It is one of the worst human tragedies to have hit the Kashmir Valley and the adjoining districts. Television shots of the hapless trying to survive against all possible odds makes one wonder the helplessness of human life. Together with that, the very fragility of the modern techniques and technology. Look what happened to the modern methods of connectivity - landlines and mobiles stood still. Look what happened to the modern methods of retrieval - thousands stood stranded. Look what happened to all the supposed town planning and sophisticated modern structures - none could withstand the fury of the raging waters. Destruction and havoc couldn't have been worse in the Kashmir region.
As human beings we ought to reach out. Now and immediately. No time to hold round - table discussions or indulge in post -mortems or heap blame. I have no concrete idea of how to go about, as all telephone numbers of the people I know in and around the Valley are not working - till this morning of September 10, when I'm filing this column.
The only practical options could be these - Doctors could travel in small groups and attend to the survivors. Civil society could rush volunteers and teams carrying tents, blankets, food packets, bottled water, basic medicines, woolens and clothing. Remember, it is Autumn in Kashmir and within the next couple of weeks temperatures would fall and the situation will worsen. Also, internationally trained relief and rescue workers and volunteers - from the ICRC and the UN - be flown in.
I have been sitting totally shaken and depressed, introspecting : all our development formulas and theories turn into a nothingness of sorts in the face of Nature's fury. Within minutes the human being is left with just the medieval period infra-structure - that is, if fortunate to have survived the nightmare of flooded homes and sinking roads, raging flood waters, the mess and rot …
Why this havoc, nature's fury on this blessed land!
The Kashmir Valley is a blessed land. No place in this subcontinent if not the world has the distinction of holding the diverse spiritual strains as found in the Kashmir Valley - some of these still practiced whilst others visible through definite imprints and structural reminders.
The Valley has been the abode of mystics. Sufi strains are still to be found in the Valley. Dargahs of sufis who traveled from far flung locales of Persia and Central Asia and the Middle East are to be seen, dotted all along the Kashmir Valley. None of them ever went back to their homelands. There could be several explanations for this but the most probable one is that the local population had been totally taken up by their selflessness and simplicity. In Mughal emperor Jehangir's memoirs and in the writings of Abu'l Fazal there are lengthy descriptions which focus on these sufis and their uncomplicated lives, living with just the bare basics …keeping away from worldly ways these Sufis planted trees and practiced renunciation and meditation. Also, Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh' s school of Sufism, 'Kas - I - Mah', was first of its kind in this part of the subcontinent. He built it at the instance of his spiritual teacher Akhund Mulla Mohammad Shah. And even today the dilapidated remains can be witnessed in Srinagar, not too far from the Dal Lake, lying close to the Chashm-e-Shahi springs.
There was that strong Shiva Vaishnav influence on the mystics and on the local population of the Valley. And as Kashmiri historian GMD Sufi writes in his two volumes titled - 'Kashir'- " deeply imbued with Sufism of the age and country from which they emigrated these Sayyids and their followers seem to have stimulated the tendency to mysticism for which Vedantism and Buddhism had already paved the way …"
Also, there is the Grave of Rozabal -situated in downtown Srinagar, close to the ziarat of Dastgeer Sahib. This grave holds immense significance and several historians are of the view that it is the grave of Moses …There are Buddhist places in and around the Valley. Also, the Awantipora ruins lying on the outskirts of Srinagar date back to the reign of Emperor Ashoka. And those legends around various springs, caves, meadows, saffron fields, lakes, forest belts of this region.
Beating drums of impending doom
Double speak and accompanying ironies are peaking as never before. Whilst prime minister Narendra Modi stood drumming in Japan, his partywallahs, those knickerwallahs, were beating drums of impending doom. After 'love jihad' tactics failed to gain momentum, Yogi Adityanath vomited poison. He justified his provocative utterances, he publicly blamed the Muslim community for being responsible for instigating the riots, vomiting words along the strain - where there are more than 35 persons Muslims, there is no place for non-Muslims… He'd said that if he has a 'mala' (rosary) in one hand, he also carries a 'bhala' (javelin) in the other. Casting aspersions on the loyalty of the minority community he was brazen, 'if you want to live here, you will have to respect Indian culture and traditions. You cannot have your body here but mind in Pakistan…'
Why are political creatures like Adityanath allowed to flourish? Even the Election Commission or Minorities Commission or any of the big-bodied setups are not halting his poisonous utterances. Of course, there are nil expectations from the likes of Najma Heptullah - heading the Ministry for Minority Welfare! It's a crude joke on the minorities of this land to have a minister who is playing around with words and sentences to suit whims and fancies of the RSS and with that managing to remain saddled in the cabinet!
