Dear Aditya Tikko, My Kashmiri Hindu Brother,
Assalamu ‘Alaikum is just a greeting which means “Peace be unto you”, it does no harm to anyone.
Being a woman I understand the pain your mother endured when she lost the baby she was carrying. I even believe when you write in your letter to Shehla Rashid of JNU that this is not mere story-telling. I gives me great joy to know that you are happily settled in Delhi with your mother’s blessing. However, I feel that you have missed out a very important point here.
The voices and slogans of “Azadi, Hum le ke rahenge azadi (Freedom, we will take our freedom), Hum kya chahte azadi (what we want is freedom)” etc. are not raised to separate Kashmir from India but for the growing intolerance, the rise of Brahmanism or Hindutva that is dividing our country, brother. India is a democracy, a nation where every individual is free to express their views as are Shehla and her associates. The fight is against the intensifying culture of menace, against the spread of lies and roughing up an ideological adversary.
It was something that happened in Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last year. It is something that has now spread pan-India. It is a call for Azadi (freedom) from the thuggery which is attacking the idea of a university, attacking wisdom and reasoning, attacking the rights ensured in the Constitution, and attacking the very idea of India.
Instead of appreciating the fact that a Kashmiri Muslim woman is trying to create awareness about Kashmir and its issues you have gone on to say that she is a, “Jihadi, who should be slapped.” Could you please elaborate in what sense is Shehla a Jihadi?
“We swear to the dignity of all those mothers. All rapist Jihadi Kashmiri Islamists will be silenced by all means. Kashmir is not yours. Forget about it. Forever.”
Does this statement made by you justify the vandalism of ABVP at Ramjas College? You have been a victim to communal violence, you lost your house, your people and your valley and you still talk about violence? Isn’t it strange that not once have Shehla or her associates ever talked about violence? They have just believed in expressing views and protested non-violently.
In your letter you write, “For all those hundreds of mothers whom you raped. For all mothers whom you abducted and snatched away from their children forever. Mothers who are still missing from the valley. Mothers whose breasts were cut off with the slogans of Allahu Akbar. Mothers whose private parts were mutilated with slogans of Islam Zindabad. Mothers whose thighs were tattooed with Islam Zindabad. Mothers whom you disrobed. Mothers whom you forced to parade naked in front of their children.”
Let me remind you about Babri Masjid where thousands of Muslims were killed, women were raped and babies were slaughtered. Or let’s recap Gujarat in 2002, where Muslims were hunted down and killed by goons. Or wait, I got a better example of 1969 Gujarat riots or the 1970 Bhiwandi riots. The list can go on. But the purpose here is not to talk about what has already been done but to make a better India, in which all the communities live and grow together, where the diversity of culture is the most celebrated aspect.
Lastly, I would like to let you know that yes, I am Muslim. Yes, I wear a Hijab. Yes, India is my country as much as it is yours. I don’t belong to Kashmir, neither do I admire Rashid but the reason I am writing this is because I felt that you need to let go of the hate to end the war that you have been fighting with yourself. The war you fight each time you see a Muslim who looks like the mob that attacked your home in 1989. Find peace, brother, but not by insulting a woman saying, “What has happened to you is just a trailer.” Remember your mother and the many other women who lost too much just because a few barbaric people insulted them.
Mr Tikoo, Muslims are not Jihadis and those who engage in Jihad are not Muslims, like all the Hindus are not members of the Sangh Pariwar.
I am an Indian Muslim proud of my country’s rich culture and heritage. I have Hindu friends who I adore and love. Please let’s not create an India where religion is more important than humans and humanity.
I hope you understand that a woman of your country has felt insecure and insulted because you wrote a letter to one of her sisters. It was my right to express my disgust over your open- letter. More than that, I wanted to deliver the message that hate creates blank walls whereas letting go opens new windows to explore. Take care of your mother; you can help her only if you are ready to understand that what happened in 1989 should not be repeated.