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Published On:15 November 2010
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

OPINION: Kashmir - Freedom From What & Whom?

By Dr. Wasim Ahmad

Wherever Muslims think that they are a special people – in their sense of the word – there is a huge problem there. Whenever they ask for a separate homeland then it raises serious doubts about their understanding of Islam. It makes me think that they are asking for something which Islam may not ask them to ask for. In all such situations it occurs to me to visualize what would have been the reaction of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in such cases. We – as Muslims – cannot escape this question as we cannot separate Islam from Muslims. If the entire earth is a “masjid” and “pure” then how could we divide it? How the ‘uniters’ could be the dividers, is a question that always intrigues me. How could those who truly know that the man has been created in “toil” be assuming and aspiring to start living in a “Paradise” without first doing their best to turn this entire earth in a Paradise-like place?

How could we forget that what is needed today is not the blood that is spilled from our necks in a minute but the ever-oozing sweat of our foreheads for the entire life – as suggested by Dr Zakir Hussain? How do we expect maximum justice from the rest of the world and not from ourselves? I also wonder what we want to be free from. What do we want to run away from? If we really want to run away from something then it should be from ourselves. We need to run away from ourselves – the selves which are not of much worth, not of much value. How could these selves be of much worth and value with the amount of prejudices, with the amount of biases and with the current notions of being a ‘special people’ who cannot peacefully co-habit with ‘others’? If we had truly realized that we were a special people – as the upholders of the beautiful message should be because of their responsibilities – then precisely for the same reason we should have sought more engagement with the entire Hindustan, instead of trying to run away from it. But then we as a people have a behaviour pattern of markaz gureziyat (‘centrifugality’) and we don’t mind reinforcing it on a daily basis.

There is another pattern noticeable among the Muslims currently. In many a cases, where in majority they have their internal divisions and sectarianism on the peak. Where they are living with a majority and under a bigger setup they are less internally divided, I guess. We ask for a separate homeland because we do not look at the customers (mad‘oo) as customers and salespersons (daa‘ee) as salespersons. If we still get a separate homeland and the less competitive environment does not allow bringing out the best in us then it is not worth it. If we get a separate homeland and the sectarian divide gets wider and wider then it is not worth it. If we get a separate homeland and start slitting each others’ throats everyday then it is not at all worth it.

Those who were expected to free India from diseases, poverty, illiteracy and from many more ills, evils and bondages are fighting for their own freedom. To me it amounts to saying, “You go to Hell. I want my personal and exclusive Paradise”. It amounts to saying, “You deal with all your problems alone. I am not going to contribute my bit”. Coming from Muslims, these (unworded) statements sound strangest to me. And reinforce the impression that the real spirit of the very Faith we untiringly swear by is eluding us. This is why instead of earning freedom for others we are trying to earn it exclusively for ourselves. This is a paradox!

In a forward-looking world where individuals are getting more and more empowered and where the boundaries may increasingly matter less and less we are determined to create more boundaries. It is as if we are not satisfied by not being able to travel to those cities and places which actually we want to but we cannot – easily. Why shouldn’t we freely “travel in earth” and see the Signs of Almighty? Are the existing restrictions not enough? When will we live by the Faith that we are ready to die for?

If it is true that “only the educated are free” then we should ask the Indian Government to establish more Universities (and industries) in Kashmir. One of my professors once suggested it over ten years ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. Not focusing on the present and the available we waste a lot in pursuit of an unknown future. In pursuit of a perfect future – the kind of which has never existed. But history in our case is not of much use. All this is quite possible in the case of Muslims because of a big number of writers and speakers who do not think twice about what they are writing and speaking. Because educated, too, are expected to think at the level of an ‘ordinary’ man IGNORING the fact that a lot has been invested in them so that they do not think at that level and in that manner.

It is self-contradictory to me that we have Colleges and Universities and still we are fighting for freedom. It only indicates that we are seeking it from without and not from within. Let our Colleges and Universities give us the freedom which currently we are seeking from others and through different means. This freedom will be loved by those, too, who are not willing to ‘give’ us freedom now. My plea to my brothers and sisters in Kashmir would be:

yeh judaa’iyouN ke rastey bari door tak ga’ey haiN
jo gayaa woh phir na aayaa, meri jaan lout aa’o

Sometimes we think that there are a few options in a matter. But in fact there may not be any. If we keep the whole picture in view then we may be obliged to opt for only one of those ‘options’. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had no options in Makkah or wherever he was and happened to be. He was offered many options, though. A mother whose son falls in a river has no option but to plunge in it. The Muslims have no options but to engage with the world and be in the thick of it. They don’t have an option of escaping their responsibilities as regards the society and the ailments in it.

My plea to my brothers and sisters in Kashmir is to stop playing in the hands of those who may be playing with them. We cannot afford further loss of life and property. We should not sacrifice further lives because we have sacrificed more lives earlier. We have to come out of this vicious cycle – at some point of time. I would like to tell my brothers and sisters in Kashmir that we have a different kind of leaders today. They don’t tell us that the problems are within. They tell us that the problems are outside and with others. Let us stop cheering for them and start looking inward.

The other plea to my brothers and sisters in Kashmir is to contribute their maximum to the following VISION: The students coming out of our Colleges and Universities should have Qur’an in the right hand, most modern scientific and technological advancements in the left hand and the crown of Laa Ilaah on the forehead. So that the Muslims regain the same glorious status of founders and promoters of science and technology as they did during the ascendance of their civilization.

This is the shortest (though apparently the longest) way to earn freedom for ourselves and for others from all kinds of subjugations.

[Dr. Wasim Ahmad is Department Head of Islamic Studies, Preston University, Ajman, UAE. He can be contacted at malikwasimahmad@gmail.com or +971505363235]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on November 15, 2010. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on November 15, 2010. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

2 comments for "OPINION: Kashmir - Freedom From What & Whom?"

  1. We the Muslims dont agree from the views of Honble Dr. Farooq Abdullah and I am sorry that these are not true understanding of Islam

  2. Whatever in hurry I could read and understand I take Dr Wasim as a roaring Lion amongst 98% silent good muslims.So we hear only 2 % who r irresponsible, non visionary,non democratic and then entire lot of Muslims get painted with views,demands and acts of these 2%. IF more voices like of Dr Wasim r heard then more and more non muslims will find reason to get compassionate to problems of Muslims.
    Besides, yes more educational institutes,sports and cultural centers r required in J & K and other places in India. But I find which ever is a place where life and property are under constant threat no enterprising privates dare to come and govt is reluctant to send their staff as they r worried abt their life/ kidnapping etc..
    Only peaceful ways r best way to fight for right as they cant be silenced by guns ( whole world is watching),and simultaneous progress also goes on as no one feels threatened. See for urself while people r running to China,Dubai,Singapore,Malasia for all business but not to Afganistan etc why?? Let the residents of affected areas give suitable peaceful safe conditions so these things flow in.
    And out of 2% irressponsible muslims only .1% may be terrorists but they have damaged the life and progress of 100% due to their acts which lets law and order machinary to retaliate badly without getting whipping as action is thought to be against terrorists.
    And why not take a lead and have ur own institutes for modern education,health services etc which is totally as per Ur religious beliefs. But good things of religion gets shelved and others issues r raked up to control masses but which puts them 50 years behind others.Dont go to taliban and other similar people go to malaysia and dubai and learn how they progressed inspite of being Muslim dominant society and take best out of them and implement while respecting our law and limitations.With people like Dr Wasim things can be wonderful if majority of his people support his thoughts and refuse to cow down to .1% extremists.Wishing Happy Eid and beautiful world ahead full of love, progress and peace. Alok

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