And on this Teacher's Day, there could be a full - fledged splash of communal slants, as communally tainted would address students. Let's wait and watch if the young in the audience would have the courage to ask the HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, whether she is a full -fledged graduate or there lies another pack of those distracting gimmicks!
How will any of these political men and women address the young and talk about the usual set of virtues - being honest and truthful, adopting non - violent and fair means, respecting the other and more along the strain. In their daily lives they do not practice any of these virtues. They are trained and tutored politicians of the day! Saddled with masks! Protected by the establishment and the very system!
Love Jihad tactics from the Hitler era …
It seems that planners in the Right - Wing fold are reading the tactics adopted by Hitler and unleashing them right here.
The well known lawyer - activist, ND Pancholi, has focused on the fact that Hitler had used love jihad tactics. To quote him - "Hitler had used the similar tactic, as being used by the Right wing in India against Muslims and Christians, to generate hatred and polarize German opinion against the Jews- the so called internal enemy, by making propaganda that Jewish young men had been luring the German girls and polluting the quality and purity of the Aryan blood with a view to subjugate German nation. The following passage from the 'Mein Kamph' by Hitler, as quoted by M.N.Roy in his book on 'Fascism' would be of interest :
'The black haired Jewish youth lies for hours in ambush, a satanic joy in his face, for the unsuspecting girl whom he pollutes with his blood and steals from her own race. By every means, he seeks to wreck the racial bases of the nation he intends to subdue. Just as individually he deliberately befouls women and girls, so he never shrinks from breaking the barriers race has erected against foreign elements. It was, and is, the Jew who brought Negroes to the Rhine, brought them with the same aim and with deliberate intent to destroy the white race he hates, by persistent bastardization, to hurl it from the cultural and political heights it has attained, and to ascend to them as its masters. He deliberately seeks to lower the race level by steady corruption of the individual …(Hitler, Mein Kampf.)'
Pancholi elaborates on this - "A few weeks back one of my friends had mailed me a copy of an article 'Hindutva's Foreign Tie up in the 1930s' written by Marzia Casolari and published in the Economic & Political Weekly, January 22,2014 issue. Marzia Casolari is lecturer of Asian History at the University of Perugia and has written a book entitled 'In the Shade of the Swastika' -The Ambiguous Relationship between Indian Nationalism and Fascism. It was stated that the scope of the book is not to prove that Hindutva forces are fascist, but that they borrowed many elements and features from fascism as an ideology and political practice. The article shows how Hindu nationalism borrowed from European fascism to transform different people into 'enemies' and that leaders of the militant Hinduism repeatedly expressed their admiration for authoritarian leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler and for the fascist model of society. The article concludes that the fascist influence still continues...Here it would be interesting to find out as to why the fascist influences continue and why fascist model of society is so attractive to militant Hindu nationalists, though this model has its affinities and differences with the European fascism. M.N. Roy gave deep thought to this question. As one of the towering figures of Communist International and a participant in many of the momentous events in Europe during the decade of 1920, he had closely watched the rise of Fascism in Europe. During its sixth congress in 1928 the Communist International under Stalin not only abandoned the policy of united front to Fascism, but socialists and social democrats were considered to be greater enemies than Fascists and Nazis. M.N.Roy opposed this policy and was soon ousted from the Communist International. He returned to India in 1930 and was soon imprisoned as he was accused No.1 in the famous Kanpur communist conspiracy case and remained in jail for about six years. While in jail, besides writing on variety of subjects, he also wrote on 'Fascism'. The first edition of 'Fascism' was published in March 1938 by D.M.Library, Calcutta. It consisted of seven chapters: I. The Philosophy of Fascism; II. The Foundation of Fascist Philosophy; III. The Cult of Superman; IV. Under the Sign of the Swastika; V. National Socialism; VI. 'The Bloodless' Revolution; VII. The Practice of Fascism. Prof Sibnarayan Ray who has edited four volumes of the Selected Works of M.N.Roy( for the period 1917 to 1936) has selected chapters I,III,V, and VII in the fourth volume of the Selected Works."