I don't think people understand the tragedy of an ethnic cleansing, or the pain of having to leave their homes with just the basic essentials and the clothes on the backs.
I see a lot of empathy, sympathy, charity, help, and outrage pouring in at the pictures emerging from the Middle-East about the ethnic cleansing of Yazidis going on. I can't help but wonder, is it because there are pictures and documentation of the horrendous plight and day by day accounts, and none or very less from 1990 of the Kashmiri Pandits.
That there exist strains of thought that Kashmiri Pandits were well off in pre 90 Kashmir, or that they have been assimilated into India and do not face much discrimination compared to the Dalits and Muslims; or that they have made very comfortable lives for themselves post 90s is very disturbing to say the least.
There is a term doing the rounds on social network sites - 'trendy liberals'. I am not sure who coined it or what the definition is but if you don't think all lives matter and that everyone has human rights irrespective of their social status, then you definitely qualify for a trendy liberal who is just scoring brownie points with their 'drawing room' friends. I have seen those trendy liberals – doing cocktail rounds in parties hosted for the discussion of the Kashmir imbroglio or the North-east question or the scourge of what the Army is doing in Manipur or Kashmir while smoking their cigars and munching on barbecue beef.
A wrong is a wrong, losing a home and a way of life, not to mention the effects of a monochromatic culture domination as equal to the thousands disappeared, and killed by the Indian Army and buried in mass graves. There is something called a living death and it is not visible to most people. By making the majority complacent in this grave travesty of justice due to a Kalashnikov imposed silence, the perpetrators made sure we would forever have to carry this blot on the history of Kashmiriyat and our conscience.
There is a fact which needs to be cleared once and for all. Along with the Kashmiri Pandits, there were liberal, communist, secular Muslims who were also hounded out of their homes terrorised by putting names on hit-lists; posters and pamphlets stuck on doors, or a 'friendly' neighbour dropping in asking them to leave because the majority would not be able to assure their safety. Selected targets for assassinations included Muslims too such as Mushirul Haq and others. So along with the fallacy of the 'Jagmohan conspiracy' it is an untruth that only Pandits were ethnically cleansed – it was a cleansing of secularism, liberalism , progressive people too – not unlike the ones professing to claim 'Azadi' for Kashmir in India's prestigious universities.
Going by the logic the trendy liberals give, the reign of terror and the subsequent murders by guillotine in The French Revolution were justified since it was mainly the elite and royalty of France being taken to the gallows. When someone advocates human rights or freedom of speech, then there can't be a but, or a maybe, or a whatever...
All lives matter, and rights are for everyone. The Kashmiri Pandits still living in squalid conditions, and who till recently were residents of Muthi camp (it was dismantled a few years ago) stand as testament to the Islamo-fascism that swept the 90s in Kashmir. It appalls me to think that hearsay is being circulated that Kashmir Pandits were well off comparatively and they do not face as much discrimination as the Dalits and Musims in India do. The hijabis catering to the 'frat boys' and Islamists put forth the same argument that women of Kashmir are comparatively much freer than the rest of India.
This bodes to me laziness, intellectual dishonesty, oversimplification of a complex demography. When the Jews in Nazi occupied Germany were hounded out under a reign of terror, intimidation, plain bigotry and state terrorism upheld by propaganda, the resistance fighters who were from the German population themselves did not stop to think that the Jews are majorly into the money-lending profession and will be able to buy their freedom from cattle-trucks taking them to Auschwitz.
The truth is Kashmir has been occupied by Islamist forces since the 90s and it is a psych-ops strategy to term it and present it as a reverse-occupation just to bring down an infidel nation so that Kashmir can join the Ummah.
Bernard Lewis in his scholarly work The Crisis of Islam, Holy War and Unholy Terror, published 2003, writes:
"In the Western world, the basic unit of human organisation is the nation, in American but not European usage virtually synonymous with country. This is then subdivided in various ways, one which is by religion. Muslims, however, tend to see not a nation subdivided into religious groups but a religion subdivided into nations. This is no doubt partly because most of the nation-states that make up the modern Middle-East are relatively new creations, left over from the era of Anglo-French imperial domination that followed the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, and they preserve the state-building and frontier demarcations of their imperial masters. Even their names reflect this artificiality: Iraq was a medieval province, with borders very different from those of the modern republic, excluding Mesopotamia in the north and including a slice of Western Iran; Syria, Palestine, and Libya are names from classical antiquity that hadn't been used in the region for a thousand years or more before they were revived and imposed – again with new and often different boundaries – by European imperialists in the twentieth century; Algeria and Tunisia do not even exist as words in Arabic – the same name serves for the city and the country. Most of all, there is no word in the Arabic language for Arabia, and present-day Saudi Arabia is spoken of as "the Saudi Arab kingdom" or "the peninsula of the Arabs," depending on the context. This is not because Arabic is a poor language – the reverse is true – but because the Arabs simply did not think in terms of combined ethnic and territorial identity. Indeed, the caliph 'Umar is quoted as saying to the Arabs, "Learn your geneologies, and do not be like the local peasants who, when they are asked who they are, reply: 'I am from such-and-such a place.'"
Kashmir has always been brought down by collaborators and in this particular period the collaborators have been our very own.