The Kashmir Files: Responding to the film’s criticism

The detractors of The Kashmir Files have raised several objections. What are these complaints? Are these valid and to what extent? This should be a lively debate and we begin with it here.

The much talked about film The Kashmir Files has received unusual media hype. A large number of people have seen it and many more in the country will watch it in due course of time. It has some poignant scenes revealing some tragic events of the rise of the “theo-fascist” violent movement in Kashmir. The armed uprising was conceived, planned and executed by Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

Past failures in Pakistan’s Kashmir misadventures had taught the planners in that country that the success of their nefarious designs could be achieved only when the local youth of Kashmir were prepared to take up the gun against the Indian presence in Kashmir. But before taking up the gun, the Kashmir Valley Muslim youth had to be brainwashed. The disinformation campaign was an important component of their Kashmir mission.

In the brainwashing process, extreme hatred against India and the Hindus (Pandits) was created in the mind of the volunteers. They were told that they would be proceeding to fight a jihad against the kafirs meaning the Hindus who were idol worshippers and polytheists and hence kafirs as outlined in the holy book. As such this was a war of the Muslims against the al-kuffar meaning the kafirs. The Kashmiri Muslim youth who managed to arrive at the training camps of terrorism set up by the Pakistan Army was given the task of decimating the kafirs in the valley, fighting and throwing out the Indian armed forces through a guerrilla war and finally integrating the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Islamic Caliphate.

Vivek Agnihotri's Film The Kashmir Files crosses Rs 170 Crore mark and has ben declared tax free. (Photo : Movie Still)
A still from the movie The Kashmir Files. The box office collections have crossed Rs 170 crore and the film has been declared tax free by several states in India.

In terms of logic, the pro-Jihadi forces in Kashmir received support from the Pakistan intelligence agency in a jihad against shirk meaning plurality and infidelity. To cover up the real intentions it was given exciting names like freedom struggle, fight for self-rule or azaadi, etc. Entire Kashmir Valley, the urban as well as rural Kashmir got involved in the uprising and its impact.

What are the objections of the detractors of the film The Kashmir Files? Are these valid and to what extent? This should be a lively debate and we begin with it here.

Argument 1: One-sided.
The objection is that the film reflects the pain and suffering of only one community, viz., Kashmiri Pandits whereas the Muslims have been victimized.

Well, the Kashmir Valley Muslims, especially, the youth, responded enthusiastically to the call of the Pakistani “theo-fascist handlers” to fight the jihad against the infidels. They were provided arms, ammunition, logistic support and other facilities by Pakistan. With that jihad was started in the Indian part of Kashmir. The might of the state confronted the jihadis. In the process, the Pandits had to be killed as per the tenets of the Islamic faith, but some Muslims also got killed. In the jihad that was unleashed the jihadis said that those who supported and favoured the Indian kafirs were also liable to be butchered according to the Quranic injunctions. The Pandits were killed because they were the kuffar (infidels) and the Muslims were killed because they were the informers (mukhbir) of the infidels meaning Indians.

Argument 2
The rigged election of 1986 is the root cause of armed insurgency

This is the view of many observers that the way MUF (Muslim United Front) was roughly treated became the cause for dissidents, particularly the JeI (Jamaat-e-Islami) to opt for an armed insurgency. Those who rigged were the activists of NC (National Conference) and those who were given a rough treatment were the proxies of JeI (Jamaat-e-Islami). Both were Kashmiris and both were Muslims. Granted that the election of 1986 was rigged and the Jihad movement was initiated, but then why were the Kashmiri Pandits made a victim? Why was the Pradesh BJP chief Tika Lal Taploo gunned down outside his house on 14 September? He was not a member of either the NC (National Conference) or the MUF (Muslim United Front). We can safely say that the election of 1986 was just a cover and the plan was to decimate the Hindus of the valley.

Argument 3
Kashmir had no communal violence while India-Pakistan was burning in partition

Until 26 October 1947, J&K was under the control of Maharaja Hari Singh. State forces were running the law and order. Violence erupted when Muslim Conference chairman Sardar Ibrahim Khan, after returning from Srinagar in October 1947 declared the independence of Azad Kashmir state with headquarter in Muzaffarabad. The attack of the tribesmen, the proxies of Pakistan in 1947 in Kashmir dashed to the ground the myth of Sheikh Abdullah’s secularism. (To understand the role of Theo-fascist forces and Kashmir Muslim society in the tribal attack of 1947 read Diwanon par kya guzri (Urdu) by comrade Saeed As’ad of PoK published in Lahore, 1998).

