We have news on ‘The Kashmir Files’ all around us. From Vivek Agnihotri, the director -Producer of the film speaking at Harvard club USA, to the collection of 80 cr at the box office in 6 days and running of the film ad on Times square where it costs huge bill, to many other news being shared on social media group, with photos and clips of theatres or some story regarding the same splashed everywhere.
No doubt, this is a BIG moment for the nation which has been struggling hard to find its true individuality and identity ever since the Modi government was sworn in 2014. For the first time, we can see a campaign in support of the Kashmiri Pandits being run across the length and breadth of the country mainly voluntarily. True, there are people who are not very comfortable with the idea and see it as an action that will divide the country into religious lines.
India has been seeing fresh energy of nationalism and Hindu resurgence for sure. But will that be a permanent feature or will vanish with times to come is, something we are not very sure of? For, true nationalism requires sacrifices to be made and sufferings to be tolerated. The present Hindu awakening is happening more on social media in groups where people share something for no reason to just show their presence or liking. It does not carry much weight. A simple guideline from the government can send all the people posting on social media behind the doors.
However such temporary behavior will have its own impact on society and the nation. There are people on the other side of the dividing line too. We are not sure the kind of emotions these people might be holding or feeling. But yes, fear could be easily one of them. India, i.e. the resurgent Hindu has to be careful as well as sensitive for such developments. The Kashmir Files has to unite the country in one thread and not divide further. The minorities living in the country must remain safe and also feel secure. The war or campaign is against the extremist and terror outfit operating in Kashmir and other parts of the country. It has got nothing against the common man – women, this should be clear to one and all/.
Somehow we fail to understand why the minorities always get dis-aligned with the BJP despite the government showing no bias towards them. Of course, certain media personalities like Rana Ayyub, Arfa Khanuun et al have tried to exploit the vulnerable emotions of the common minority citizens. It is really shameful and undignified on part of this educated class of people, media houses, etc who don’t have any qualms to sell out their conscience and nation. Political parties like SP and even congress have tried to fuel religious emotions. Their stance on Hijab is a good example of the same. But then such kind of divisions and people behind them is nothing new and have been happening for centuries now. The importance of peace can be understood only when one undergoes the traumas and sufferings of war and its consequences as one is witnessing in the Russian Ukraine crisis.
The Way Forward:
The Kashmir Files should be a moment for uniting the country. A message emanating through it should be that the nation and its citizens will stand for you, whether you are a Kashmiri Pundit, a Sikh, a Muslim, a Christian, or a Dalit or anyone for that matter. It should be used to instill CONFIDENCE and not fear. That is when we will say that the production of the film has really been successful.
Also, there is no plan after the Kashmir files release. If awareness was the objective of the film then surely that has been achieved especially in the urban cities. WE don’t think that it has penetrated the rural areas and even semi-urban towns of the country. Many of them might be still wondering about the whole thing.
Therefore to claim big victory and see it as a resurgent India with the release of the film will be premature. Moreover, the Kashmir pundits are where they are – out of Kashmir- and have not got the real justice which is their relocation back to home. It’s still a long and treacherous way ahead. The government has taken a few steps but has not filled the pandits with confidence over the security and welfare issues that they are looking for. Therefore on its part, the government has to also think about what else can be done that should bring the pandits back to the valley.
Meanwhile, all the citizens must make sure that this is a fight against terror and terrorism, extreme mindset and zealots and not with regards to any particular religion or Islam. The release of Kashmir Files should be a defining moment in the history of the country for a greater awakening that still seems to be elusive and we all should know that without any doubt or illusions.
Wishing everyone a happy colorful Holi.
आपको और आपके परिवार को होली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं
Dr Asheesh Shah