Kick out sacred cows
“When people cannot adequately speak or write their language, there arise strong men to speak it for them – and at them.” When linguist Wendell Johnson said this, he was referring to the importance of learning one’s native language or mother-tongue. However, if this saying is seen through political lenses, it very may also explain how important it is for the people to speak for themselves, for what is rightfully theirs and in opposition to what they feel is wrong.
Taking a cue from Johnson again, it can be said that in the wake of peoples’ inability to speak for themselves, and their rights, “there arise strong men who then speak it for them – and at them.”
This is exactly what has happened in Kashmir. With every Tom, Dick and Harry in the political echelons claiming to be representing the people, and their “sentiments”, and their “sacrifices” -- it has become their standard catch-line to claim that “they are speaking for the people”. And they also claim they do whatever they do “for the people – for their good!”
Now the question is: is it really true that these leaders and politicians are peoples’ representatives? Do they really enjoy public support they claim they are backed up with? And how true is it that whatever these people say and do is for the people’s good?
In this God-forsaken land, what has actually encouraged and patronized the culture of this unaccountability here is the public silence. Like elsewhere, people of Kashmir too are confronted with a multitude of problems of all kinds. However, unlike elsewhere in the world, people here have perfected the art of ‘silent suffering’. As if their unremitting endurance and unfaltering patience was a great trait to be celebrated with pride, people here have developed an uncomfortably submissive behavior so much so that they never question why they are being meted the treatment they get at the hands of the their so-called representatives, both within the structures of the government as well as from those sitting outside of state’s political and administrative structures but who nevertheless claim being “people’s leaders”.
Very disconcerting it is, but truth is that we have needlessly grown sacred cows among us – in the arena of both politics and organized religion. And we take their words as gospel truth and supporting rationale for everything. The obvious fallout has been that the crooks and thugs have come to dominate each and every sphere of human activity. Our shopkeepers and other business people cheat gullible public openly, giving and taking bribe has become an accepted norm in government; even the pulpits of mosques are misused by the people to advance their petty interests, not to speak of other important public platforms having become tools for propagating brazen lies. Here leaders trade in their fellow peoples’ blood and never ever think before trading their loyalties or shifting their ideological iconographies!
Making matters worse is the fact that instead of acknowledging all the vices within, we are desirous of ‘change’— without actually bothering to spell out what that change would be like. They say a sacred human being gives birth to a sacred cow. It needs to be understood that the genesis and survival of sacred cows is rooted in fear and reverence. Therefore, those who want change will have to be ready to go against these sacred cows. They have not only to be irreverent innately, but outwardly and purposefully also irreverent in their actions. They will have to be ready to question all those who have, despite having ridden the waves of public anger and support, failed to deliver for the public good. It is time for all those who want the situation here to change for good to think of and devise ways and means of becoming iconoclastic bulldozers. Mind it there are so many myths and mythical characters in Kashmir’s social and political field fit to be demolished. For achieving this goal one need not to resort to violent tactics – it can, and it should be done without physical abuse.
God helps only those who help themselves. We have no right to expect good from anyone unless and until we learn to be good to our own-selves. Any revolution has to be preceded by a reformation process and any reformation process begins with the reformation of the ‘self’. Once this landmark is achieved, then only could one expect reaching bigger goals.