Every year, these days, we are reminded of two girls who were raped and murdered in the Southern district of Shopian. That day not only two women were raped but entire Kashmir was raped. Every year, these days, the trauma returns to haunt us. Our existance is made clear to us. And every year we remember them in the university, this time over via an event titled “Sexual Violence — India’s Weapon of War in Kashmir”.
Campaigning had started few days earlier, in a clandestine manner to avoid the Orwellian authorities. Expected was the response of the latter who behave like House Negroes and serve the alien oppressors more than their own soldiers.
The day, coincidentally, merged with the visit of Mehbooba’s Mufti to the campus along with the recently qualified “Nawbids”. Consequently the entire university was on a, sort of, high alert. As if they had to encounter prospective rebels. But yes, in Kashmir, everyone is a born rebel.
Proctor and Dean DSW made their way onto the venue. They tried Machiavellian techniques of cunning politics but of no avail. There was no violent or even a sloganeering programme happening. It was a talk, a discussion, a remembrance. But they won’t allow it because memory is a political tool too.
Students held their ground and started talking about the famous case. Students reaffirmed their resolve to preserve the memories of inhumane oppression inflicted upon us by India. The students also despised how the authorities never provide any space for debates and discussions that run counter to the state narrative whose philosophy is simple — anything anti-state will be met with stringent force.
February 2016, we saw how the intrusion of police in JNU campus was deplored worldwide. That is an institution where police has to apply for an official permission to enter the campus. And then you have Kashmir University where around 125 policemen are present among the students every damn day. These include many men in civvies, walkie-talkies hanging by their trousers and reporting to their bosses within the campus.
The surveillance is such that any gathering is monitored. Ironically even students from opposite sexes, if spotted together, are cracked down. And then the famous card is played — “call their parents and ask them to morally police their children.”
Basically what they intend is to cultivate a breed of an obedient herd who bow down their heads on every dictum no matter how humiliatiing it is. For them, education is grasping information, replicating the same in exam papers and passing out with “flying colours”. The use of mind here is simply remembering lines. New ideas are a forbidden territory.
Proctoral staff talked of a procedure for holding any programmes, events or debates in “official spaces” reserved by the university. However, on record, there has been no seminar at all pertaining to the conflict in Kashmir. The university is supposed to provide a platform for such sensitive debates but it does otherwise, like inviting “civil servants” who lure and sermonize students towards becoming the consolidators of occupation.
By halting any such activity in the campus, students are being disconnected of their past which they have inherited by experience. We are a crop of conflict children who have lived their every breathe under occupation. To segregate us into compartments is an attempt to produce what Fanon called “colonised brains”.
When rape is used as a political tool, a weapon of war, an instrument to break down the will of people, remembrances serve as political retaliation. Now when even gatherings are being hindered, thinking and remembering become political activities by default. Unless, of course, someone thinks that resistance is not politics (pun intended).