Argument 4
Terrorism had struck Punjab and JKLF rose to ask freedom (azaadi)

The Indian Left contends that Kashmir had an impact  on the Khalistani movement. JKLF was asking azaadi. They mean to say it was not sedition. OK, agreed it was a struggle for freedom and hence not sedition or a crime which India said it was. First, “freedom” from what and from whom? Second, does national freedom mean targeting a regional minuscule religious minority community because it is co-religionist with the majority community of the Indian Union, and targeting them because the regional minority takes shelter behind Article 370? Were not the people of the valley enjoying all those rights which the secular-democratic Indian Constitution provided to all the citizens of India? Only those rights or privileges were not allowed which Article 370 did not allow. Thus, azaadi slogan, so vociferously raised by official and non official circles, meant secession from India. That would not be allowed. Thirdly, because the seekers of this azaadi targeted the religious minority, the world community said it was a separatist movement based on religion and not a freedom movement.

Argument 5
Many senior Muslim leaders were also gunned down and we can also take the names. Prominent among them were the octogenarian Maulana Masudi, Abdul Ghani Lon, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and so many others, including some females.

The planners of the Kashmir armed insurgency had taken all aspects of sponsored insurgency into account and laid down the guidelines for dealing with each situation. (For insightful details on the subject read Unveiling of the Truth by Hashim Qureshi). The Kashmir Pandits were killed to wash away all traces of non-Muslim culture in Kashmir and make the land acceptable to the propagators of the Islamic Caliphate. Among the Muslims, those had to be killed who spoke either of rationality or Kashmir’s humanist tradition. Those who openly opposed them also fell to their guns. Masudi was killed because he had separated from Sheikh Abdullah and moved to the camp of Janata Dal of V.P. Singh, a pro-Indian party. Ghani Lon was gunned down because he had opposed the ISI-DG and told him in Dubai to stop dictating terms to the Kashmiris. Mirwaiz Farooq was killed because he had not liked to politicise Islam and did not want the so called freedom fighters to raise pro-Pak slogans. He had said that Kashmiris had a strong case of self-determination before the international community and the slogans they were raising would harm the cause.

The curious and rather puzzling thing is that the son of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq taking no cognizance of who were the killers of his father jumped on their bandwagon and felt proud to be the Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference. Similarly, one of the two sons of Abdul Ghani Lon has also joined the separatists ignoring who were the murderers of his father. How is the Indian Left going to rationalize the “theo-fascist movement” in Kashmir as a genuine freedom struggle?

It has to be remembered that the Muslims have to go by the teachings of the Quran, such that Islam shall overcome all religions of the world, anybody opposing the universalization of Islam is to be beheaded, the kafirs meaning infidels and idol worshippers have to be brought into Islamic fold by force or beheaded if they don’t agree, and Sharia is the supreme law outstripping all laws because it is sent down by God. Marxism-Leninism tried to uphold these ideas by replacing Islam and Islamic faith with communism. What happened in Afghanistan is a lesson for the Russians and the Americans both.

Argument 6
The Leftists have quoted some Hindu (Pandit) authors, writers or intellectuals selectively to substantiate their argument that the film speaks with an air of prejudice.

Every society has an intellectual segment that can distinguish itself from others in some sphere. Kashmiri Pandit society is not an exception. But the few names which they generally mention in support of their secularist obsession are known as part and parcel of the establishment. It is not only the genocide and exodus in which they stand outright by the side of the government. One among them has gone to the length of saying that the Pandits have gone on voluntary exile. Others say that the Pandits in exile have politicised their victimhood. We have black sheep in every society and we have perverted heads on every side. The producers of the film have met and interacted with the plebeians, the common sufferers, men, women, old and young. They have themselves wiped the tears of woe-befallen mothers and sisters. The wearers know where the shoe pinches. Once, a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits interacted with a group of parliamentarians in New Delhi. After listening to their sad story one of the senior MP said, “It is sad what is happening with you in Kashmir. Move to Srinagar and stay there. Our Air India plane lands there. You are safe in Srinagar”.

