A little over 19 years ago, in October of 2010, a bunch of activists including Syed Shah Geelani got together to discuss why only Kashmiri voices should be considered with respect to Kashmir. Arundhati Roy, Varavara Rao, Sujato Bhadra, and writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta got together with Geelani in LTG Auditorium in a seminar organized by curiously named “The Campaign for Relief of Political Prisoners” for this open farce.
In that auditorium that day, Kashmiri Hindu Pandits were in the audience and stood up in protest of the proceedings on the stage to, well, make Kashmiri voice heard! Instead of listening to their voices, the participants on the stage summoned the police and got them thrown out of the auditorium.
It has taken 19 long years for a Kashmiri Hindu Pandit to be on the same table as those who espouse the cause of terrorists, their sympathizers, and backers.
Sunanda Vashisht bridged that gap yesterday when she spoke at the Tom Lantos HR Commission in Washington DC. She is the first Kashmiri Hindu to have represented herself as that – a Kashmiri Hindu!
It is worth remembering that Syed Geelani has since been arrested for funding terrorists, specifically Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief and 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed. The ongoing investigation is proceeding to deal with his nefarious activities in terrorism. Varavara Rao, on the other hand, was arrested for plotting to assassinate the sitting Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
My father was a Kashmiri Hindu, My mother was a Kashmiri Hindu, I am a Kashmiri Hindu
When there is a concerted and obvious effort to extinguish your voice and your lives from this planet, it is extremely critical that you assert your identity and announce clearly and unambiguously as to who you are.
Other Kashmiri Pandits have either sided with the Pakistani narrative either out of Stockholm syndrome or general amnesia or simply chosen to downplay who they are in a bid to be sellable to the left-liberal community (Aarti Tikoo’s statement at the US Human Right hearings a month back as an example).
No Kashmiri Pandit voice which asserts its identity has been allowed to talk or express itself.
This is not a coincidence. It has been by design. A design that bared itself in the LTG auditorium in Delhi on October 21st, 2010.
When Sunanda started with that clear announcement of where she was coming from, it was clear that finally on the historical tapestry of injustice and genocide, an authentic Kashmiri voice will be heard.
Even when surrounded and hounded by a panel that was overwhelmingly anti-India and anti-Hindu. For not one panelist discussed the rights of Kashmiri Hindus to live or return or get justice in Kashmir while raising the right to internet to being fundamental to human existence. When the pedigree of your lies outweigh any semblance of sanity, then you are not a voice anymore. You are a mouthpiece. A channel to someone who wants his propaganda seeped into the global conscience at any cost. No matter who the mouthpiece is.
Taking on the revisionist narrative
In keeping with the revisionist narrative by Pakistan, many of the so-called activists and professors whose integrity has long been compromised (Angana Chatterjee was regularly on paid jaunts thrown by ISI mole in US, Ghulam Nabi Fai), keep harping on NRC and Kashmir “lockdown” without facts or basis in reality. Now, they have started talking about Sikhs as well – specifically at a time when ISI wants to revive the Khalistani terror again.
When one of the panelists sought to add the Sikh slant into the whole discussion, Sunanda pushed back by bringing up the Chattisinghpura massacre where 36 Sikhs were killed by LeT and HuM terrorists when Clinton was visiting India in March 2000.
There were many other massacres of Sikhs and what is happening currently to Sikhs in Pakistan is a clear indication of its own intentions and record. But none of the panelists talked about that. What happened during Indira Gandhi’s death and thereafter is a blot on India brought upon by the Congress. Something that is being battled seriously by a government now. To confuse the actions of those in power then, with the current establishment is just plain dishonesty.
To let that narrative even float in congressional hearings and go on record shows how shallow the knowledge and understanding of the Congressmen and women is of the world if it is not compromised.
Unlike Aarti Tikoo’s statement, Sunanda was not afraid to take on the narrative by in your face statements that were correct but antithetical to the very grain of those in attendance. For example, when she said that “Abrogation of Article 370 is, in fact, a restoration of human rights“, the Pakistani supporters boo-ed her. Far from being cowed down, the feisty lady raised her voice for the next sentence until the Chairman admonished the Pakistani lobby.
That is the spirit we need to take to these farcical exercises.
I am not sure how an activist from Houston was engaged for this – who ensured it and why. But if the Indian government had any hand in that – kudos to it. And to her for preparing so well for this hearing.
It is time that all those who have something to say and have a powerful way to put it across should come together and the government and powers of the day should work with them to blunt the narratives that Pakistani lobby has been putting out thanks to the compromised eco-system that Congress and Leftists in India have created. And, like Sunanda, there can no ambiguity or self-doubt.