No, This Lockdown Isn’t Like Kashmir’s, Stop Being Disrespectful
Since the lockdown, the word Kashmir has popped up a lot on all of our timelines. With many even saying things like ‘Hey, We are all Kashmir now’. When Prime Minister Modi announced that the nation is going on a 21 day lockdown, I took to Twitter to express my discomfort - because I just tend to overshare. A Kashmiri follower called out my cries, calling me ‘Thankless’ for over-reacting. And while it wasn’t my intention to ever compare my grief to our Kashmiri brothers’, I did realise something - perhaps we’re being insensitive.
Here’s the fact - yes our lives are going through terrible turmoil, yes our world seems nothing short of dystopian right now, but it doesn’t compare the smallest inch to what Kashmir has been going through since August 2019. When Kashmir’s special status was revoked without the consent of its inhabitants, a curfew was imposed, the world’s most heavily militarised state was further infused with over 35,000 additional troops, turning the state into an open air jail.
And these aren’t just metaphors, because its leaders, party workers, political agents were detained or put in house arrest. Yes, anyone with the power to mobilize political sentiment was targeted.This, added with a complete communication blackout. I’m talking no internet, no telephones.
A country that cries watching Bigg Boss celebrities be separated from their family forgot to understand what it means to not be able to make a call home, a home knee deep in violence and political tension. Where family members did not know when their relatives passed away, and often no way of ever knowing what’s happening in the next lane - what Kashmir was put through was barbarity, all, with a tape on its mouth. Kashmiris weren’t just cut off from their loved ones, they also were unable to tell the rest of the country about it.
To this day, Kashmir has mostly only 2G internet. In August, horrific stories of patients not being able to get access to doctors came out from Kashmir. To this day, it continues. Doctors in Kashmir still complain of not being able to easily download information about the coronavirus. In times when people need comfort in basic knowledge, when people need to read and educate themselves and understand the situation in the world - Kashmir is still being denied proper internet services.
And the result? Nothing, so far.
What India and the rest of the world is going through right now is a tragedy, and you do have the right to complain, you didn’t sign up for this. But the fact remains this - at least we know that our lockdown is actually good for us. To this day, a Kashmiri can’t say the same. Similar is the problem with posting things like “look the world is so clean now, humans were the virus!” - that’s easy to say sitting inside our houses, stocking up food and Netflixing the day away.
We do not realise that a vast majority of the country isn’t just facing the disease, it is facing severe poverty, hunger, a cut on its daily wage. We shouldn’t have to lock ourselves up inside houses, where millions of poor people suffer as they lose their income, to not damage the Earth, that’s not a solution.
We should have fought for better policies. We should have used our education to do better. Our existence is not an excuse. We should have done more for sustainability. We should have mended our ways. While you and I can buy food, thousands others can’t afford to. And even if they did, where would they keep it? Refrigerators? - There is no income. While we grieve our discomfort, let us not be insensitive to those whose lives will perhaps forever change.
Stay home, educate as many as you can, make a call to your house help and tell them exactly what’s going on, figure out a way to transfer early funds, ask the elders in your housing complex if they have everything they need, if nothing, make someone a playlist. Let’s be better people after this.