Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files has finally blasted the well-constructed wall of silence and deceit built by the pseudo-secular brigade to shut out the truth about the horrific and shameful pogrom unleashed on the Hindu minority by Islamic jihadists in the Kashmir Valley in 1990, leading to the uprooting of lakhs of Indian citizens from their karmabhoomi and punyabhoomi.
It seems as if a dam has burst. All the pent-up anger and disgust over the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, which remained bottled up for 32 years, is now spilling out onto television channels where a raging national debate is on over the targeted assault on the Hindu minority in the Kashmir Valley.
The slogan of the jihadists and militants was simple and straight—Raliv, Galiv ya Chaliv (Convert, Leave or Die). This was repeatedly blared from mosques in the Valley and was the favourite slogan of the mobs that roamed the streets of Srinagar and other towns, burning down Hindu homes in early 1990.
The dreadful events of that time have been recounted by those Kashmiri Pandits who miraculously survived the horror. They had to be smuggled out to makeshift camps in Jammu and Delhi and made to live on doles of a not-so-concerned government. The Kashmir Files is based on the true stories of those who lived to tell their tale.
The bloody attacks on Hindus began in the Valley in the second half of the 1980s when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister. When the bloodthirsty Islamic terrorists marched on the streets of Srinagar and mercilessly hacked members of the minority to death, the darling of the pseudo-secular brigade—Farooq Abdullah—was the chief minister. Millions of Indians must have heard Farooq and his son Omar Abdullah pretending to be liberals and lecturing the Indian majority on the virtues of secularism. After The Kashmir Files, for the sake of democratic and secular India, the duo must be barred from offering lip service to “secularism” ever again.
The apologists for these jihadis are raising various objections to the release of the movie. Among their contentions are that this film will open old wounds; that it will exacerbate communal tensions; that Kashmiri Muslims were never part of this conspiracy to wipe out the entire Hindu minority from the Valley; that there could have been some “balance” in the screenplay; and finally, why now?
But each of these contentions need to be addressed, in order to put the record straight.
It will open old wounds: This is absolutely false, since the wounds have never healed. Nor has the world done anything worthwhile to acknowledge the trauma of Kashmiri Pandits and ensure their return to their homes. So the wounds are not ‘old’. They are still raw and await the healing touch from humanity.
It will exacerbate communal tensions: This cannot be a valid reason to hide the truth about the exodus of lakhs of citizens of the country from their homeland. This nation also saw a pogrom against the Sikhs in 1984 and it is discussed and debated even to this day. No country can stand up and be counted among the comity of nations if it were to run away from the truth. It must take it head-on.
Kashmiri Muslims were never part of the conspiracy to get rid of the Hindus: This is absolutely untrue. The mobs that terrorised the Hindus in the 1990s shouting Raliv, Galiv ya Chaliv were local Muslim youth.
There could have been some balance: Steven Spielberg’s epic movie Schindler’s List depicted some of the concentration camps in which six million Jews were butchered. No sane person who saw the movie ever said “there could have been some balance” vis-a-vis the depiction of the Nazis.
Why now?: To this the answer should be, why not? Also, this warrants a counter question. Why was this story not told earlier? Why did it take us so long to come face to face with the truth about the ethnic-cleansing in the Valley in 1990?
Schindler’s List was released in 1993, almost half a century after the end of World War II. Nobody ever asked, why now? It won seven Academy Awards and the Library of Congress declared the movie as “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant”.
Much of the blame for hiding the truth about the systematic uprooting of the Hindu minority from the Kashmir Valley must go to a small bunch of pseudo-secularists in the country—possibly a few hundred—spread across politics, academia, media and the bureaucracy, who have controlled the narrative on all the key issues in this country.
Those belonging to this school have never acknowledged the fact that the Hindu majority willed that India be a secular, democratic nation at the time of Independence while many Muslims wanted an Islamic state. Far from acknowledging the majority’s commitment to liberal values, members of this school have spent the last seven decades demonising the Hindus. That is why the real story about Kashmiri Pandits was never told because this did not fit into their false narrative.
With the release of The Kashmir Files, one can say that the dam has burst. The movie is a blockbuster because the people want to know the truth.
Finally, we need to ask ourselves: If this was the plight of the Hindu minority in the only Muslim majority state in the country at that time, how safe is secularism in India?
A Surya Prakash
Former chairman of Prasar Bharati and Scholar, Democracy Studies