Argument 7
The argument is that if the Hindus in the valley were just 2 per cent and the Muslims were 98 per cent, it would have been very easy for the Muslims to finish the 2 per cent population in half an hour. Yet since a century, the Pandits have been living in safety.

In other words, the point to be brought home to the Pandits is that they are numerically negligible and hence expendable. This is the logic of the argument. Well, in the first place, our feeling is that these critics are ignorant of the history of Kashmir in medieval times when mass massacres, destructions and conversions took place. We would recommend two histories to them which a brilliant Kashmir scholar of Farsi has translated from Farsi into English. These are (a) Baharistan-i-Shahi (A Chronicle of Medieval Kashmir), and (b) Tohfatu’l Ahbab (A Muslim Missionary in Mediaeval Kashmir) both translated by K. N. Pandit. These two books are originally authored by Muslim writers and give us the graphic picture of forced conversions, communal killings, destruction of Hindu temples and shrines and decimation of Hindu cultural symbols.

Late Dr Niranajan Nath Raina, the communist ideologue who traduced Marxism-Leninism to political activists of Kashmir in the 1940s and is considered the mentor of Sadiq and others of the Leftist group. When he read Baharistan-i-Shahi for which he wrote the foreword, he said, “Had I read this book during my graduation, I would never have become a communist”.

Argument 8
The Leftists absolve Dr Farooq Abdullah by arguing that he goes to Vaishno Devi, puts on a tilak and dances to the tunes of the bhajan. Hence he is a secularist.

Yes, he does antics like that. Hafiz Abru, the historian of Timur writes that before proceeding to attack a city, Timur would appear at the hospice of a renowned Sufi or dervish in the vicinity, dismount at a distance of 50 yards, walk the distance and then coming to the presence of the dervish or saint make obeisance and seek his blessings. The next day he would launch an attack on a city, Shiraz or Isfahan, where he would put to sword people by hundreds and thousands. Bhindranwale hid in the holiest place wherefrom he gave a tough fight to the security forces. On 19 January 1990, Jagmohan took the oath of office in Jammu. He was supposed to fly to Srinagar on 20th January but owing to inclement weather he had to postpone his departure till the next day, that is 21st January. But Farooq Abdullah, after he had already resigned and was staying in Jammu, arrived in Srinagar on the evening of 18th January. Just 24 hours after his arrival, the night of the holocaust happened on 19th January. Till his arrival in Srinagar, there was all calm in the city. We leave it to the readers to draw inferences. Yes, Farooq had the “secularist” card in his pocket bestowed upon him by the Indian Left and the Congress whose leadership called him a “Friend”.

Argument 9
Similarly, the Leftists have a clean chit for Mufti Saeed also.

Well, who planned the 1986 communal riots in the Anantnag district? Do these Leftists ever try to meet even a single Kashmiri Pandit who became a victim of the deep rivalry between the then Congress President Mufti and Congress C.M. Qasim? We have a parallel. In India-Pak cricket matches, if India won, the Pandit boys spectators at the stadium became the victims of the wrath of the Muslim youth. If Pakistan won, again the Pandit boys became the target of the wrath and sarcasm. This is the hatred gone deep in the blood.

Yes, Dr Rubiya Saeed, the daughter of Mufti Saeed was kidnapped. Who kidnapped her? What is the name of her kidnappers? Where did they take her? How was she released three days later? These questions have never been asked. The Left never asked and the Congress never asked. There was no kidnapping at all. She was safely and secretly taken to the house of a political activist in Sopore and the news was given out that she had been kidnapped. It was this political activist, at one time a minister in the union cabinet, who managed to get into telephonic touch with Pak PM Mian Nawaz Sharif and secured the release of Rubiya Saeed. The Indian Left needs second birth to understand the Kashmirian mind.

In conclusion, let us make it clear to the Indian Left that by encouraging the Muslim dissent they are not serving any sensible and reasonable cause. The one great service they can do to human society is to convey their clear message to the “theo-fascists” that the world will not tolerate their antics and much less the Indian society which has shown it on the ground in two parliamentary  and assembly elections in five states only recently.

Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita is the former Director of the Centre for Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir. Prof. Pandita was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution in the field of literature and education.

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