, having a distressed peek into the situations around the region, the crescent showed up from the Trans-Himalayan peak overseeing the whole of Kashmir prognosticating the rising scenes of hope and relieved sighs declaring the Eid. The postcard from Kashmir this Eid remains the same with much we have lost and much waters flowing down the course of Jhelum. Still we hope for the same crescent to shine past this ‘blood moon’ so that people have the reason to ‘celebrate’.
Mir Sajad is researcher at the University of Kashmir.
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