Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Kashmir: I Love Freedom

And politicians are not trained to consider the affairs of the heart, the logic of the impossible.
The heart of Kashmir problem is incurable and apparently inconsolable, and thus tragic – but gracefully redemptively tragic –  love affair with Azadi. This is like the love of the impossible in the sense loving God is impossible for John Caputo. And politicians are not trained to consider the affairs of the heart, the logic of the impossible. Many great political battles in history had some association with love affairs or pursuit of great beauty all of which are parasitic on the idea of transcendence which grounds the notion of freedom. Kashmir issue is better understood in this light. Let  me  explain.
      Since Kashmir’s heart yearns for a home/beloved that it feels isn’t in sight in present dispensation though its head might advise it to resign to status quo or opt for this or that particular ideological or pragmatic solution for fulfilling economic, political and other goals, and since it is ultimately heart that informs/constitutes our deepest aspirations or motivations or unconscious drives, we find a tragic division between mind and heart and it can’t be resolved if we adopt Shaykh Abdullah’s logic he used while defending accession by dubbing heart’s yearning as leading to irrational action and thus worth ignoring. He ignored Dil hae ki manta nahi and didn’t take note of great Pascal’s dictum, “Heart has its own reasons which reason doesn’t know.”
We can’t repress our soul that has something other than Indian map shaped hole in it, our great heritage that has always attempted to maintain specifically Kashmiri colouring (this applies to our unique Saivist scriptural and philosophical identity that could never get merged or fully integrated in mainstream Indian scriptural and philosophical tradition, Reshi-Sufis identity that is also not subsumable within well known mainstream Sufi silsilahas, Kashmiri version of both Indian and Islamic prehistory that speaks of certain anxiety to maintain distinct identity or mark on even the almost irretrievable past), our more affirmative understanding of transcendence and more aesthetically and esoterically – and thus somewhat inclined to “transgressive” or antinomian – oriented religious culture,  our collective unconscious  manifested in our dreams that often are tinged with green and blue colours, our sighs and tears  and our wild longings  for greener pastures that are imagined or perceived to lie elsewhere than this side of line of control. All these points imply that the sentiment for Azadi, if not for Pakistan as well that is, however, retreating now into unconscious though too easily retrieved by conscious self at the time of cricket or in prayers, can’t be wished away even if Kashmiris themselves want or learn to “come of age” and learn to be “grounded” in hard facts. Like the cry for mother that is spontaneously uttered when one is in crisis, the cry for Azadi spontaneously resonates and reverberates in the depths of Kashmiri being when any distressful situation arises. India, it seems, may be/is admired or feared or reasonably tolerated by some Kashmiris but never loved; it is a question of arranged marriage with a wife who one never really accepted as a partner, not to speak of loving her. Every argument could be skewed by smarter or cunning politics or diplomacy in India’s favour but all this tumbles down before the verdict of the heart which says “sorry I don’t love you.” No force, no argument or reason or package can drive away the image of Joseph in  the heart of Zuliekha. Solving Kashmir issue is resolving the problem of this image of Joseph that haunts Zuliekha day in and day out, in dreams and in temples and everywhere. It is solving a harder problem of love tangle, not just a border issue. It is not winning minds but hearts. And hearts can’t be won if they are already slaves of the tresses that are intoxicatingly captivating. Kashmiris can’t be disloyal to love and they can be to those with whom they have only lustful relationship.
      Although a few Kashmiris have taken money from India and have played the role of collaborators, they haven’t changed their basic attitude or orientation which is controlled by heart. Other than Indian State is their first love. With India it is a lustful affair as fitting reciprocation to lustful adventure in 1947. And we know the difference between love and lust. They have used India for their benefits but they haven’t given up their faith and loyalty and passion for other than India for which they can sacrifice everything. Even if one curses Kashmiris for thousand years, it doesn’t seem that they are going to renounce love for lust or spirit for soul or heart for mind. Barring probably a small political-bureaucratic elite (though it is difficult to be sure regarding any particular individual amongst this group) who have experienced little of that sacred passion called love, the Kashmiri heart beats and laments for an imagined Beloved. Unfortunately for India and many victims of conflict there is no heart replacement surgery possible. Kashmir today evokes classic Greek tragedy that pits noble but fallible individual against the Fate but there is some problem with the hero’s aspiration – his heart is attuned to other sounds. It results in both death and spiritual ripening or what Keats called soul making. This love affair as far as it is sincere to the idea of love (which is transcendental and not to be identified with this or that object) does save lovers as all love has saving power. Many Kashmiris have won their salvation and others are getting closer to it in the current purgatorial situation. This salvation may get translated or filtered in political level as well but waiting for it is important. Godot mayn’t come. No issues. Kashmiris are learning the art of waiting. And God is waiting, “attention without distraction,” loyalty to the human spirit of enduring suffering with all “the wretched of the earth.”  Their mantra is again Beckettian: “Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better” and “I can't go on, I'll go on.” And their mistakes are their life as Beckett’s another character would say. Truckloads of suffering don’t deter them as hey have learnt to “represent worthily for one the foul brood” to which fate  has consigned them  and now feel that “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”
      Since it is not really Joseph (or any physical geographical entity) that is the real object of true love but inexistent thing or hidden transcendent Divinity and we find Zuliekha hardly interested in marrying Joseph when he offers at the time she has discovered that what she really loved is not Joseph but the beloved of Joseph or God, Kashmiris too will discover when offered what they aspire for that what they really loved isn’t that enchanting thing for which they sacrificed so much and they might find India no longer a dreaded other. They might ask them to defend parts of its borders for a hefty sum. Indians should have no doubt about this if they believe in Upanisads which state that all things are dear for the sake of Self and not per se. And this Self is nondifferent from Atman within and thus in a way inexistent outside. In the ultimate analysis Kashmir issue springs from heart’s desire for the Infinite and the idea of Azadi evokes something of this infinitude and since these are materialistic and nihilistic times this is framed in economic or purely political terms and accompanied by violence that nihilism almost necessarily nurtures.
      If India wants to take revenge against infidelity of Kashmiris it should give them Azadi as that would be a poor substitute for Transcendence that is currently pulling them and making them martyrs for that passion. Delaying Azadi can make only Heathcliffs out of Kashmiris and any obstruction in the way of Cathy the beloved will be dealt with not only stones and guns but also derision, jokes that kill, slangs that mankind has not known and indulging in countless other sadistic pleasures to which frustrated lovers are vulnerable. These lovers then know only ragdo ragdo and if you deny them they have more physical means of revenge, they become more creative – in their imagination and art and we are witnessing that as well today.

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